ASHEVILLE, N.C. (February 2, 2016) — Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity today announced that Andy Barnett has been named as its new Executive Director. Barnett succeeds longtime Executive Director Lew Kraus, who has announced his retirement from the position.
Barnett comes to the affiliate from St. Paul, Minnesota, where he has been Coordinating Consultant for the Frogtown Rondo Home Fund for the last three years. Frogtown Rondo Home Fund is a unique collaboration of over 30 community, philanthropic, and local government organizations focused upon enriching the quality of life in the Frogtown and Rondo neighborhoods of St. Paul. The Frogtown Rondo Home Fund connects and enhances public and private housing resources and activities in a very diverse section of the city, seeking to bring visible stability to the area while addressing residents’ most pressing housing needs.
Prior to his three years with Frogtown Rondo Home Fund, Barnett was with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity for nearly 14 years. During his tenure with one of the most innovative Habitat affiliates in the nation, Barnett served in a variety of roles including Site Supervisor, Director of Construction, and Director of Community Development. In 2010, as interim Director of Programs and Services, he co-chaired the affiliate’s participation in the prestigious Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project, with responsibility for neighborhood engagement, family services, volunteerism, construction, logistics, gifts-in-kind, and events.
“Andy’s track record of hands-on leadership and experience with affordable housing initiatives at Twin Cities Habitat and Frogtown Rondo Home Fund will be great assets for both Asheville and Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity,” said David Whilden, Board chairman for the organization. “He comes to Asheville having made strong contributions to the cause of improving the lives of Twin Cities residents by building homes and stronger neighborhoods. We believe Andy is an excellent fit for our organization, our community, and our values of collaboration, opportunity, dignity, and empowerment.”
Barnett is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in Housing Studies. However, he is no stranger to Asheville and western North Carolina. He began his studies at Appalachian State University and started his career in affordable housing by helping establish a Habitat affiliate in Rockingham County, NC after attending a regional Habitat affiliate conference in Asheville that was held in 1993. Additionally, Barnett and his wife were married at the Asheville Botanical Gardens.
“The Board of Directors recognizes that we have been so fortunate to have someone with Lew Kraus’ tremendous character, energy, and capabilities as our leader for 28 years,” said Whilden. “The staff, homeowners, volunteers, donors, and supporters of Asheville Habitat have achieved remarkable things during this time. We are also very enthusiastic about having a leader succeed him, who will build upon that legacy and help achieve our vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.”
Kraus added, “Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity is considered a model Habitat affiliate, and we are grateful to have Barnett’s experience with that organization here in Buncombe County. His involvement with so many facets of the Habitat operation will be especially valuable in his role as Executive Director. Additionally, his experience with a community-based organization like the Frogtown Rondo Home Fund will be a great asset as we address the challenges of affordable housing in our neighborhoods.”
Barnett will begin his work as Executive Director in March.