Alexandria Area High School students land $20K grant for Habitat

The funding will need to be matched by local donations.

Lily Thul

A trio of Alexandria Area High School students chose Habitat for Humanity's Cardinal Alumni Build as a business club project, and landed the nonprofit $20,000 as a result.

The club, called DECA, is a global organization that helps students learn business skills. Members design projects that they often enter into competitions. Members Ben Borden, Lilly Thul and Erik Hedstrom decided to help raise funds for the home to be built by Cardinal graduates.

Because of this partnership, State Farm's Insurance Campus Chapter awarded Habitat for Humanity of Douglas County a $20,000 matching grant, one of four in the nation.

Amy Christopherson, a local State Farm agent/owner said she and her team are "thrilled" to take part.

"Having our youth engaged brings a fresh perspective and allows the students to make a significant lasting impact on their community,” she said.


Thul said her DECA team chose Habitat "because of their exceptional dedication to our community. We are beyond thankful for the opportunity to further the incredible aid they bring to families in our area, and so grateful for the grant provided to us that can help double our impact."

Students kicked off their project by launching Habitat’s text-to-give program at Wake Up Alexandria in October. Several local businesses purchased a red and black painted board to support the build, which now serves as part of the structure of the home. The home buyer will raise two children there, Habitat said.

Cardinal alumni and friends have through Jan. 30, 2021, to have their donations matched by State Farm. In the next few weeks, students will be calling alumni to gather support. Donations can also be made by texting DOUGLAS to 26989 or visiting

“Habitat has enjoyed working alongside these amazing young adults and is excited to partner with State Farm Campus Chapter to support the construction of affordable homes in Douglas County,” said Mary Gorghuber, Habitat's Donor Relations coordinator.

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