Latest News

Great News! Donor Advised Giving, A New Way To Make A Win-Win Charitable Difference

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director Ginny@abodshelters.com

May I share a short story? Today was not my typical day. I usually really enjoy donating my time to Abod Shelters Foundation no matter what challenges we encounter. I am wired to tackle tough problems and overcome them. I feel blessed to be sharing this mission with a special group of volunteers with such character and commitment, as it keeps me joyful and smiling because I have seen the real benefits of our labor in the faces of the women and children who benefit from living in their first stable home – an Abod. However, today I came upon some pain points stemming from the complexities of directing our daily efforts, I found myself unable to muster a smile.

The act of lighting a candle and saying a prayer of thankfulness can usually jump start my positive spirit so I went about doing so while pondering over an issue while sitting in my home office waiting for the transformation to take effect. My husband passed my door to take a short walk to our mail box and returned offering me an envelope, handwritten, addressed to me. Hmmmm… Today, very few people send paper letters so I wondered who it might be from as no return address was apparent.

With my favorite letter opener in hand, I gently edged the seal to find a lovely handwritten note. Surprisingly, enclosed was a check written to Abōd Shelters® Foundation with a very generous donation figure. Well that melted my heart in a moment! My frown turned upside down into a big smile.  It is an unexpected gesture of selfless giving like this that rocks my world. It was a sign of encouragement from on high when I needed it most. Acts of kindness like this do inspire me to continue to fight the good fight for those poverty-stricken women and children who need and deserve safe, secure shelter to have a reasonable lifestyle.

While taking a short break from building we came across children standing against their mud home in a nearby village. Photo credit to Teresa Choi.

Thank you to the special donor who sent it. They know who they are if they are reading this. Your act urged me to write this post now rather than wait for another day.

Working together building 10 Abod’s in 10 days in Tanzania.

At Abōd Shelters® Foundation I often feel I cannot say THANK YOU to our generous donors enough for their financial gifts. We have two very valuable donor groups that are the lifeblood of our nonprofit work. My heartfelt appreciation goes out to our long-standing donors as they keep both ongoing and start up projects funded. At the same time, I am encouraged by the new donors who have come into our community over the past year by way of various fundraisers we are hosting. These good-hearted people add new ideas to our efforts, energy to our activities and motivate us to keep moving forward with our mission. I do believe all these individuals are Angels of Mercy who are sent to us to make sure we keep the spirit alive.

Here is the great news. For those of you who currently are donating your hard-earned treasure to causes you are passionate about which are operated by Foundation’s like ours, there is now an innovative way to do it that is gaining attention that I want to make you aware of. I for one wish I had been informed of it in 2016, but now that I am aware of how its functions I certainly will activate it in 2017 as I personally donate to Abōd Shelters® Foundation.

Nonprofits are now working to ensure that donors have a say in where their money goes and that their donations have the maximum impact. The concept is called Donor–advised Giving via Donor-advised Funds.

Each philanthropic organization like Abōd Shelters® Foundation, works with donors in its own way, but several utilize donor- advised funds, established at public charities. They have become the fastest growing charitable giving vehicle, now accounting for more than 3 per cent of charitable giving in the United States. They offer tax benefits and allow donors oversight of how money is dispensed. To provide insight on how they work, I sourced the primer from the National Philanthropic Trust:

  • The donor makes a irrevocable gift to the fund. For example, it could be cash or proceeds from sold stock
  • The donor immediately receives the maximum tax deduction under IRS rules
  • The donor names advisors, successors or charitable beneficiaries connected to the fund
  • The gift is placed into the fund account, where it can be invested and grow, free of tax
  • The donor can allocate money from the fund at any point to be used as a grant to qualified charities

If you are interested in learning more about Donor –advised Giving via Donor Advised Funds you can contact your personal financial advisor, your family accountant or reach out to me about how you can participate with Abōd Shelters® Foundation in this manner.

Our ambition at Abōd Shelters® is to offer our donors transparency into where their gifts are going. You can participate with us in many ways that will give you the peace of mind that your donation is being used effectively to change lives. For example Chris Gardner, Founder of Bella Homes, can tell you exactly where his donation went because he looked in the faces of the children who are now living in a suitable home – he built the Abōd Shelters® with his own hands along with his team from their company.

Now that I have shared this great news with you, my spirit is fully restored.

In heartfelt service,

Ginny Shiverdecker
Executive Director

Everyone pitches in on getting the frames up and siding started including myself, Ginny Shiverdecker.


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.


Great News! Donor Advised Giving, A New Way To Make A Win-Win Charitable Difference
read more

Getting Involved… Is It Worth It?

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

A special ‘thank you’ to Jacob Sharp Photos for providing the cover photo!

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Michelle Rothfus, Project Coordinator Abōd® Shelters

I hope you can identify with me when I say, when trying to balance work and life it can be very difficult to find time to take anything additional on… let alone volunteer! I have been involved with Abod Shelters for about 11 years. Eleven years ago, I would have predicted that we would have had manufacturing in place in countries all over the world and there would be thousands of Abod’s built for people in need. I would have also predicted based on the positive communications we were receiving that we would have hundreds in storage all over ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice when a catastrophe hit.

We do have manufacturing set up in South Africa and have built approximately 50 Abod’s in different parts of Africa. We do not have extra in storage ready to be deployed. So… Is It Worth It?

I think of myself as a ‘people person’ and enjoy the communication I have with individuals and presenting Abōd Shelters® to groups. I respond to many email inquiries about what we do, organize and post all social media, coordinate project information, oversee financials, provide presentation materials and am Secretary on the Board. Oh yes, I also work full time and have a family!

It would be super easy to only focus on myself and family but when you understand what is going on outside your world, so to speak, how can you NOT get involved in some way?

After helping build dormitory housing all day in a remote area of Zambia, I spent the evening watching the local kids play soccer in an open field. Needless to say, they loved having their pictures taken.



While 11 years seems like a long time, it really has been a blink of an eye. For a few years, approximately 2008 – 2012, the project was on hold because of the US housing crisis. Since then we have worked hard to establish long term relationships with individuals and groups that have the same values and vision as Abōd Shelters®. As a result, we have made strong partnerships with organizations that target different areas but each has a need for housing that Abōd Shelters® was able to provide a solution for. For example;

Hoops of Hope focuses on raising money to reduce the AIDS epidemic. They were able to provide a machine in a remote area in Zambia that identifies how much medication an AIDS patient needs. Since installing this machine, hundreds of lives have been saved. They also focused their efforts on building a school in the same area. This school is the only secondary school in a 70-mile radius. It has over 500 students attending. Abōd Shelters® were built as dormitories to house the students and homes for teachers because they were much less costly and quicker to build than traditional housing.

Blessman International focus on the practical needs of people in order to open the door to spiritual needs in South Africa. They not only provide wells for clean drinking water and meals to those in need but educate locals in many different areas and trades to help them build their own businesses or earn a living. Abōd Shelters® were built for several different projects; day schools for orphans, homes for grannies and the homeless children they care for, lodging for interns when doing rotations and a home for a family whose home was destroyed by a falling tree.

Acts 2 Collective work with locals in the communities they work in to identify what is needed. The areas typically identified are;

  1. Farming and agriculture training so locals can grow their own food,
  2. Orphan care for children without parents and providing the children a place to call home and helping with the adoption process,
  3. Providing healthcare programs for pregnant women, safe child birthing and infant care, teaching smart health practices, providing HIV testing and treatment plans,
  4. Providing basketball academies to engage young people and build relationships,
  5. Building private schools and creating curriculums for existing schools and
  6. Building water wells to provide access to safe drinking water.

Abōd Shelters® were built through Acts 2 Collective to be used as birthing and maternity centers and to provide homes to a local farm to house workers.

Siouxland Tanzania Educational Medical Ministries (STEMM) was organized in 1997 to develop a relational bridge between Siouxland and Tanzania by addressing the priorities of spiritual growth, medical care, and educational opportunities. Over the past several years they have supported many Tanzanians in through education and medical programs. They’ve also branched out into health education and support for orphans.

Abōd Shelters® were built to provide homes for teachers, local workers and a birthing center for mothers to be.

While the NGO’s that we partner with have specific target areas they work in along with established relationships and local resources in the area there is typically a housing need of some sort where the traditional building structure is cost prohibited. Abōd Shelters® collaborates with NGO’s on housing needs and provides the solution.

Ty Pennington has also been working with Abōd Shelters® since November 2014 as our Celebrity Ambassador. He not only helped raise funds for 5 Abōd homes which were recently built in Tanzania but he also traveled with our group to help with the build.

“As I travel the world, I see a huge unmet need for sustainable, low cost housing for families living in poverty here in America and in places like Africa and India. The ‘Abōd Shelters® Village of the Future’ is a forward looking idea that provides not only secure homes but an emotionally healthier community environment for children to grow up.”

Ty Pennington

In every country all over the world there are housing needs. Many people believe that there are just too many issues or too much is needed to accomplish anything worthwhile. It takes one person to make a difference.

Is It Worth It? Definitely! I personally invite you to get involved today.

2017 brings lofty goals of building additional Micro Villages that consist of homes, classrooms and medical clinics. We’ve recently learned that Birthing Centers are desperately needed especially in remote areas. With your support, Abōd Shelters® can be a solution to those in need.

If you wait until you can do everything for everybody, instead of something for somebody, you’ll end up not doing nothing for nobody.”

Malcom Bane

We look forward to working with individuals and NGO’s to collaborate on their housing needs and providing a solution. Be sure to join us on our next build! Partner with us at www.abodshelters.com or simply connect with ginny@abodshelters.com. You may also donate to build an Abōd.

Blessman International Project build in South Africa. These homes were built for Grannies, their grandchildren and other children they had taken in because of the Aids Epidemic. Thank you to Jacob Sharp Photos for providing pictures.

Blessman International Project build in South Africa. The individuals that provided the financial support to make the build happen built the homes too!  Thank you to Jacob Sharp Photos for providing pictures.


One House. One Family. One Day.

www.abodshelters.com

 If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you!

Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd® Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor in 2016. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

Getting Involved… Is It Worth It?
read more

Introducing Abod Shelters ‘Mission to Build Better Lives’ Adventure Trips to Africa

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Thanks so much to the Abōd Shelters® build volunteers, STEMM team and Rob Marish at Keystone Pictures for all of the pictures!

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director Ginny@abodshelters.com

Destination Tanzania marks the launch of our Abod Shelters ‘Mission to Build Better Lives’ Adventure Trip Experiences. In early January, a diverse group of volunteers with shared purpose, endured 24 hours of travel to partake in a unique opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the Maasai Tribe located in a remote village of Mbuguni.

A trip of this nature is close to my heart. An Adventure Travel offering to do good is something we felt could become a hallmark of involvement in the Abōd Shelters® Foundation, a catalyst for creating a special bond amongst our donor and volunteer community. I had the chance to witness this engagement unfold on this recent magical mission trip dedicated to building our first Abod Micro Village for our newest NGO partner, STEMM.org – a medical ministry with a 20-year record of credibility in the region.

As partners, we agreed to set an extreme challenge; to build 10 Abods in 10 days as a dramatic way to prove the Abōd Shelters® value proposition. Abōd homes can be built faster, better, cheaper than traditional block housing in Africa. This endeavor demonstrates, for NGO’s interested in building structures, that by embracing the Abōd Shelters® way together we can deliver a more satisfying solution for all parties involved. It is a winning project for;

  • the NGO who desires to provide the shelters,
  • for the local tribe’s families, women and children who are beneficiaries of the Abōds,
  • for the local leaders of the tribe and community where they can see tangible, lasting outcomes in service to their people and,
  • for our Abod Shelters Foundation leaders and volunteers who set out to provide this unique humanitarian design to help improve the living conditions of one third of the world’s underserved population living under the poverty lines.

It is in striking the right balance of good outcomes for all we value most.

For volunteers who want to know more, our Abōd Shelters® Mission Adventure Trips are designed to deliver a memorable experience in three important ways:

  1. Purposeful Platform: A scalable building project offering hands-on experience assembling Abōds while being part of a team constructing an entire micro village of Abōds.
  2. Authentic Experience in Local Africa Culture: Not only seeing the beautiful landscape but also experiencing the tastes, arts, music and natural world in specific countries like Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia and areas of South Africa. It can include Safari’s, Urban Market Shopping, Hunting Adventures or Exotic Surf Beach Excursions and more.
  3. Right Atmosphere: Chances to forge new relationships and bonding with people from different walks of life who share common values. Because being a part of something needed that is long-lasting for someone else’s benefit, opens hearts.

Some trips will take the experience to the next level as this one did. The excitement on this Abōd Shelters® ‘Mission to Build Better Lives’ Adventure Trip to Africa was enhanced by having Celebrity Ty Pennington (of Extreme Makeover fame) who is also our Goodwill Ambassador join our Team of Volunteers.

To us, Ty is a ‘Prince of a Guy’! Not only did Ty and his manager help raise funds to build 5 of the homes in the Abōd Micro Village but Ty also joined us because he too wanted to have the hands-on experience of building Abōds and work side by side with our volunteers.

All work and no play does not feed the soul. Ty and our volunteers set building time line goals and when we met the team’s self-imposed deadlines we balanced work time with play time. Indeed, the building goals were met so we headed out for an African Adventure Part 2: Safari Tanzania Style featuring Tarengeri Reserve. With the help of Duma Explorer escorting us and providing the entire safari tour, we trucked two Land Rovers one hour deep into the reserve for an overnight stay at Balloon Tent Camp where the next day’s grand tour of the animal kingdom took place.

We were thrilled as we arrived into the park just before it closed. As we ventured deep into the reserve, animals that were migrating to watering holes came across our dirt trail thrilling us with their close-proximity. Darkness fell just as we arrived at the campgrounds.  Our camp hosts offered a very welcoming reception where we checked in and were given the camp tent accommodations and dinner plans for the night. Lovely, comfortable tents with all the right amenities were home for the night. As this is open range for the animals, we were escorted to and from our tents for dinner. We enjoyed cocktails and wine around a roaring campfire where we relaxed and gazed into the brilliantly twinkling night sky. The dinner bell chimed calling us to enjoy the well-appointed buffet dinner. Laughter abounded into the night as we exchanged stories and played games to get to know each other better. Midnight passed and we all decided the magic spell of the evening required sleep as we would be up at 6:30 am for breakfast and safari. Morning came quickly but it had been a restful night even if it was just for a few short hours.

Words cannot describe the brilliance of the 10-hour day we spent together among these rare and beautiful animals in their natural habitat. The landscape was as interesting and breath taking as the animals themselves. I was especially taken by the magnificence of the trees; the romantic shapes and their sheer scope and size are burned into my brain. It captured my heart with a lifetime of memories especially because I experienced it with my Abōd Community.

Everyone raved about our play day as another dimension of the trip. A quote from Will Johnston, Founder Tiny Home Atlanta Association who joined us on his first mission trip:

I am forever changed by this experience. I would have never guessed it could be so amazing and I would meet such interesting people I now calls friends for life.

What more can be said after that? Won’t you consider joining us on one of our next trips? Contact me at ginny@abodshelters.com if you want to become part of our Abōd Community.


In heartfelt service,

Ginny Shiverdecker
Executive Director


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

Introducing Abod Shelters ‘Mission to Build Better Lives’ Adventure Trips to Africa
read more

Abod’s Flexible Design: Allows for Greater Impact

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Thank you to Rob Marish at Keystone Pictures for the cover photo!

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Michelle Rothfus, Project Coordinator Abōd® Shelters

The original Designers of Abod Shelters® knew that the flexibility of the layout would provide many options to those in need but didn’t realize the extent of the impact the design would make on others.

Abod homes are high concept design, often lower in cost than standard construction and can easily be personalized while the natural light, cross breeze and open loft spaces provide helpful comforts. Abōd Shelters® are structures that were intended to address the social need for organized community design including secure homes, schools, safe play areas, community buildings and more.

Every Abōd Shelters® project has been a learning experience for the Abod team.

Learning Experience Examples:

  • There are children that are unable to go to school in South Africa because there are either no schools within walking distance and / or they cannot afford a uniform. Several Abod’s were built in Zebediela, South Africa as classrooms through Blessman International in 2009. Blessman International provides the uniforms for this small successful school system where more than 120 children attend daily to get educated and can play together safely.
  • It’s very common especially in remote areas for families to have their kitchen area outdoors. For those living near each other many combine their resources and cook and eat together while keeping a close watch on the young children. Five Abod’s were built on Del Cramer Campus through Blessman International in 2013 in a circular fashion to meet the Granny’s and their grandchildren needs. They cook and do laundry together in the center while keeping a close eye on the children.
  • Most schools in Africa provide housing for their teachers. When a growing school in Twachiyanda, Zambia needed homes fast for their teachers, Abōd Shelters® worked with Hoops of Hope to provide several extended Abod’s to meet the teachers and their larger family needs. Additional regular sized Abod homes were also built quickly for their growing population of students. Each home / dormitory can sleep 8 students with plenty of room for their personal belongings.
  • Childbirth is the number one cause of death in the village of Asikuma located in Ghana, Africa. In March of 2015 Abōd Shelters® worked with Kingdom Hoops to build birthing and maternity centers with the goal of decreasing mother and baby mortality rates. Additional Abōd Shelters® were also built near the village to support a fish farm and house workers and consultants.

“Building the Abōd Shelters® birthing center and providing a home for the maternity nurse has caused quite a stir.  The nurse said all of her senior colleagues have requested to be transferred to this area to use these nicer facilities.  I believe we’ve made quite an impact on Ghana with these new additions.”      – Doug Vander Weide, CEO and President of Valiant Wealth

Many people in 3rd world countries do not have access to a doctor or medical care. They would need to travel or walk several hours, sometimes days, to reach a doctor. This results in people only going to the doctor in an extreme emergency or in many cases, not at all. While working with Siouxland Tanzania Educational Medical Ministries (STEMM) on a project just a couple of weeks ago, Abōd Shelters® learned that many expectant mothers prefer to deliver their babies in their own homes, which in most cases is a mud hut. The reason they choose their own home is that the medical facilities are too far away, are unsanitary and are not private. When expectant mom’s deliver in their own homes they usually have a family member, neighbor or friend assist who is not medically trained to handle even the simplest of complications.

It was communicated to us that the prevalence of Cerebral Palsy is higher in Africa and neurological damage occurs more frequently during home births because of complications such as birth asphyxia and neonatal infections which a trained medical person could prevent.

While the infant mortality rate has decreased in recent years in Tanzania maternal deaths related to childbirth have not. The fact that more than half of births in Tanzania occur at home also contributes to the elevated maternal mortality rate. Of all pregnant women, only 46 percent are assisted during childbirth by a doctor, clinical officer, nurse, midwife or maternal and child health aide.

“In 2005, the infant mortality rate was 68 deaths per 1000, a vast improvement from the 1999 figure of 99 deaths per 1000. The under-five mortality rate also decreased from 147 deaths per thousand in 1999 to 112 deaths per 1000 in 2005.”

When Abōd Shelters® learned of the mortality rate and that it could be prevented, we worked with STEMM to get an Abōd dedicated to be used as a Birthing Center and built as soon as possible in a remote area of Tanzania. On January 11th, an Open House Celebration for the Birthing Center was held. The first in line to tour the inside… were 30 pregnant women!

I am certain that the original Designers of the Abōd had no idea that this low cost, safe structure would positively impact the lives of so many women and their newborns.

Abōd Shelters® isn’t just a home. They are a place of comfort and safety. They are emergency disaster relief that provide shelter and security. They are classrooms and libraries that nurture learning. They are technical centers and offices that provide an optimal working environment. They are medical clinics that save lives. They are dormitories and hostels for students to feel at home while attending school. They are sanitation facilities that provide privacy. They are churches and meeting rooms that bring people together.

Please help us build more Birthing Centers in remote areas to save lives. How can you help?

  1. Partner with us or provide an introduction to a potential partner. We can make a greater impact working together than separately. We have been able to build homes, dormitories, medical buildings and classrooms as a result of working together. Reach out to Abōd Shelters® so we can partner and make a difference together! ginny@abodshelters.com
  2. Get involved as an organization or individual through prayer, raising awareness or providing monetary support. We’d love to be able to share our Abōd Shelters® Story with your organization or group.  ginny@abodshelters.com
  3. Follow us on social media, like, share and invite others. Abōd Shelters® values the relationships we have made and we’re thankful for all of the support our friends have provided.

Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd® Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor in 2016. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

Abod’s Flexible Design: Allows for Greater Impact
read more

Part 2: Tanzania Abod Shelters Micro Village Build Accomplished with Bella Homes Volunteer Teamwork!

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director Ginny@abodshelters.com

Filled with anticipation for what was to come I took the 30 hours of travel time bound for Kilimanjaro, Tanzania in stride, but each passing mile fueled my energy levels.

Building our first Micro Village in Tanzania is a big dream come true with the help of Souixland Tanzania Educational Medical Ministries (STEMM) who provided us the opportunity to make it happen. Not only would we be building seven shelters as homes for the organization’s dedicated local Maasai workers, we were also building their first Birthing Center at the small hospital in Mbuguni and two Abod’s as Teacher’s Housing at the local school located between the hospital and the STEMM campus.

This would mean building 10 Abod’s in 10 days! This is the result of over one year of dreaming of the possibility and six months of diligent planning in collaboration with Dr. Steve Meyer and his wife Dana along with Tanzania campus director Diane Bannister and husband Tim.  Now the process was set in motion to make it happen. No turning back now.

It was an ambitious undertaking yet we felt it was time to prove that the premise of the Abōd Shelters® Lifestyle Village could be delivered faster, better, cheaper than traditional housing.  It would call for a dramatic demonstration to prove our product offering and service model.

We stepped out of our comfort zone to set a BHAG – Big Harry Audacious Goal!  Now we needed to make it happen.  Having worked in the creative industry for most of my career, I experienced time and again the many challenges of major productions around the world – starting with a vision on paper, then making it real for the world on deadline, is hard work yet rewarding. But doing it professionally is one thing. Doing it for an NGO where financial measures are always at play is a challenge that would call for patience, courage, team work and donors who believe in our purpose to democratize housing for the worlds neediest populations.

Our Bella Homes Volunteers from Huxley, IA USA with Ginny Shiverdecker, Abod Shelters Foundation Executive DIrector.

Bella Homes Volunteers taking a quick break while building one of the Birthing Centers.

This is our first Mission trip of such magnitude. We wanted everyone to have a meaningful and memorable trip with the right balance of work and play. It is our goal to set the right tone with anyone who volunteers to join an Abōd Shelters® build. A total of 30 people came together around this project with most meeting for the first time. This coupled with unfamiliar locations, celebrity guest, Ty Pennington our Ambassador, joining the build along with talented video production people would call for major focus and juggling of priorities. I am up for it, now worries.

As I flew over the Atlantic Ocean from Atlanta to Amsterdam, sleep eluded me. Many unanswerable questions rolled around in my head:

  • Would everyone on this mission trip make it to the STEMM Campus without delay?
  • Would they embrace their new team mates long enough to get the job done?
  • Would all the vital materials be there on time as one container was delayed in port?
  • Would the locals embrace working with our team on the Abod’s and take to the type of work?
  • Would there be time for a safari adventure for the people coming to Africa for the first time?

These are the large trucks leaving Johannesburg, Africa with the shipping containers full of Abōd Shelters® destined for Tanzania!

Two completed homes that will be used by teachers for the local school.

Through experience we know the saying TIA – This Is Africa. No matter how well you plan contingencies, things move forward with very different methods and timing than we Americans are accustomed to.

Our Foundation Chairman, Doug Vander Weide with Valiant Wealth, and I worked together closely to organize the many aspects of the build with our hosts.  We already know these are tremendous people at STEMM who have achieved great things over their 20 years of work to help Tanzania. So with great heart, can-do spirit and a belief that anything is possible, we let go and let God guide us.

Once I arrived and met everyone face to face, my questions began to dissolve into thin air. This was a diverse group of people coming from all walks of life, yet we shared a common bond around our belief in Abod’s purpose. The Abod could have a transformative effect on the country of Tanzania. It is a point of pride for everyone present to build the first Micro Village to support Dr. Steve Meyer and his wife Dana to honor their past, present and future endeavors to help. Every volunteer brought their best self to the experience and a willingness to do whatever it took to get the job done. Everyone was ready to do their part to build 10 Abods in 10 days. Once we started working, the project built momentum and carried through to a successful completion.

Abod’s being built on the STEMM Campus for teachers and workers with the help of Ty Pennington.

An aerial picture of some of the Abod’s built on the STEMM Campus for teachers and workers.

In this post, I would like to give a special shout out to Chris Gardner, Founder of Bella Executive Homes in Huxley, IA USA and his partner Mark DeYoung who funded the way for their amazing professional team of building experts to help get the job done.

It’s the good heart, talent and hard work of the volunteers that made the building of 10 Abod’s in 10 days successful.

My heartfelt THANK YOU to these great guys and new friends:

  • Barry Engelman
  • Dan Overman
  • Grant Tjemagel
  • Jordan Ries-Wandry
  • Mark DeYoung
  • Chris Gardner

They not only worked full days, they even took on a covert late night trip to stage the right materials before the last morning building to make sure we could get the last two Abod’s ready for the next day’s ribbon cutting and handing over of the keys.  Now that is commitment! These great guys were an answer to my prayers!

Abōd Shelters® friends, do come back soon to hear more stories about how this amazing Tanzania experience of great people coming together to do great things unfolded.


In heartfelt service,

Ginny Shiverdecker
Executive Director


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

Part 2: Tanzania Abod Shelters Micro Village Build Accomplished with Bella Homes Volunteer Teamwork!
read more

From Once Upon a Time Until Now and Into The Future with Your Support

Greetings Abōd Shelters® Friends!

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Michelle Rothfus, Project Coordinator Abōd Shelters®

Once upon a time, a chance meeting ignited a powerful purpose. On a trip to Soweta, South Africa, Doug Sharp, seasoned architect, experienced the extremes of poverty but was moved by the pride one woman showed in her shack. As she unlocked the padlock that connected the crooked door to her home, Doug could already see into her one room home through the slats of wood and metal making up the walled structure on the outside.

He smiled and accepted the invitation in. Sparse with only the necessities including a mattress, a small table with a few dishes and a couple of worn rugs on the dirt floor Doug sensed the pride the woman had in her home.

Design Challenge

Doug returned to the US and on behalf of BSB Design, Inc. accepted a challenge of designing a home for a family that could be built in one day, for as little as possible that could be shipped anywhere in the world. The project began with employees from BSB Design’s offices throughout the country attending brainstorming sessions and design charettes. Program goals included ease of construction, durability, security and design integrity. Teams developed solutions of all shapes and sizes using some of the most technologically advanced materials on the market. A simple yet sound design, defined by its use of graceful arches, rose above the rest as the best solution.

Doug Sharp, Founder of Abōd Shelters®, Retired Chairman and Architect of BSB Design, Inc.

Jerry Messman (on right) Retired Designer with BSB Design, Inc. speaking to housing officials during the first Abōd Shelters® prototype build in South Africa in 2006.

The Winning Design

Abōd lead designer Jerry Messman located in the BSB Design, inc. office in Tampa, FL, drew inspiration from the Catenary Arch, an organic shape found throughout nature. The innate strength of the arch is paired with structural steel and other high-quality components in a marvel of modern engineering, at once highly technical yet impressively simple to build.

The winning design from BSB Design, Inc., which ultimately became known as Abōd, is now being manufactured in South Africa and can be shipped anywhere.

Manufacturing in South Africa

Jacques and Lee-Ann Hammer, Abōd Shelters® Manufacturer located in Johannesburg, South Africa went through an optional but rigorous 2-year process of testing the materials and the design through the South African Government to get their housing certificate. In addition to the many other ways they can be used the certificate allows the Abōd to be legally used as housing in South Africa.

Read how this young couple, through being drawn to a higher calling, met Doug Sharp and became involved as Abōd Shelters® Manufacturers in Johannesburg, South Africa: ‘Manufacturing Abod Shelters is Higher Calling for South African Couple’.

Jacques and Lee-Ann Hammer, Abōd Shelters® Manufacturers, located in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Abod’s being built on the STEMM Campus for teachers and workers with the help of Ty Pennington. #TyAbodBuild

Kicking Off the New Year in Tanzania

Several Abōd Shelters® projects have already been completed in Africa with one finishing up this week in Tanzania; ‘Ten Abods to be Completed in 10 Days in Tanzania with STEMM and Ty Pennington.’ They are being built for teachers and workers in the local villages. In addition to the original 10, another Abōd will be built to be used as a Birthing Center with the goal of reducing the number of women that die every year giving childbirth. This is a really big issue in Tanzania as many women and babies could be saved during pregnancy and childbirth with clean and functional facilities and progressive education for the local midwives. Be sure to follow our Facebook page to view images of the build as they come in!

Flexibility of Design

Abōd homes are not only highly functional, sustainable and can be built in one day, they are often lower in cost versus standard construction. Natural light, cross breeze and open loft spaces provide universally enjoyable comforts. The basic shell is included, with add-on options (see right). Architects at BSB Design, Inc. created Abōd with flexibility in mind, so there is no lack of functionality or comfort, despite the price.

Options Include:

  • Different sized windows
  • Sliding glass door verses conventional door
  • Kitchen sink, shower tray, plumbing consumables
  • Washing line
  • Solar light kits
  • 8-litre hot water steel boiler

Shipping Outside of Africa

Recently, we have received many inquiries from individuals in other areas of the world that are interested in purchasing one Abōd for private use. We are grateful individuals are interested but the challenge is that it is very costly to ship just one overseas from South Africa. Depending on fuel prices it could cost an additional $3500 plus custom and clearance fees along with transportation from the port or airport to the individual’s location. Until we have manufacturing available in other areas, it would be much more economical to send an entire shipping container full to one location. While our goal is to set up manufacturing all over the world to use local labor and make Abōd as cost efficient as possible, we’re still in the beginning stages. With your support, we’ll grow our relationships, connect with additional partners and complete projects to contribute to solving the world housing crisis.

How can you help?

  1. Partner with us or provide an introduction to a potential partner. We can make a greater impact working together than separately. We have been able to build homes, dormitories, medical buildings and classrooms as a result of working together. Reach out to Abōd Shelters® so we can partner and make a difference together! ginny@abodshelters.com
  2. Get involved as an organization or individual through prayer, raising awareness or providing monetary support. We’d love to be able to share our Abōd Shelters® Story with your organization or group.  ginny@abodshelters.com
  3. Follow us on social media, like, share and invite others. Abōd Shelters® values the relationships we have made and we’re thankful for all of the support our friends have provided.

Abōd Shelters®, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd Shelters® through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor in 2017. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

From Once Upon a Time Until Now and Into The Future with Your Support
read more

Ten Abods To Be Completed in Ten Days in Tanzania with STEMM and Ty Pennington

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director Ginny@abodshelters.com

Taking part in another Abod Shelters adventure is an incredible way to start the New Year! I find myself writing this from the Atlanta International Airport and am grateful to Delta for offering Wi-Fi before I board the flight to Amsterdam and then on to Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. This adventure goes beyond the customary experience to the uncustomary.

For our avid Abod Shelters Followers, you may recall back in July, I shared a story, ‘New Partnership Blossoms: Abod Shelters Foundation and STEMM in Tanzania’ about Siouxland Tanzania Educational Medical Ministries (STEMM) who we are partnering with on a build starting this week.

PARTNERSHIP BACKGROUND 

The STEMM organization has a medical mission and children’s home that operates in a small village called Mbuguni (Pronounced “buh-goonie”), near Arusha, Tanzania. 2017 marks the 20th Anniversary of Dr. Steve Meyer and his wife Dana’s first visit when they were inspired to make a difference. With the support of the local people and political influencer named Lazaro, whom Dr. Meyer met at a college in Sioux City, Iowa, STEMM has made an incredible impact on the Maasai people – especially the women and children.

Doug Vander Weide, Chairman of Abod Shelters Foundation, and Dr. Meyer forged a relationship based on shared values of our board missions. Doug made a trip to the STEMM campus back in June to work through the possible opportunity for a partnership.

Mbuguni, location marked with a red star, is in northern Tanzania just southeast of Arusha.

The STEMM campus was growing so the leaders were at a point where they needed to provide more housing for teachers, caretakers, agri-workers and the people who operate the campus.

As our organizations collaborated it became apparent that Abod Shelters could offer them a faster, more sustainable and affordable solution than traditional block housing.  Dr. Meyer and our Doug felt it was a match made in heaven when they met and set in motion the plans to build an Abod Shelters Village in January 2017.

So much has happened between then and now. As we outlined the build possibilities it became apparent that this would be no ordinary experience.

2017 TANZANIA BUILD BEGINS THIS WEEK

Ty Pennington, Abod Shelters Foundation Celebrity Ambassador

To me actions speak louder than words. Ty Pennington continues to show his deep caring heart by his deeds to help us democratize housing for the worlds neediest people.

In addition to his fundraising efforts, “Ty is hoping to turn (the construction of the housing) into a new television series,” Dr Meyer explained.

Project Build Overview

  • To demonstrate the innovative nature of Abod Shelters, the project will include building 10 Abod’s in 10 days with a team of 30. This has never been done before. The building project begins this week, January 4th 2017.
  • Ty Pennington raised funds in 2016 to build the first Abod Shelters Micro Village. Five of the Abod homes will be a result of Ty’s donation. He is especially excited to do this as our Goodwill Ambassador.
  • To take his commitment to Abod even further, Ty is joining us in building the Abod Shelters with some of his friends. We have a talented video crew joining us who will be filming the experience. Stay tuned as he will be sharing the results of this experience with the public soon!

ALSO BUILDING BIRTHING CENTER

One of the biggest outcomes of the positive conversations about the opportunity to serve the Maasai people is the identification of a way to utilize the Abod Shelter as a Clinical Birthing Center.

We had our first experience creating this environment in Asikuma, Ghana with great success in 2016. The below pictures show one of the birthing centers. Far left: The assembly crew is finishing the construction process. Middle: The inside with 2 birthing beds, curtains for privacy and a full bathroom in the back with plumbing and water availability. Far right: the birthing center is back to back with the home that the nurse midwife stays in while she is on rotation.

Dr. Meyer indicated the desire to adopt the same concept for Tanzania. Here is why; According to UNICEF “close to 8000 women die every year during pregnancy and child birth as a result of conditions that could have been prevented or treated.” Mid-wifery is the acceptable practice which has been in place for centuries although it is not progressing at the rate of medical advances in the developed world.

After witnessing the results in Ghana with the addition of the Birthing Center it became apparent that with an organized system of Birthing Centers as well as progressive education for the local mid wives many women could be saved during pregnancy and childbirth. The result? We are building our first Abod Birthing Center in Tanzania.

This is just the first step for Abod in Tanzania with the support of caring people like Dr. Steve and Dana Meyer.  Once we understand the culture and the people better we will work side by side with the Maasai people to offer the stability, safety and security like the Abod can provide. We will be adding more homes to the village over the next 6 months and welcome your support.

YOUR SUPPORT IS STILL NEEDED

If you wish to help the Abod Shelters Village expand in Tanzania or help us add more Birthing Centers to reduce the death rate, please go to Abod Shelters to donate. Your donation will make a big difference in the lives of women and their children.

Stay tuned: More to come when I land in Kilamanjaro, Tanzania and be sure to follow our adventure on Twitter!  #TyAbodBuild.


In heartfelt service,

Ginny Shiverdecker
Executive Director


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

Ten Abods To Be Completed in Ten Days in Tanzania with STEMM and Ty Pennington
read more

Abōd Shelters Foundation Debuts in Florida at Valiant Wealth Fundraiser

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director Ginny@abodshelters.com

‘Tis the season. Magic happens when hearts align around a cause that rings true and demonstrates tangible impact on lives of those who suffer in severe poverty.
This magical feeling permeated the air at The Woods, Harbourside in Jupiter Thursday evening December 1st. Entrepreneurs, business owners and medical professionals gathered for the first Florida Valiant Wealth Africa Philanthropy Mixer for Abod Shelters Foundation. It thrilled me to see this event unfold.

Doug Vander Weide, Founder, Valiant Wealth and event sponsor, also Chairman of the Abod Shelters Foundation welcomed guests. He was joined by Paul Hassebroek, his partner. Doug’s remarks explained the Foundation’s purpose to be first to democratize housing for the worlds neediest populations, as over 4 billion people live in below poverty conditions, a worldwide epidemic.

I believe Abōd helped sparked the trendy tiny home movement. Its distinctive design based on the catenary arch, connects emotionally with people from all parts of the world.

From left to right: Doug Vander Weide, Ginny Shiverdecker and Paul Hassebroek 

The design is the result of a competition among architects of BSB Design, a nationally recognized firm of residential and commercial developments. The promise of this humanitarian design is Abōd Shelters: One House, One Family, One Day. The Abōd is delivered as a kit, is proven to be 50% cheaper, 80% faster to build and lasts 100% longer than traditional block housing.

The Abōd is quite versatile. Abōd Villages are established in partnership with NGO’s in a growing number of Africa locations, like Zambia where Abōds are devoted to dormitories for high school age students and housing for teachers. In Ghana, Abōd homes are built for working families at a fish farm enterprise on Lake Volta, Asikuma. In Limpopo, Abōds serve as homes and classrooms for children, teachers and caretakers.

The ‘Invitation Only’ event was created to raise funds for an Abōd Medical Center Surgery and Birthing Centers (they refer to them as Theaters) in the heart of a Abōd Tiny Home Village planned in Mbuguni, Tanzania operated by Siouxland Tanzania Educational Medical Ministries (STEMM). The project breaks ground in January 2017. Guests generously donated after hearing the real stories of how Abōd projects positively impact children and women’s lives. As Valiant Wealth Director of Development and Abōd Shelters Foundation’s Executive Director offered this message: The birthing center is the first step toward saving lives as over 8,000 women die during child birth in Tanzania every year. By providing clinical settings and educating Maasai women to elevated midwifery practices, we can change the death rate and help prevent the high degree of cerebral palsy in children who are born in such poor conditions.  Watch for more on STEMM in next week’s post as we head to Tanzania after Christmas.

Tesla offers tours of the Model X along with the Model S for guests to experience.

To enhance the authentic African fun factor participants toured the highly sought after Tesla Models S and X with product specialists. Tesla is founded by South African born Elon Musk.

To help bring the Abōd Village concept to life, guests could try on the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Glasses to see how Abōd can be designed as classrooms, homes or medical facilities.

The personal stories and activities inspired guests to participate in the African Silent Auction featuring artisan jewelry, South African wine, tribal paintings, a sculpture and one of a kind hand craft creations.

In addition, guests were offered the chance to win an Abōd Shelters African Adventure Trip for two with Ty Pennington of Extreme Makeover fame, for a once in a lifetime learn, build and safari experience. Pennington signed on as Goodwill Ambassador two years ago believing the cause meaningful and to help build awareness.

When I was asked if there would be a future event, I said, “Absolutely!” Our intent is to start a conversation around our mission and make connections to build a community of like-minded people who care passionately about providing women and children stability that comes with better living conditions. We received tremendous feedback on the quality of experience and raised funds to build and furnish a desperately needed Birthing Center. This enthusiastic response encourages us to create the next Valiant Philanthropy Experience for Abōd Shelters projects. Stay tuned for the next event announcement.

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director Abod Shelters Foundation sharing story of building tiny homes in Africa with guests at The Woods, Harbourside in Jupiter.

Iris Melecio participates in the Door Prizes and Silent Auction Fundraising Gift Collection.

From left to right: Kelly and Tom Callahan , Jermey Oxer, Bob Harbour, Heather Oxer

To donate to build a Birthing Center or one of the homes for this project, visit our donation page at Abod Shelters. Any amount will be helpful.

There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.


In heartfelt service,

Ginny Shiverdecker
Executive Director


Abōd Shelters Foundation Debuts in Florida at Valiant Wealth Fundraiser
read more

Being Thankful… What For?

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Michelle Rothfus, Project Coordinator Abōd® Shelters

It’s getting to be that time of year. You know… THAT time when the cool breezes of fall start turning very brisk, when there is a dramatic change in clothes because the chill seems to go right to your bones and heavy soups, stews and hot pasta casseroles are the main menu items for meals. The worst of THAT time? When I cannot wear my sunglasses home from work because it is already dark! Yes, clocks have been set back for Daylight Savings Time here in the Midwest (US) and it feels like our days are shorter because it’s dark so early.

The change in the season means Thanksgiving is right around the corner. With it comes gatherings of friends and family you don’t see often, impromptu meals and potlucks, gifts for hosts and, oh yes, a reminder to be thankful. Am I not thankful enough throughout the year? Don’t take me the wrong way, I have MANY blessings to be grateful for. Maybe it’s the stress of the holidays coming up or maybe it’s because my family and I are uprooted now and most of what we own is in storage. Yep, that is it.

My husband and I sold our family home, the one our children grew up in. The one where we grew to love our community and make new best friends in. The one that all the kids came to hang out in. My husband and I are going through a transition where our kids are almost adult age and we are now most often are the only ones at home. Our kids are a little upset that we are permanently leaving the place where they made their most cherished memories, but realize they are growing themselves and pursuing their own young adult interests. I have reassured them that wherever we’re together… we are “home”.

The stress of being uprooted is a powerful reminder about how much having a safe, comfortable place to call home impacts your life. I keep reminding myself that my situation is nothing compared to what recent refugees, hurricane victims or homeless have gone or are currently going through. So, believe me, I am not complaining one bit!

We have decided to go with a smaller home but with more outside space, so we’re moving to the country. Until our home is ready to move in, we are “borrowing” living space – which means living out of suitcases for several months.

50 million children are living as refugees, uprooted by war, violence & persecution, UNICEF says.

Refugees at a makeshift camp near the Greek village of Idomeni; thousands are stranded at the Balkan border. Picture: AFP/Getty

I have learned over the years and has become part of my core values; that my life is MUCH better than I deserve and I have a responsibility, expectation and duty… to give back.”

I sometimes feel that I don’t give or do enough, but I do what I can and I hope you do to. Feeling thankful is a choice. So, for this week I chose to make a list, ‘My Thankful List’. And I’m taking it a step further by also creating a ‘I Am Going to Do in 2017’ list.

  1. I am thankful for my health, so I’m able to attend my kid’s activities, coach, and even practice with them many times. And that I’m fit to go on long-distance bike rides and crazy fast tube rides with the boat.
  2. I am thankful for my husband, who did the heavy lifting during our move; who always makes certain our vehicles are maintained himself; who takes on all the long-distance driving when we travel; who enjoys doing things with me and holds me up when I feel like falling.
  3. I am thankful for my children, and their diverse personalities that caused me to grow tremendously, to meet many people and go places I would never have otherwise on my own.
  4. I am thankful for my work, where I’m blessed to help others meet their goals and I enjoy the day-to-day variety of my responsibilities. And that has provided me with the opportunity to travel to Haiti, Zambia and South Africa and to become friends with amazing people.
  5. I am thankful for my freedom, so I can pursue my personal passions and religion and go where and when I want to without fear.
  6. I am thankful for long lazy weekends, that provide time to recoup and re-energize and sometimes to do nothing but sit, listen and enjoy what’s going on around me.
  7. I am thankful for my experiences, those that have impacted me to make me who I am today.
  8. I am thankful for my role models, such as my parents who were super strict so I understood respect; my in-laws who are full of grace and gave me a different parenting perspective; and my church friends who aligned me on the path to be saved.
  9. I am thankful for my sense of humor, and being able to laugh loud and so hard I pee my pants or spit a mouthful of drink across the room…or all over someone.
  10. I am thankful for my friends and acquaintances, who have been ready with the right things to say to lift me up, to offer help and advice or their home to use as needed.
  1. I will secretly pay it forward at least 1 time per month; do something or buy something in advance for someone.
  2. I will handwrite a thank you or “just because” note and give or mail it to someone at least 1 time per month.
  3. I will reach out to friends or family members that I haven’t been in contact with for many years.
  4. I will learn something new and different outside of work.
  5. I will volunteer to make meals (or part of) for families in need.
  6. I will travel to a new country.
  7. I will include my family in as many of these as possible.
  8. I will stay offline for one day every weekend.
  9. I will take ‘me time’ for a couple of hours every week and just focus on doing things for myself.
  10. I will increase my healthy habits everyday by drinking more water, eating more veggies and being more active.

Here’s my challenge to you: Open your heart and write your own items that you are thankful for and what you are going to do in 2017. Be sure to keep them in front of you so that you can refer to them often. If you’d like, send them to me (Michelle@abodshelters.com) so that I can share with others. You’d be surprised at how motivating it is to read someone else’s and how it inspires others to do the same. Happy Thanksgiving and Best Wishes!


One House. One Family. One Day.

www.abodshelters.com

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you!

There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

Abōd® Shelters, a registered 501©3 organization, are very interested in working with US and international organizations to leverage resources to provide homes to those in need.
You can get involved and help us build a sustainable Village of the Future using Abōd® Shelters through prayer, raising awareness and providing monetary support through partnership or become a Sponsor in 2016. For more information about ways to partner with us or becoming a sponsor, please mail your interest to ginny@abodshelters.com


Being Thankful… What For?
read more

Philanthropy Day Is November 15th: Saluting People Who Change the World With a Giving Heart

Greetings Abōd® Shelters Friends!

Phi-lan-thro-py: Greek origin – philanthropia – love of humankind

Noun: Altruistic concern for human welfare and advancement, usually manifested by donations of money, resources, or work to needy persons.The practice of giving time and money to help make life better for other people.

Synonyms: Generosity, altruism, social conscience, magnanimity, humanity, kindness, compassion, benevolence, charity.

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director

Ginny Shiverdecker, Executive Director Ginny@abodshelters.com

Philanthropy – what a beautiful word so full of promise and positive energy. It is not uncommon post our national presidential election, to experience a feeling of optimism no matter the outcome. To me, it is the perfect time to express gratitude for our freedom and way of life. I recently visited the website of the National Philanthropy Day® (NPD) and was inspired by the information they provide and wanted to share some of the background of this impactful day with you.

You can actively support National Philanthropy Day® (NPD) on November 15th – the day thousands of people around the world come together to both: (1) put that word into action and (2) recognize the change that word has brought to our communities.

From the National Philanthropy Day® Official Website:

NPD is a celebration of philanthropy; giving, volunteering and charitable engagement that highlights the accomplishments, large and small, that philanthropy and all those involved in the philanthropic process, makes to our society and our world. National Philanthropy Day® is both an official day and a grassroots movement.

Every year, since 1986 when President Ronald Reagan first proclaimed November 15th as National Philanthropy Day®, communities across the globe have celebrated by hosting events to recognize activities of donors, volunteers, foundations, leaders, corporations, and others engaged in philanthropy. Since that first NPD, participation has grown year after year.

Today it has become a platform for charitable work that EVERYONE does to make a difference and create impact in their communities. Whether you’re a donor or a volunteer (or both!), young or old, no matter how much you give or what causes you support; what you do from the heart makes a difference!

To that end, this coming November 15th is the day I wish to salute YOU: All of the caring and generous people who compose the Abōd Shelters® Community of Supporters.

There are so many people who have touched our mission and forever change us for the better:

  • All the talented associates within BSB Design  – fondly referred to as BSB Nation, the original creators of Abōd Shelters® for their ongoing engagement and support.
  • Valiant Wealth Family Office & Financial Advisors for their leadership and generosity.
  • Our committed Abōd Shelters® Foundation Board of Directors  who I am honored to work with every day.
  • Our dedicated Abōd Shelters® Manufacturer in Johannesburg, South Africa – HMR Homes for embracing the possibilities of Abod’s role in improving lives of Africans everywhere.
  • Our trusted NGO partners who put Abod to work in service that transforms real lives.
  • Ty Pennington Abōd Shelters® Goodwill Ambassador for his creative leadership, talent and time to help us spread the word about of Mission to democratize housing.
  • The EPICS professors and students at Purdue University who challenge us.
  • Our generous donors – companies, sponsors, families and individuals who are true believers.
  • All the devoted volunteers who answer the call of service – we have so much fun.
  • The spouses and partners of our givers who sacrifice their loved one’s time for us.
  • Finally, those of you out there who have yet to discover Abōd Shelters® but are destined to do so. We await meeting you with open arms.

Chris Korte, Steve Cashman and Matthew Sharp assembling one of the arches to a home that was built for a granny and her grandchildren on Del Cramer Campus through Blessman Ministries in Mokopane, South Africa.

Local women relaxing and enjoying their accomplishment of building an entire Abod in one day on their own as a prototype for the South African Government.

THANK YOU for having a giving heart of your time, talents, spirit and energy. The journey would never be as much fun, successful or rewarding without you!

May the way these special people live their lives through acts of philanthropy be an inspiration to others to get involved. It takes one small step forward to experience a new world of meaningful connections, happiness and satisfaction. I thank my lucky stars every day to be amidst such quality individuals.

The NPD website highlights the extraordinary work of donors and volunteers around the world every day. The site will feature finalists in the National Philanthropy Day Honors program. More than 70 video nominations were received in six categories: Philanthropist, Volunteer Fundraiser, Corporation, Foundations and Youth in Philanthropy (Youth and Individual). The public is asked to vote on the nominees who most impacted their communities and the world. A group of judges choose the final honoree in each category, who will be recognized at the National Philanthropy Day Honors program in New York City in November. You will find great stories on ways to give more effectively and profiles of unique and inspiring philanthropists… just like you!

In closing, I would like to also applaud the efforts of the National Philanthropy Day operating team for their efforts to increase public interest and awareness of the importance of philanthropy, as well as knowledge on giving, volunteering and engagement at the charitable level so people can practice EFFECTIVE philanthropy.

Doug Vander Weide and son, DJ, finishing the loft on the Abod built for the fish farm on Lake Volta in Eastern Ghana through Acts 2 Collective.

New Abod Built via Blessman Ministries with one of the builders and the new homeowner, Talent.

Thank you for all you do to build trust in what NGO’s do to made a difference in the world.


In heartfelt service,

Ginny Shiverdecker
Executive Director


There are many options for private individuals, companies, schools, churches and other organizations to partner with us and make a real difference. Check out how to Partner With Us or simply connect to Ginny Shiverdecker at ginny@abodshelters.comYou may also donate to build an Abōd.

Philanthropy Day Is November 15th: Saluting People Who Change the World With a Giving Heart
read more