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Slaughter named CEO for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh

| Tuesday, April 5, 2016, 5:06 p.m.
Maggie Withrow, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh, is retiring.
Howard Slaughter is incoming president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh.

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh's board announced Tuesday it has tapped Howard Slaughter Jr. to head the 30-year-old affiliate of the national charity that builds and rehabs homes for needy families.

Slaughter of Penn Hills brings 25 years of experience in economic development, housing and real estate, along with heavy involvement in the regional nonprofit sector. His position as Habitat's CEO and president is effective April 18.

“In the brief period of time that I have known him, I am in awe of his energy, drive and passion,” Habitat board President Michael Rizzo, chief risk officer at Federal Home Loan Bank in Pittsburgh, said in a statement. “The future looks intriguing.”

Habitat Pittsburgh, which operates on a $1.7 million annual budget, has nine employees and more than 3,000 volunteers for its home construction, special events and ReStore secondhand home improvement shop in Braddock Hills.

“Our goal is to increase what we have done in the past,” Slaughter said. “We want to be able to collaborate with key partners in the region so that we can have a greater impact.”

Slaughter, president and CEO of Christian Management Enterprises LLC, previously was CEO of Landmarks Community Capital Corp. He was the first regional director of Fannie Mae's Pittsburgh Community Business Center, where he helped 24,000 people become homeowners in Western Pennsylvania.

Slaughter studied at Community College of Allegheny County and Carlow University before earning his MBA from Point Park University and a master's degree in public management from Carnegie Mellon University.

He will replace Executive Director Maggie Withrow, who is retiring. She took over in 2003, having previously headed the Nashville affiliate for four years.

“I've probably signed about 150 mortgage agreements between Nashville and here,” said Withrow, 64, of Forest Hills. “Most of our families are paying less for their mortgage than they were paying in rent, and that's how they break out of their cycle of poverty.”

The program's low-income participants work with Habitat staff and volunteers to build or rehabilitate homes and then move into them. The organization then acts as a bank, setting up no-interest monthly mortgage payments by which participants come to own their homes.

Withrow, who grew up in Mt. Lebanon, pointed to the benefits to donors of Habitat's hands-on approach: “You can write a check and then volunteer at a job site and work side by side, putting up drywall with the family you're providing a good home.”

Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8514 or nlindstrom@tribweb.com.

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