NEW RICHMOND -- After getting its start in River Falls on March 29, 1996, St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity will kick off it’s 25th year with a ceremonial groundbreaking in New Richmond on March 29.

The dedication of volunteers, business and community organizations has made it possible for the organization to welcome its 71st family, Executive Director Kristie Smith said.

“When we look ahead to our plans this year, we also look back 25 years ago to a group of people who knew that the key to successful communities was to look for ways to support each other,” she said.

Barb and Paul Ramberg, who were among two of the original founders, said the nonprofit started with a focus on lots donated in Glenwood City, Baldwin and Ellsworth.

“Half a dozen of us got the behind-the-scenes work started and it took about two years until our first home was built,” Paul Ramberg said.

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The March 29 Groundbreaking Ceremony kicks off construction season for the nonprofit, which will welcome the Flores family to the build. A number of partners have joined with SCVHFH to support the project and help keep construction costs affordable, including Thrivent, Andersen Windows & Doors, Steiner Heating and Electric, the City of New Richmond and WI United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development.

Purchase of the New Richmond site was made possible by the partnership with the City of New Richmond.

“We are committed to supporting affordable housing in our neighborhoods,” New Richmond Community Development Director Beth Thompson said. “Partnerships like this one help us achieve our goals to build strength and long-term success for the people who call New Richmond home.”

Thrivent will partner for a special Thrivent Builds Faith Venture, connecting faith partners and community organizations to the project.

“Together, Habitat for Humanity and Thrivent share the mission of helping people in need of safe, decent place to call home,” Thrivent Financial Planner Jesse Kvitek said. “We are looking forward to building together in New Richmond again, after our last joint project here in 2010.” Special funding through WI USDA Rural Development’s Single Family Housing Direct Loan program will help the Flores’ keep their mortgage affordable.

“USDA’s no down-payment, low-interest program supports very-low and low-income families with assistance in eligible rural areas,” said WI Rural Development Acting State Director Michelle Wallace. “Our partnership with SCVHFH allows both Agency’s program dollars to stretch further to help more families achieve their dream of homeownership.”

A volunteer kick-off is set for June 2 at Paperjack Park in New Richmond. Volunteers and sponsors are still needed for the build. More information can be found online at or by emailing

The March 29 groundbreaking ceremony can be viewed live on Facebook at