Morris Habitat for Humanity CEO Blair Schleicher Wilson announces retirement

Morris Habitat for Humanity CEO Blair Schleicher Wilson on Wednesday announced her plans to retire. Wilson has led the affordable housing organization since 2004 and will continue to serve as CEO until July 31.

Liz DeCoursey, chief operating officer, will serve as interim CEO while the Morris Habitat board conducts a search for Schleicher Wilson’s successor.

“It has been my great honor and privilege to serve as the leader of Morris Habitat for nearly 20 years,” Schleicher Wilson said. “I am proud of the organization we are today and the impact we’ve had, working with thousands of outstanding people, groups and networks to advance the cause of safe, decent and affordable housing for everyone.”

Schleicher Wilson is an accomplished leader who has helped transform lives by furthering Morris Habitat’s mission of providing affordable homeownership to those in desperate need. During her remarkable 19-year tenure, Schleicher Wilson has grown a once small New Jersey nonprofit into one of nation’s top Habitat for Humanity affiliates.

During her tenure, Schleicher Wilson has developed and implemented strategic business plans that have accomplished extraordinary program and revenue growth, increased staff size and tripled the number of homes built and families served. She is a sought-after thought leader for her accomplishments and advocacy efforts in the name of serving more deserving, hardworking families with a hand up to homeownership. She has also built an increasingly diverse board, which reflects the functional knowledge needed for effective leadership and governance oversight and counsel while deepening political relationships and community engagement.

Schleicher Wilson’s accomplishments leading the organization to unparalleled growth in program and revenue:

  • Achieved nonprofit affordable homeownership developer of choice by municipalities, building 166 homes in five counties and 30 municipalities with an additional 25 set to close in 2023 and over 80 homes planned for completion over the next four years;
  • Developed a property pipeline of more than 200 homes;
  • Added Neighborhood Revitalization/Home Repair/Aging in Place Programs to assist lower-income homeowners with home preservation activities, assisting nearly 500 households;
  • Led successful acquisition of Greater Plainfield & Middlesex County Habitat for Humanity, creating a service area of 68 municipalities in three counties;
  • Established the organization’s ReStore retail operation and its e-commerce virtual store, supporting the organization with annual revenues of more than $3 million;
  • Grew philanthropic support, including an equity revolver fund and $20 million in governmental funding; established strong collaborative partnerships with nonprofit housing organizations, municipalities, corporations, congregations, businesses and organizations;
  • Rated in the top 4% of Habitat affiliates nationwide in its new home construction and in the top 10% in overall program delivery; and
  • Successfully led program activities during COVID, serving 60 families with housing solutions and hundreds more through donations of N95 masks to first responders, furniture to local nonprofits serving the homeless, laptops to inner city schoolchildren and launched an online food drive as well as assisting with food distribution activities.

Morris Habitat board Chair Richard Barrett said: “Blair’s leadership has led to a phenomenal increase in the number of affordable houses built and home repairs. She has been an inspiration to everyone she has worked with.”