More than 1.5 billion people worldwide lack decent affordable housing.  As a way to address this epidemic, Habitat for Humanity International was founded in 1976.  The organization’s mission is to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness in the world, and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action.  Over the last 25 years, Habitat has built more than 100,000 houses – providing more than 500,000 people in more than 2,000 communities with safe and affordable shelter.  

Here’s how it works.  Once a family has qualified to become a homeowner (through screening and volunteering), Habitat Houses are sold to the homeowner families at no profit, with no interest charged on the mortgage.  Homeowners and volunteers build the houses under trained supervision.  Individuals, corporation, faith groups and others provide financial support.

As one of the founding members of Business for Social Responsibility, we know a lot about trying to make a difference in the world.  With the arrival of Cone’s 20th year anniversary, Carol Cone wanted to do something special to recognize the hard work of her employees.  She also wanted to make a meaningful contribution to the greater Boston community as well as contribution that reflected the company’s values, employees’ dedication, and Cone’s community spirit.  Habitat for Humanity was a natural fit.  What resulted from this initiative was a memorable team building and life changing experience for many of Cone’s employees.


  • Develop a team building initiative that engages the entire company 
  • Celebrate 20 years in Boston by making a difference in the local community 
  • Reinforce Cone’s passion and desire to “give back” and leave a mark on the world 
  • Reward Cone employees with a day to make a difference 


Teamwork is one of Cone’s core values.  As a company, we value, encourage, support and challenge each other everyday.  Our value of “teamwork” was in full force this past summer, when we committed not only the much needed financial support for a Habitat for Humanity House ($75,000), but also set aside 10 paid “Build Days” for employees to work alongside the future homeowners in the creation of the four-bedroom townhouse.  

From our receptionist to our CEO, we worked side-by-side hauling wood, framing, cutting, sanding, and painting the future home.  With hammers, saws, nails, drinking water and a lot of team spirit, employees were able to see the begin to take shape and feel the positive energy generated by knowing we are helping a young family move one step closer to their dream of owning a home.  The Habitat family will move into the house this Spring.

After this wonderful and fulfilling experience, there was overwhelming support throughout the company to continue to work with Habitat for Humanity in our community.  Therefore, Phase II of the Cone Build will continue this summer when we build a Habitat Playground.  The playground will be situated behind the townhouses we helped to build, and all the kids from this neighborhood will have the opportunity to enjoy it.  Once again, we will unite to make a difference in the lives of others and the community Cone calls home.