September 24, 2011; Source: News-Messenger | This must be the nonprofit sector’s least-publicized major accomplishment.

Everyone who reads NPQ Newswire knows about Habitat for Humanity (we have written about Habitat numerous times, here and here and here and here and here, for starters, and there will be a long article on Habitat in the forthcoming Fall 2011 issue of The Nonprofit Quarterly magazine).

The image many people have is of a local Habitat organization, mostly faith-based volunteers, building a few homes a year for poor people, putting in sweat and tithing to provide a small number of families an opportunity to be homeowners.

But did you know that on World Habitat Day (October 3, as designated by UN-HABITAT, a United Nations organization not connected to Habitat for Humanity) in Maai Mahiu, Kenya, Habitat will celebrate the dedication of its 500,000th house? (On this same day it will also begin construction on its 500,001st house—in Paterson, New Jersey.) Did you know that Habitat dedicated its 200,000th house in 2005, so this latest milestone represents more than a doubling of Habitat’s worldwide lifetime production in only six years?

According to UN-HABITAT, sometime this October the world’s population will reach 7 billion. Of that population, members of 500,000 families have decent homes because of the efforts of Habitat for Humanity, its leadership, staff, and volunteers. That is very, very, very impressive work. Congratulations to Habitat from all of us at The Nonprofit Quarterly.—Rick Cohen