Crown Auto and the Hawkins Family Foundation sponsor fifth Glow Gala for Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties

In the United States, and around the world, Habitat for Humanity has made an indelible mark on thousands of lives. The organization, which was established in 1976, helps provide individuals, and families, with affordable housing. Habitat for Humanity has served over 39 million people, worldwide, since its inception.

The organization, which relies on donations and volunteer work, has received the attention of many individuals and corporations who proudly support its mission. One such corporation is Crown Automotive Group, based in St. Petersburg.

Crown Automotive Group has enjoyed a meaningful relationship with Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties for more than ten years.

On April 5, Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties, in collaboration with its major sponsor, Crown Automotive Group and the Hawkins Family Foundation, will host its Glow Gala, at The Vinoy Renaissance Hotel, in St. Petersburg.

This will be the fifth gala that the Crown Automotive Group and the Hawkins Family Foundation have sponsored. According to Kevin Hawkins, principal dealer of the Crown Automotive Group and chief executive officer of Mid Atlantic Finance Company, the sponsorship of this year’s gala is the “continuation of a five-year commitment we pledged to Habitat. It is another way to help this amazing foundation change lives, one homeowner at a time.”

Through Habitat for Humanity and Crown Automotive Group’s combined efforts, fourteen houses have been built for Habitat homeowners. According to Hawkins, more than 1,600 volunteer hours were used to complete the homes. When a project is finished, it’s a “big day for that new family,” Hawkins said.

“Crown Automotive Group and the Hawkins Family Foundation have been wonderful community partners to Habitat over the last decade,” said Mike Sutton, Habitat president and CEO. “They have sponsored 14 homes in our community, which is just a remarkable feat. To have Crown and the Hawkins Family Foundation sponsor our Galas for the past five years shows the commitment they have to the Habitat mission. When Crown puts its name on something, you know it will carry significant weight in the community and it will encourage others to get involved as well.”

Providing a new home to a deserving individual, or family, is not the only joy that comes with a Habitat for Humanity project. Building a Habitat house is a collaborative team effort. Working as a team towards a common goal allows team members to bond and get to know each other in an intimate way, Hawkins elaborated. Together, team members are “doing something life changing.”

Hawkins articulated that while Habitat for Humanity provides individuals and families with new homes, there is a cost. “We don’t give a home, we build the home to keep the cost down and create a low mortgage,” he explained. Once Habitat homeowners are selected, they are educated on how to pay their mortgage and how to budget, accordingly, for their mortgage payments. Impressively, Habitat homeowners have a lower default rate than the national average, Hawkins said.

Crown Automotive Group’s relationship with Habitat for Humanity was first cultivated under Crown founder, Dwayne Hawkins. Dwayne, who was able to grow his original St. Petersburg based dealership into one of the most prominent dealership groups in America, was passionate about philanthropic work. He gave back to the community by supporting a diverse selection of organizations and foundations, including Habitat.

His son, Kevin Hawkins, who has honored his father’s philanthropic spirit, once described Dwayne’s legacy in a profound way, “being charitable is very important to him. But, for him, it’s not about leaving a legacy behind. The legacy is the people who are touched along the way.”

The sponsorship of the 2024 Glow Gala provides Crown Automotive Group and the Hawkins Family Foundation with another opportunity to support Habitat and its mission. Furthermore, as Hawkins pointed out, it’s an “awesome event to attend” and so much fun for attendees.

To learn more about Habitat’s Glow Gala, visit https://habitatpwp.org/gala/.

While this year’s gala is sold out, you can save the date for the annual Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Counties gala on April 4, 2025.

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