Former McAllen grant writer helps nonprofit expand

EDINBURG — For years, Amy Sepulveda dreamed of working for Habitat for Humanity.

Now, she’s helping the nonprofit expand as its development director.

“I always felt I wanted to work with the organization because it helps the community,” Sepulveda said.

A 1999 graduate of Pharr-San Juan-Alamo North High School, she has been studying at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, where she’s working on a major in graphic design and a minor in business administration.

For 11 years, she worked for the city of McAllen, where she pursued grants to fund city services.

Then last September, she landed the job with Habitat for Humanity.

“It makes me feel proud to work with them,” she said. “So many people need help. There’s a big need. There are a lot of families living in very bad conditions. There’s overcrowding in homes.”

Now, she’s part of a new “family.”

“I love working with my co-workers,” she said. “We work together as a team. We’re like a family. We’re always fundraising because we want to build more homes.”

For Sepulveda, Habitat for Humanity has helped change her life.

“Habitat for Humanity is faith-based,” she said. “We work under faith. Everything we do revolves around faith. It’s made me feel more spiritual.”

As part of its work, the organization helps build homes for low-income residents, remodels homes for the disabled and helps disaster victims.

“It my desire to make the organization grow,” she said.

About 11 years ago, Habitat for Humanity opened offices in McAllen to serve Hidalgo County.

Since 2014, the international organization expanded into Cameron County, where it’s built 17 homes so far.

Then last year, it opened Restores, one of the organization’s thrift stores, in Harlingen, boosting its revenue stream.

“Now we have more money in our budget, so that’s helped us expand that way,” Sepulveda said.

Last year, the organization also expanded into Willacy County, where it built a home in Raymondville.

“We’re growing,” Sepulveda said.

Then about a week ago, the organization built its first home in Brownsville.

“We definitely want to build more homes,” she said. “We want to grow our programs. It’s fulfilling.”