June 6, 1949 ~ July 8, 2021
Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity celebrates the life of our former Executive Director, Ted Swisher and his enormous contribution to global affordable housing. Ted committed more than 45 years of his life to Habitat for Humanity’s mission. Santa Fe Habitat extends our deepest condolences to Ted’s family. To read his obituary, please click this link.
Ted’s Life Work at Habitat for Humanity
Ted served as our affiliate’s Executive Director for 11 years. Under his leadership, Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity has accomplished many milestones. The organization broke ground on its 100th home in 2015, purchased and settled into the ReStore’s new location on Camino Entrada in 2016, launched our affiliate’s Home Repair program in 2014, and oversaw tremendous growth in ReStore sales, which directly raises funds for building possibilities in the community.
Thanks to Ted’s 45 years of leadership and his life’s work with Habitat for Humanity, he offered a deep understanding of relationship building and an intimate knowledge of every task that builds up this multifaceted organization—a unique combination of skills that has proved indispensable. Over the course of his career, Ted oversaw the creation of over 500 United States affiliates, including Santa Fe, supported the construction of over 30,000 homes, physically worked on over 500 homes, attended hundreds of home blessing ceremonies, and had the great honor of working alongside former President and Habitat for Humanity advocate, Jimmy Carter. Ted played an important role in the spirit and growth of Habitat for Humanity from its beginning—watching the nonprofit blossom from its origins at Koinonia Farm. “In the early days, when we told people about Habitat, they had either never heard of it or they thought it was a bad idea,” Ted once said. The organization is now one of the world’s top charities and has provided over 22 million new and improved homes over the last 44 years.
During his college years at Princeton University, Ted became involved with Koinonia Farm, a groundbreaking farming and economic development community in Americus, GA. Koinonia Farm is known as the origin of Habitat for Humanity International. At the Farm, Ted was inspired by Clarence Jordan’s cassette tapes that he listened to in the early mornings with friends, as well as the wise words of Millard Fuller as they worked side-by-side on projects. In his quest to make the world a better place and to find true meaning in his career, Ted paved a path in the organization with faith, service, and action. In a 2019 interview, Ted said, “Habitat for Humanity exists because of the generosity of individuals and corporations—you can’t help but be impacted by that.” Ted valued the mission of the nonprofit because everyone can identify with housing, “This work makes lives better for others in a very concrete way. At the end of the day, someone has a home.” Nail by nail and brick by brick, Ted advocated for the importance of homeownership and appreciated Habitat for Humanity’s capacity to engage volunteers, who become advocates for fair housing—impacting cycles of homeownership for future generations.
Santa Fe Habitat thanks Ted for his contribution to the organization. Ted hammered away to ignite sustainable change in housing throughout his career and life—seeing Habitat from its beginnings to the organization’s enormous success today… Following Ted’s retirement, he spent his time in the outdoors and with family.
Santa Fe Habitat will mourn the loss of this man beloved by the community. His presence will be missed across Santa Fe and beyond, for Ted Swisher made as much of an imprint on us all, as he did in global affordable housing.