During the day you’ll find Patrick Ebnit supporting our diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) efforts as a union appointed DE&I Inclusion Champion. But during the evenings and weekends you might find Ebnit, who has been with the company nine years in June, supporting a Habitat for Humanity build or other volunteer opportunity.  

Ebnit likes that when he volunteers for Habitat for Humanity, it has the potential to make a difference in someone’s life for the long-term. “If I can help you today that’s good, but if I can help you today and that can continue into the future, that’s better,” he said.  

Ebnit first got involved in Habitat for Humanity when he lived in California in the 90s. He admits that  the hopes of meeting former President Jimmy Carter at a build was his initial draw. And even though he didn’t get to meet Carter, it spurred a passion and commitment that has spanned 30 years.  

When Ebnit moved to Michigan, he volunteered for the Gratiot County Habitat. He had started a side business as a union masonry and brought in a group of people to lay a foundation. “I didn’t know them at the time, but I got to know the folks who bought the house years later and I went over to visit, and I realized, ‘Hey, I built this foundation,’” he said.

It made Ebnit feel good to see the family was still in the house and had made improvements. “They took the hand that was offered to them and used it to improve their life,” he said. “That made me feel really good about the efforts and time I spent.” 

Ebnit said building comes naturally for him. “I was raised by a builder, my dad knew how to build and fix everything, and I tried to become that,” he said. “So, my skills and experience tie well to the things Habitat for Humanity does.” 

But Ebnit said you don’t have to have technical skills to make a difference, “Come on out, I’ll teach you how to run a saw. There is always time to learn,” he said. “If you think you can’t be of use, you’re wrong and you can learn along the way.” 

Ebnit laid a physical foundation for a family but helped provide a figurative one as well, “If you want to make a difference this is a great way to do it,” he said. “It can help build generational wealth in families that haven’t had that opportunity before.” 

Supporting Employee Volunteerism 

While Ebnit volunteers his time and donates his money to Habitat for Humanity, he makes sure to take advantage of the programs Consumers Energy offers for their employees to make his donations go even further. He does this by entering his volunteer hours in the company’s volunteer portal and getting grants for the volunteering he does. “I know a lot of folks who spend a lot of time volunteering but don’t take advantage of the programs the company offers to get money for that time, he said. “It is my personal mission to increase the number of folks that are entering the work that they’re already doing.” For Ebnit, that includes entering his hours to receive a grant for Habitat for Humanity. When he donates money, he also does it through the company to receive a matching grant.  

Power of Home Campaign 

Consumers Energy is partnering with Habitat for Humanity for the Power of Home campaign. We have pledged to match $1 for every $2 donated through the fundraiser, up to $100,000.  Learn more about the campaign here. The campaign is open to the public and you can donate here