Atlanta Habitat for Humanity names new president and CEO

Rosalyn Merrick, new president and CEO of Atlanta Habitat for Humanity.

Credit: Andrew/TOSHE

Credit: Andrew/TOSHE

Rosalyn Merrick, new president and CEO of Atlanta Habitat for Humanity.

Atlanta Habitat for Humanity’s former executive vice president and chief operating officer Rosalyn Merrick has taken over as its new president and CEO, succeeding Alan Ferguson, who took on the role in 2022.

Merrick’s appointment is “effective immediately,” Atlanta Habitat said in a news release sent to media outlets on Wednesday evening. She said in an interview that she had won unanimous approval from the board of directors on Monday.

The new chief executive officer said she would continue Atlanta Habitat’s mission to provide affordable single-family housing to support working families. She added that she would rise to the challenge of getting the most out of land the nonprofit owns because of rising property values and construction costs.

One thing that’s already part of the organization’s current strategic plan: density and building the “maximum number of units” on that property, she said.

“We need to be really thoughtful about the best use of our current land resources. And that is how we arrived at density as a strategy to serve more families,” she said.

Merrick graduated from Georgia State University and previously worked at the Georgia Community Foundation, Mount Vernon School, The Ron Clark Academy and United Way of Greater Atlanta. She joined Atlanta Habitat in November 2020 as a chief development officer.

She said the organization will build on the blueprint created by the Browns Mill Village mixed-use development in the Orchard Knob neighborhood south of downtown Atlanta, a 31.4-acre site with 134 single-family homes. In April, the non-profit home builder, which helped thousands of people get into affordable housing, announced it would build its first duplex — two standalone units in one building – in the Sylvan Hills neighborhood in southwest Atlanta. The mixed-use development is on 10 acres of land.

“We’re considering all the different build types that make sense for the families we serve. That should always include single-family homes but also duplexes and townhomes,” she said.

As chief development officer, Merrick was behind the nonprofit’s fundraising efforts, including a $13.5 million donation from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott in March 2022.

“From helping Atlanta Habitat navigate the pandemic to leading strategic growth across numerous departments, we have seen Rosalyn lead with skill, tenacity, and passion throughout her tenure,” said Atlanta Habitat vice chair and general counsel Jeremy C. Silverman, a partner in the Atlanta office of the international law firm, Alston & Bird.

Merrick said she would continue to implement the non-profit’s current strategic plan which includes increasing homeownership, focusing on building in communities outside of Atlanta — including in Fairburn, City of South Fulton and Union City — and expanding the non-profit’s home-build portfolio.

Increasing home ownership would not only mean more construction but the preservation of existing homes, she said.

“Many people are learning that a big part of our impact every year is in providing critical home repairs for residents in the neighborhoods where we build so that they could continue to age in place and afford the home they already have invested in for so long,” Merrick said.

Ferguson will stay at the organization until the end of May to help with the transition. He announced his resignation in early May, according to the nonprofit.

On Thursday, Atlanta Housing announced it had enlisted Ferguson as it’s new chief housing and real estate officer, effective on June 3.

Updated on May 17, 2024 with the news that Ferguson had joined Atlanta Housing.