Jun 15, 2023 12:00 PM
Deirdre Schlunegger, Executive Director WLSSD
Habitat for Humanity in Duluth

Deirdre Schlunegger is Executive Director of Western Lake Superior Habitat for Humanity in Duluth. Habitat serves St. Louis, Lake and Carlton Counties. We serve low-income people with 2 affordable home programs. Habitat builds new homes and adapts older homes so people can continue to live at home, where they want to stay. People live longer, with a higher quality of life, in their own homes.

Deirdre was the CEO of a national non-profit based in Chicago, Illinois. She has led nonprofit organizations for more than 25 years including Children's Hospitals, Easter Seals of Chicago Head Start program, a national Breast Cancer organization, domestic violence, program development in Cabrini Green in the Chicago Housing Arena and others. She served on the Chicago Homeless Committee, Juvenile Justice committee, Mayor Daley's office of Domestic Violence Committee among many other committees and associations. After "retiring" and relocating to Minnesota to be closer to aging parents, she worked for the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation.

Deirdre has worked as a strategic planning and fundraising consultant for  multiple organizations around the country. Deirdre holds a B.S. from Colorado State University, completed an internship at Johns Hopkins Children's Hospital, completed a program in nonprofit management at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Business, and attended courses in management at Wharton School of Business, the University of Chicago, Lewis University and at other university venues. Deirdre is fluent in Spanish and has had the privilege of using this skill in a many professional settings. She has three grown children in Colorado, Oklahoma and Spain and 7 Grandchildren with another on the way.

Prior to Deidre's tenure, Darren Schmidt was Habitat's interim Executive Director for 2022 and now helps lead Habitat as Program Director. He is multi-talented and cares deeply about affordable housing and Habitat's mission. Darren leads "Age in Place" projects to make safety and accessibility adaptations for low-income homeowners, so they can stay in their homes.

Darren also is helping prepare for construction of the new Floodwood home for a mother and two young children. New Habitat homes are built with community volunteers and supporters, 250 hours of sweat equity from the new family homeowners, and an affordable Habitat mortgage.

Currently Habitat is laying groundwork for the new Floodwood home we will build in 2023. Our goal is the provide more homes in 2024, provide more existing home adaptations, and continue to grow.