Thank You Mary Kay!

Posted December 22nd, 2020 by Candace Johnson









Watch a special tribute video below! Also, please be sure to leave Mary Kay your well wishes in the “Leave a Reply” section below.

After 23 years of dedicated service, President and CEO Mary Kay O’Rourke is retiring from HabiJax. We are so sad to see her go, however we wish her all the best on this next chapter! Below, you can see a bit about Mary Kay’s amazing history with HabiJax as well as a special tribute video saluting her for her years of service.

Mary Kay joined HabiJax in 1997 as the family selection coordinator, responsible for approving qualified families for homeownership.  After several promotions, the board of directors appointed her as Interim CEO in August 2004 and named her President & CEO in May 2005.

Among a few of the highlights of HabiJax work during O’Rourke’s tenure:

  • Homeownership opportunities provided for 2,050 local families and over 850 families globally
  • Opened two ReStores (home improvement discount stores) to diversify revenue through an earned income model
  • Committed its experience, housing products and services to revitalizing the historic neighborhood of New Town. Through a capital campaign, over $16 million has been invested in more than 400 new homes and almost 200 rehabilitation projects in New Town.
  • Partnered with the New Town Success Zone in a collaborative approach to community building and economic development
  • Developed the first Habitat townhome community in Jacksonville
  • Initiated a private, interest bearing mortgage funding option to complement the traditional no interest model
  • Honored by the Urban Land Institute of North Florida with an Award for Excellence for its contributions to the New Town Success Zone in 2014 and as an Organization of Influence in 2019

“We thank Mary Kay for her dedication, passion and the vision she has provided to the organization for so many years. We look forward to following her retirement story and are hopeful and excited for the next chapter of HabiJax.” said J. Malcolm Jones III, HabiJax Board Chairman.



Mary Kay worked tirelessly over the last 23 years to grow our mission of building homes, communities and hope. If you’d like to donate to help continue that growth, please click HERE.


11 responses to “Thank You Mary Kay!”

  1. Candace Johnson says:

    Congratulations, Mary Kay! It’s been wonderful getting to know you over the past few years. I wish you the best in your retirement! – Candace

  2. Chris says:

    Thank you Mary Kay!

  3. Howard Sheffield says:

    Thank you Mary Kay! You have made Habijax and the City of Jacksonville a much better place because of your outstanding leadership. You truly represent God’s love in action.
    We will miss you. Enjoy your retirement!

  4. Catherine Freeman says:

    What an incredible legacy! Mary Kay, thank you for everything you’ve done for HabiJax, this city, and its families. Wishing you the very best!!

  5. Mary Kay O'Rourke says:

    Wow, what a wonderful video! Thank you for your kind words and for all the time and effort it took to make this video.
    You have touched my heart. I will cherish all the memories and I will miss you dearly. Mary Kay

  6. Doug Ridgway says:


  7. Heather Fincher says:

    Congratulations, Mary Kay! I have so enjoyed getting to know you over the years and admire your amazing contribution to HabiJax and the community. Thank you for your many years of tireless service and good luck with retirement. I am here if you ever need me!

  8. Tangela Evans says:

    Thank you Mary Kay! Congratulations on your retirement. You have done an awesome job at HabiJax and for the Community that we serve. Those of us that are left behind will work hard to make you proud of HabiJax always. May God continue to richly bless and keep you safe always.

  9. Megt Folds says:

    Mary Kay,
    Thank you for all you have done for oUr community! I thoroughly enjoyed the video tribute that highlighted your leadership. What a great example of leading with integrity, dedication and compassion!

    I look forward to seeing you at Leadership Jacksonville and Jacksonville Women’s Network events. Until then, have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New year.

  10. Gloria Daniels says:

    Thank you Mary Kay for everything you brought to the Habijax families you are amazing
    and the pass 26 years of homeownership has been awesome.
    Your 100th homeowner

  11. Gene and Suzzy Pruett says:

    We love and appreciate you, Mary Kay!
    You are and inspiration and an encouragement to so many!
    We have been honored and blessed to get to know you and call you friend!
    Perhaps now that you are retired, you will find your way to Wyoming to see us!
    You and yours are always welcome in our home!
    Gene and Suzzy