Building Hope and Supporting Leaders of the Future

Filed in Councils & Committees, Leadership by on September 21, 2017 0 Comments

Hope Bettilyon, 1955 President, NAHB Women’s Auxiliary

We continue to celebrate NAHB’s Professional Women in Building (PWB) Week with a special Throwback Thursday edition, to learn about PWB’s first president, Hope Bettilyon, and the scholarship named in her honor.

In 1949, Bettilyon, the wife of a Salt Lake City home builder, invited local women to attend a luncheon at the convention of the Utah Home Builders. When 89 women responded, they organized the Utah Home Builders Auxiliary.

When the news spread, more auxiliary chapters were organized and by the fall of 1952, the bylaws and structure of a unified national organization had been created.

Bettilyon and Mrs. Mel Kinney of Dayton, Ohio, who was president of a sister group, lobbied NAHB to amend its bylaws to recognize a national auxiliary. While they were initially rejected, the women were undeterred and continued to expand the local auxiliaries.

Finally, on Jan. 17, 1955, the NAHB Women’s Auxiliary, the first incarnation of the PWB Council, received its charter at the opening session of NAHB’s annual convention in Chicago.

Bettilyon was elected as the auxiliary’s first president and created an annual scholarship fund the same year. Originally, the funds were awarded to a college designated by the auxiliary president.

As the fund has grown over the years, so has its distribution. Today, the PWB’s Building Hope Scholarships are awarded annually to state and local PWB chapters that participate in the council’s annual award programs and membership competitions.

Winning councils use these scholarships to support the education needs of current and future members of the industry — allocating money to select scholarship recipients, schools and training programs.

In the past four years, the NAHB PWB has awarded more than $35,300 to local high school and college students pursuing education and careers within the building industry.

The Building Hope Scholarship Fund is supported by contributions from PWB members and corporate sponsors. Councils and individuals can apply for awards ithat recognize and honor excellence in areas such as community service programs, membership recruitment and retention projects, legislative participation, and member benefits and services.

More than 60 years later, the scholarship fund is a tribute to the leadership and perseverance of Bettilyon, who believed women deserved a seat at the table, on the construction site and in the Federation’s leadership.

Learn more about the Building Hope Scholarship Fund and other programs at

Remember, each day this week, NAHB BuilderBooks is giving away one copy of Living Green Effortlessly: Simple Choices for a Better Home. This invaluable resource is written by PWB member Marla Esser Cloos, who is donating proceeds of her book to benefit the NAHB PWB Building Hope Scholarship FundSimply complete the entry form for an opportunity to win.  You only need to enter once to qualify.

In addition to recognizing the role of women in the industry this week, NAHB is also honoring the contributions of the Federation’s Associate members throughout September during Associate Member Appreciation Month. Check out some of the national Associate leaders.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *