Habitat For Humanity Japan

What's Habitat  <  Home

What's Habitat

The History

Millard Fuller is the founder of Habitat for Humanity International. His leadership has helped forge Habitat into a worldwide Christian housing ministry.

Fuller founded Habitat with his wife, Linda, in 1976. He travels and speaks worldwide and has earned international recognition for his work advocating decent, affordable housing for all. HFHI is cited as an important leader in the battle against poverty housing in the United States and abroad. In September 1996, former President Bill Clinton awarded Fuller the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation' s highest civilian honor. Clinton says Habitat is ···the most successful continuous community service project in the history of the United States. It has revolutionized the lives of thousands···. Millard Fuller has done as much to make the dream of homeownership a reality in our country and throughout the world as any living person.

Jack Kemp, the former U.S. secretary of Housing and Urban Development and an HFHI board member, agrees, adding, When I'm asked about housing success stories from our inner cities, the first group that comes to mind is Habitat for Humanity.

 

A Life Changed by God

From humble beginnings in Alabama, Millard Fuller rose to become a young, self-made millionaire. A graduate of Auburn University in Auburn, Ala., and the University of Alabama Law School at Tuscaloosa, he and a college friend began a marketing firm while still in school. Fuller's business expertise and entrepreneurial drive made him a millionaire at age 29. But as the business prospered, his health, integrity and marriage suffered.

These crises prompted Fuller to re-evaluate his values and direction. His soul-searching led to reconciliation with his wife and to a renewal of his Christian commitment.

The Fullers then took a drastic step: They decided to sell all of their possessions, give the money to the poor and begin searching for a new focus for their lives. This search led them to Koinonia Farm, a Christian community located near Americus, Ga., where people were looking for practical ways to apply Christ's teachings.

 

The Seed Is Planted

With Koinonia founder Clarence Jordan and a few others, the Fullers initiated several partnership enterprises, including a ministry in housing. They built modest houses on a no-proit, no-interest basis, thus making homes affordable to families with low incomes.

Homeowner families were expected to invest their own labor into the building of their home and the houses of other families. This reduced the cost of the house, increased the pride of ownership and fostered the development of positive relationships. Money for building went into a revolving fund, enabling the building of even more homes.

 

Testing the Model

In 1973, Fuller moved to Africa with his wife and four children to test their housing model. The housing project, which they began in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), was a success in that developing nation.

Fuller became convinced that this model could be expanded and applied all over the world. Upon his return to the United States in 1976, he met with a group of close associates. They decided to create a new independent organization: Habitat for Humanity International. Since then, the Fullers have devoted their energies to the expansion of Habitat for Humanity throughout the world.

 

Applying Jesus' Economics

Habitat's economic philosophy is based upon what Fuller calls the "economics of Jesus." The no-proit, no-interest components of the program come from a passage in the Bible (Exodus 22:25) that says those lending money to the poor should not act as a creditor and charge interest.

Former President Jimmy Carter, an avid carpenter and longtime Habitat supporter, believes that Fuller is using his gifts and acting in faith. "Millard Fuller is an inspiration to all of us who have joined him as volunteers," Carter says. "And his faith and perseverance have made continual progress possible."

 

Public Recognition

In 2002, Fuller and his wife were awarded the Bronze Medallion from the Points of Light Foundation in Washington D.C., honoring their pioneering work in service. Fuller was also awarded the Overcoming Obstacles award from the Community for Education Foundation in New York, N.Y. He was named Georgian of the Year and received the Auburn University Lifetime Achievement Award as well. The Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation honored Fuller with the Frank Annunzio award in 2000, recognizing him as "a living American whose innovative thinking has led to creative work, process, product or other achievement that has made a significant and beneficial impact on society." Fuller has also been named one of the most influential people in homebuilding in the United States in the 20th century by Builder magazine and one of the 20 Georgians Who Most Influenced the 20th Century by the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. He was the recipient of a 1999 Jefferson Award from the American Institute of Public Service for Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged. Professional Builder magazine named Fuller "Builder of the Year" in 1995 and presented him with its first ever Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003. In 1994 he and his wife were awarded the Harry S. Truman Public Service Award. He also received the Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award from both the state of Georgia and the King Center. Fuller has received many achievement awards and more than 40 honorary doctorate degrees for his outstanding leadership toward meeting the goal of eliminating poverty housing worldwide.

 

The History

Linda Fuller is co-founder of Habitat for Humanity International. She joined her husband, Millard, in launching the nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry in 1976, after pioneering a low-cost housing program in rural southwest Georgia (1968-1972) and undertaking three years of similar work in Africa. Her leadership has helped forge Habitat for Humanity into a worldwide housing ministry.

 

Early Years

While Linda was earning her bachelor of science degree in Elementary Education at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Ala., her husband Millard began a marketing firm with a fellow attorney. The business prospered and soon the Fullers were millionaires. But with success and wealth their marriage suffered. This crisis prompted the Fullers to re-evaluate their lives. Their soul-searching led to reconciliation with each other and to a renewal of their Christian commitment.

 

Public Recognition

Linda Fuller is co-founder of Habitat for Humanity International. She joined her husband, Millard, in launching the nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry in 1976, after pioneering a low-cost housing program in rural southwest Georgia (1968-1972) and undertaking three years of similar work in Africa. Her leadership has helped forge Habitat for Humanity into a worldwide housing ministry.

 

Recognition

Linda Fuller's accomplishments and commitments have been widely recognized. She has received seven honorary doctorate degrees and numerous awards, including the prestigious Harry S. Truman Public Service Award and the Mark O. Hatfield Leadership Award from the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (2001). Linda and her husband Millard are also Extra Mile honorees (2002) in the Points of Light Foundation memorial in downtown Washington, D.C.

Linda is currently taking a leading role in planning the Nazareth Village Project, a recreation of a first- century village in Nazareth. The village and museum/study/ visitor center are aimed at helping people understand the teachings and times of Christ.

 

Books Written

In 1990, Linda co-authored "The Excitement Is Building" with her husband, Millard. This book explains the phenomenal growth Habitat for Humanity has experienced. Additionally, she is editor of Habitat's "Partners in the Kitchen" cookbook series. The cookbooks, designed as a fund-raising tool for local Habitat affiliates, have sold more than 100,000 copies. "Down Home Humor," published in 2001, was also edited by Linda and is a collection of short humorous stories submitted by Habitat volunteers, staff and homeowners.

 

Women in Construction

Eight years after a group of women at Habitat's international headquarters launched WATCH (Women Accepting the Challenge of Housing) and completed more than 200 houses, Linda spearheaded the formation of the Women Build department at Habitat for Humanity International. Women Build, like WATCH, seeks to increase the involvement and skill level of women in the construction of Habitat houses. The Women Build department's first major initiative was the highly successful First Ladies Build, in which current and former first ladies, women governors, concerned women and Habitat partner families helped sponsor and organize women to build Habitat houses in or near each of the U.S. state capitals, as well as in a number of other countries.

First Ladies Build challenged every Habitat for Humanity affiliate worldwide to undertake at least one women-built home annually. A second initiative, Women Building a Legacy, challenges women to make a positive impact on the future by providing safe, healthy housing where children can flourish and grow. Spearheaded by women celebrities and U.S. first ladies, Women Building a Legacy resulted in the completion of nearly 100 simple, decent, affordable houses built with families in need.

"Habitat for Humanity's awesome, yet doable, goal of eliminating all substandard housing from the face of the earth must include large numbers of women," Fuller explains. "We cannot sit by and leave men to shoulder this responsibility alone."

 

Partnership to Open Doors

As a strong advocate of mental health, Linda initiated a partnership between Habitat and mental health organizations in 1999. Rosalynn Carter strongly endorses this venture to bring decent, affordable housing to individuals and families with low income in recovery. Carter became honorary chair of a "blue ribbon" steering council to develop and give guidance to what has become the "Mental Health Partnership" program. Through the partnership, consumers of mental health services work with Habitat affiliates to build houses side-by-side with mental health providers, professionals and people representing mental health organizations and agencies.

 

Public Recognition

Linda Fuller is co-founder of Habitat for Humanity International. She joined her husband, Millard, in launching the nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry in 1976, after pioneering a low-cost housing program in rural southwest Georgia (1968-1972) and undertaking three years of similar work in Africa. Her leadership has helped forge Habitat for Humanity into a worldwide housing ministry.

page top

Habitat For Humanity Japan

Privacy & Legal Privacy Policy Site Map

Habitat For Humanity Japan