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Habitat Reaches 100-Country Goal, Names Managing Director

June 18, 2004

AMERICUS, GEORGIA, USA., June 18th 2004 – Habitat for Humanity International’s Board of Directors announced that Habitat is expanding the number of countries and territories it is working in from 92 to 100, and named a managing director to help continue the organization’s remarkable 28-year track record.
 
With the addition of Angola, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Laos, Myanmar, Macedonia, Turkey and Micronesia, Habitat will be working in more than half the countries of the world. Coinciding with this, the board named Paul Leonard, longtime volunteer and former board chair, managing director of the global nonprofit homebuilder.

Leonard, who brings experience in ministry and homebuilding to his new role, plans to “work hand in hand” with Millard Fuller and David Williams to provide day-to-day direction and management. Fuller is Habitat’s founder, CEO and president, and Williams is executive vice president and chief operating officer.

“Now that we are working in more than half the countries in the world, we grow ever closer to our ultimate goal – a world in which everyone has, at minimum, a simple, decent, affordable place to live,” says Leonard, of Davidson, North Carolina, USA, a retired real estate and housing professional, who last held the position of executive vice president of Centex Real Estate Corp.

The board also confirmed that Habitat will build its 200,000th home and house its millionth person in a Habitat home by the end of 2005. The announcements follow a milestone year for Habitat, which built its 50,000th homes in both the United States and Latin America/Caribbean regions.

Other milestones include the “More Than Houses” campaign, which has raised nearly US$400 million of its US$500 million goal to build 100,000 more houses by the end of 2005.  Habitat also strengthened partnerships with corporations and organizations worldwide. Whirlpool, for example, expanded its relationship, sponsoring the Women’s Tennis Association Tour in Europe and the Reba McEntire concert tour to raise awareness about Habitat. Lowe’s is the 2004 underwriter of Habitat’s Women Build program, which encourages and empowers women to get involved in building houses.

Habitat launched partnerships with Clear Channel Entertainment, through the “Raise the Roof!” campaign, and with Christian artists and the Gospel Music Association through “Faith Works!,” which will bring artists into the effort to help erase poverty housing from the planet.

“The view, looking backward and forward, is remarkable,” says Rey Ramsey, chair of Habitat’s international board and CEO of One Economy Corp., Washington, DC. “We have gone places and done things few thought possible, and we are positioned for a dynamic future.”

Leonard says he is dedicated to working with Habitat leadership and building on the strong foundations of the past 28 years.