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Building homes for Romanian orphans to mark Whirlpool Corporation’s centennial

May 12, 2011

Beius/Bratislava (May 13, 2011) – To mark the 100th anniversary of Whirlpool Corporation, Whirlpool Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) is expanding its charitable support of Habitat for Humanity, an international nonprofit fighting poverty housing and homelessness. On Friday, Whirlpool employees from 14 countries across Europe are gathering for two days in Oradea, Romania, to build a house for orphans.

During the years of communism in Romania, orphans grew in number and orphanages became overcrowded after the 1966 decree which made abortions illegal. Children in the state-run institutions lived a difficult life, got poor nutrition, inadequate clothing and bad education. Now, Habitat is working to improve their living conditions. A project has been developed in partnership with Caminul Felix, an association that accepts orphans and integrates them into families that already have children. These children are raised in locations owned by the association where they get support until the age of 18.

“Working with Habitat is the perfect way to give back. As part of the 100th anniversary of Whirlpool Corporation, we are celebrating by increasing our support. Whirlpool is not only expanding its help to Africa and the Middle East this year, but sending more volunteers than ever before in any given year”, says Bracken Darrell, President of Whirlpool EMEA.

The building project in Romania is the first in a series of volunteer builds. To celebrate the 100th anniversary, 100 Whirlpool employees will participate representing the largest team the company has ever mobilized in Europe, Middle East and Africa. “Our employees will be building homes alongside the future homeowners – to celebrate, support and give back to the community within which we work”, says Darrell.

“Whirlpool Corporation and its employees share with Habitat the passionate desire to improve the lives of families, and we are exceedingly grateful for their partnership. This is in the spirit of Habitat’s mission to have a world where everyone has a simple and decent place to live”, says Don Haszczyn, area vice-president for Habitat for Humanity in Europe and Central Asia.

In Oradea, the Whirlpool team will build a house for a family of 11, two parents who are raising seven orphans and two of their own children. A few years ago the family had 20 members but many of the orphans have since come of age and moved out to begin independent life, so the family will move into a smaller house. The bigger dwelling they currently occupy will be transferred to another couple who are raising orphans and abandoned children too.

Further to the celebrations and extended support of Habitat’s charitable activities, Whirlpool EMEA will unveil a web portal www.buildwithme.org where its employees can build virtual houses and in this way support the real house building in 10 countries around the globe. All the funds raised will be used to finance Habitat home constructions and repairs. The portal runs a live broadcast of the building activities and the progress made by the Whirlpool team in Oradea.

The project in Oradea aims to build homes for the young people raised by foster parents. Over five years, Habitat in Beius plans to build 30 such dwellings. To date, five houses have been built. Foster families and orphans are taking an active part in the project by contributing 800 hours of work to ensure the homes are built.

About Caminul Felix Foundation
Caminul Felix is an independent, Christian organization with ties in Australia, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States. The organization relies heavily on private and corporate financial support and sustains an extensive network of international volunteers. Caminul Felix has two villages in Oradea, in the western part of Romania, where 16 families are caring for over 200 children who had been abandoned and neglected. To find out more, go to www.caminulfelix.ro

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built and renovated more than 400,000 homes worldwide. In Europe and Central Asia, Habitat works in 22 countries with partners, donors and volunteers from the region. For more information, or to donate or volunteer, visit www.habitateurope.org

About Whirlpool Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA)
With around 12,000 employees, a sales presence in over 30 European countries and manufacturing sites in seven countries, Whirlpool EMEA is a wholly owned subsidiary of Whirlpool Corporation. The world’s leading manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances, Whirlpool Corporation had annual sales in 2010 of $18.4 billion, 71,000 employees, and 67 manufacturing and technology research centers around the world. The company markets Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Amana, Brastemp, Bauknecht and other major brand names to consumers in nearly every country around the world. Whirlpool’s European Operations’ Center is located in Comerio (VA), Italy. For further information on the company, please visit the Web Site www.whirlpoolcorp.com

About Habitat Whirlpool relationship
Whirlpool is one of the largest global partners of Habitat for Humanity International. It has supported the charity since 1999. Whirlpool has supported the charity in many different ways from product donations through to Whirlpool employees actively helping in building projects. Its aggregate contributions have exceeded $73 million. Worldwide, Whirlpool Corporation has made more than 85,000 appliances available to Habitat for Humanity affiliates and families. More than 6,000 Whirlpool employees have helped to build Habitat homes in Whirlpool locations and further Habitat houses in North America, Europe and South Africa.