Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter and Habitat for Humanity
A tireless champion for social justice
As president of the United States, Jimmy Carter was deeply committed to social justice and basic human rights. He and his wife Rosalynn left the White House in search of meaningful ways to contribute in these areas. In addition to promoting peace and human rights through the nonprofit Carter Center in Atlanta, they lead the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project for Habitat for Humanity International one week each year.
View a photo slideshow of the Carter’s partnership with Habitat for Humanity.
"Habitat has opened up unprecedented opportunities for me to cross the chasm that separates those of us who are free, safe, financially secure, well fed and housed, and influential enough to shape our own destiny from our neighbors who enjoy few, if any, of these advantages of life."
Habitat’s most famous volunteers
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter's involvement with Habitat for Humanity International began in 1984 when the former president led a work group to New York City to help renovate a six-story building with 19 families in need of decent, affordable shelter. That experience planted the seed for the Carter Work Project, which has been an internationally recognized Habitat event ever since.
While the former president is a noted carpenter, Rosalynn has also gained building experience with Habitat.
The former first lady describes her work on a Habitat project in “Everything to Gain,” a book that was co-written by the Carters: "I didn't think I could use a hammer and I didn't want to use a hammer. At first it took me 15 or 20 strokes for each nail, but before the week was over I could drive one in with only four or five strokes!"
In 2008, the event ― formerly the Jimmy Carter Work Project ― was renamed to recognize Mrs. Carter’s years of dedicated service to help raise awareness and provide simple, decent and affordable housing in partnership with families in need.
Worldwide view shared by Carter and Habitat
Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry dedicated to eliminating substandard housing and making decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. Habitat has built or repaired over 600,000 houses and served more than 3 million people worldwide.
Volunteers work with future homeowners to build or renovate houses, which are then sold to partner families at no profit, with no interest charged on the mortgage. The money from the sale of each house goes into a revolving Fund for Humanity, to support future building projects.
"Habitat has successfully removed the stigma of charity by substituting it with a sense of partnership. The people who will live in the homes work side by side with the volunteers, so they feel very much that they are on an equal level."―Jimmy Carter