Perspectives from around Habitat's world
Habitat receives $100 million commitment
Board chair Ron Terwilliger makes legacy gift
J. Ronald Terwilliger, chair of Habitat for Humanity International’s board of directors, has made a $100 million legacy commitment to the organization — the largest donation from an individual in Habitat’s history.
Within five years of the funds being transferred by Terwilliger’s estate, 70 percent of the legacy commitment will be used by Habitat for housing microfinance so that families in countries around the world can improve their living conditions. The remaining 30 percent will be used for the J. Ronald Terwilliger Leveraged Impact Fund, an endowment that will make annual distributions to help support Habitat’s affordable housing efforts.
Author takes on the story of Habitat
By Shala Carlson
On Oct. 13, major bookstore shelves will bring the idea of Habitat to tomorrow’s volunteers.
Written by author David Rubel, If I Had a Hammer: Building Homes and Hope With Habitat for Humanity was written with middle schoolers in mind. Former President Jimmy Carter provided a foreword for the book, which will be published by Candlewick Press.
Rubel’s previous titles include the Scholastic Encyclopedia of the Presidents and Their Times, now in its fifth edition, and the Scholastic Atlas of the United States, now in its third. The Columbia-educated, New York-based author also has written history titles for adults, including The Coming Free, a history of the civil rights movement.
Rubel spoke with Habitat World during a research trip to Americus, Ga.
Q: How did this Habitat book project come together?
What finally hit was the idea of doing a book for middle schoolers, 9- to 12-year-olds. Doing a book about Habitat — particularly by telling the personal stories of people who have been involved with the organization, especially on the Carter Work Projects — could be a great way of explaining Habitat’s mission to kids and engaging them.
Q: Once you’ve identified the kind of book and the target demographic, what is your approach?
So I began reading a lot of materials that Habitat itself publishes and began to see certain themes come to light. It became immediately obvious that the overall theme of the book would be that you get more than you give. That comes through so clearly in whatever aspects of Habitat one looks into.
But then, I have to develop a story line that would be interesting to 10-year-olds. And so what I realized was the book had to have two aspects. One was the philosophical side, the inspirational, instructional side. And it also has to have the construction side because kids really like building sites, they like big yellow things that dig in the dirt, they like hammers, nails, all those sorts of things.
Q: What’s your vision for this book?
And he or she would say, “You know, when I was 10 years old, I read this book …”For multimedia updates and President Carter’s comments on the book, visit www.habitat.org/partnerships/media_entertainment/hammer.aspx
Habitat welcomes national service expansion
In April, Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford joined representatives from Voices for National Service and members of the ServiceNation Organizing Committee as President Barack Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act into law. The signing took place at the SEED School of Washington with Sen. Kennedy, former President Bill Clinton, former first lady Rosalynn Carter and Vice President Joe Biden in attendance.
Habitat supported this legislation because it will allow for additional national service members, like AmeriCorps members, to serve with Habitat affiliates across the country, clearing the way for even more Americans to serve their communities.
“An expansion of national service will enhance Habitat’s capacity to serve more families, and it also provides the benefit of putting more national service members to work in helping to improve communities,” says Reckford. “We will be part of the effort to connect people together who care about helping low-income families achieve affordable housing and improving communities in need of revitalization efforts.”
National service members mobilize, lead, train and support volunteers. By leading construction crews, providing family support services and training others in construction skills, Habitat’s national service members help increase affordable homeownership opportunities in partnership with low-income families.
As a member of the ServiceNation Organizing Committee, Habitat was at the forefront of the initiative to see this legislation pass. Through online advocacy efforts, nearly 200,000 Habitat supporters learned about the Serve America Act and many took action by contacting their members of Congress.
The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which updates and strengthens national service programs, passed the U.S. House of Representatives one month after President Barack Obama called for passage of national service legislation in his joint address to Congress.
Mark Your Calendar
On World Habitat Day, Oct. 5, Habitat for Humanity joins the United Nations and organizations around the world in raising awareness of the global housing crisis and in working together to ensure adequate housing for all. Visit www.habitat.org/gov/take_action/world_habitat_day.aspx to learn more.
On Oct. 13, in St. Paul, Minn., Little House on the Prairie: The Musical begins its 8-month national tour and partnership with Habitat for Humanity. For a complete tour schedule and more details, visit www.habitat.org and don’t miss the December Habitat World.
Habitat on the Hill
More than 180 supporters attended June’s Habitat on the Hill advocacy and legislative conference in Washington, D.C. Habitat affiliate staff and volunteers came from 42 states to learn how to effectively engage their local, state and federal governments.
While at the conference, advocates made visits to more than 475 congressional offices to speak about issues critical to Habitat’s ability to serve more families. Here, Habitat CEO Jonathan Reckford and congressional relations director Christopher Ptomey head off to a day of meetings.
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