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Independence, HFHI Announce Historic Partnership

Brooklyn-based community bank foundation commits $5 million to affordable housing



New York City, New York - July 15, 1999 - Millard Fuller, Founder and President of Habitat for Humanity International, will attend the announcement in Brooklyn of a landmark agreement between Independence Community Foundation (ICF) and Habitat for Humanity - New York City on Tuesday, July 20, 1999. Independence Community Bank President Charles J. Hamm will unveil a $5 million challenge grant, from the Independence Community Foundation to Habitat’s New York City affiliate, at a ceremony scheduled for 10:00 AM in the bank’s branch office located at 130 Court Street in Brooklyn.

The grant is designed to stimulate public and private financial support for Habitat-NYC’s “Building on Faith Campaign 2000.” The campaign, launched earlier this summer with a multi-faith Builder’s March on Fifth Avenue, has successfully united a diverse array of faith communities and hopes to raise a total of $20 million in support of affordable housing. The bedrock of the effort is an unprecedented coalition of leaders from NYC’s Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities that has already pledged the first million dollars.

Based in part on this unique partnership, the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) and the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) have both awarded Habitat-NYC separate grants of $416,000 and $400,000 respectively. The New York City Department of Housing, Preservation and Development (HPD) has pledged to deliver the land required for the construction of new homes and several properties in need of renovation. The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC) will provide administrative services for the financing program.

“Independence Community Bank and the Independence Community Foundation are proud to be part of this extraordinary partnership between the private and public sectors and the faith community,” said Charles Hamm. “The American spirit of independence and the dream of home ownership inspire this effort. Together we will make it happen!”

Also scheduled to attend the Brooklyn event are: FHLB President Alfred A. DelliBovi, a representative from the office of New York Governor George E. Pataki, DHCR Commissioner Joseph B. Lynch, New York City Housing Commissioner Richard T. Roberts and CPC President Michael D. Lappin.

“The Home Loan Bank of New York is delighted to help fund this innovative partnership between Habitat and Independence Community Foundation,” said Alfred A. DelliBovi. “This unique alliance means that scores of new homes will be made available to deserving families and help them achieve the American dream. It is a great example of what can be accomplished when a non-profit with vision and a community bank with commitment join forces.”

Governor George E. Pataki said, “New York has a strong record of encouraging public/private partnerships to help more New Yorkers experience the American dream of owning their own home. The pride, responsibility and sense of community that comes with homeownership cannot be overvalued. We would not have achieved such success without the contributions of outstanding organizations like Habitat for Humanity. I look forward to next fall when Habitat for Humanity builds its 100,000th home right here in New York.”

“I am delighted to join Habitat for Humanity to produce affordable housing for those who are committed to owning their first home,” said Joseph B. Lynch. “Affordable housing is a goal worth pursuing and Habitat for Humanity’s dedication to this goal has led us to a partnership that supports community efforts to preserve and expand affordable housing, home ownership and economic opportunities. Thanks to the assistance of Governor Pataki and the $400,000 New York State HOME Award, this current project is well on its way to success.”

“Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and HPD are pleased to provide City-owned properties to create homeownership opportunities for New Yorkers,” said Richard T. Roberts. “Homeownership has proven to be an effective community revitalization strategy in neighborhoods all across New York City.”

The $5 million keystone commitment from ICF includes $4 million in grants to be distributed on a matching basis of $20,000 per dwelling unit. The remaining $1 million will go toward the establishment of a revolving construction fund to be supplemented by other banks, foundations and faith institutions. At the present time, a total of 52 homes are planned in 22 different sites spanning Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, with a goal of completing 200 homes over four years.

Established by the Independence Community Bank after it went public in 1998, the ICF is the largest non-Manhattan based foundation in the New York metropolitan area. The partnership with Habitat is its largest effort in broad-based community development, according to Marilyn Gelber, ICF Executive Director.

“Independence Community Bank created an extraordinary endowment for our communities when it established the ICF,” she said. “The ICF has begun to re invest this endowment back into our communities through this major challenge grant to Habitat.”

A portion of the funds raised by the Building on Faith Campaign will be used in the completion of 20 homes during the Jimmy Carter Work Project 2000. The annual weeklong Habitat event, led by the former US President and his wife Rosalynn, returns to NYC in September of 2000 and will include the construction in Harlem of Habitat International’s 100,000th house.

“Habitat-NYC is tremendously grateful to all these federal, state and city organizations, and particularly to the ICF for its leadership and generosity,” according to the group’s Executive Director, Roland Lewis.

Habitat for Humanity - NYC is an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian organization dedicated to eliminating poverty housing worldwide. Founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller, Habitat for Humanity has built more than 70,000 houses, providing shelter for more than 350,000 people worldwide. It has affiliates in every state of the United States and in 62 other countries around the world.