You are here

Habitat Founder Fuller among “Century’s Most Influential Builders”

Fuller Among “Century’s Most Influential Builders”
Habitat for Humanity International President and Founder Honored for Pioneering Affordable Homeownership

Americus, Ga. - January 22, 1999 - Millard Fuller, founder and president of Habitat for Humanity International, has been named one of American housing’s 100 most influential leaders by Builder magazine. The honor, announced at last week’s National Association of Home Builders convention in Dallas, places the organization’s founder in elite company. Former U.S. president and Habitat’s most famous volunteer, Jimmy Carter, is on the list along with former presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover. Builder also named architect Frank Lloyd Wright, industrialist Henry Ford and developer Trammel Crow.

The honor is the latest in a list of achievements Fuller has been awarded in connection with Habitat for Humanity. In 1996, Fuller received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor. And last March, Philadelphia’s Carpenter’s Society, the nation’s oldest construction guild, honored him as “Builder of the Year.”

“It is a humbling experience to receive such awesome recognition,” Fuller said. “I accept the award and recognition on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of people who have contributed to the success of Habitat for Humanity.”

In granting Fuller the honor, Builder wrote, “Fuller brought the concept of private-sector solutions to low-income housing into the mainstream.” When Fuller along with his wife Linda founded Habitat for Humanity in 1976, they began what President Clinton has heralded as the “most successful continuous community service project in the history of the United States.” By making home building a community event, the Fullers have helped make homeownership accessible to people who do not qualify for commercial mortgages. He pioneered the concept of volunteers working side by side with future homeowners to build simple, decent homes, which are sold at no profit with no interest added. Habitat homeowners are not burdened with hefty down payments, but they are required to put in 300-500 total hours of “sweat equity” on their home and other Habitat homes. Mortgage payments enter a revolving Fund for Humanity that helps finance other new houses in the same community.

Though built by volunteers at a low cost, Habitat homes are high-quality. They have weathered the years and the storms those years have brought, gaining widespread recognition for withstanding the gusts and torrents of Hurricanes Andrew, Georges and Mitch.

Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian organization dedicated to eliminating poverty housing worldwide. Habitat brings together people with resources and people in need to build simple, decent, affordable houses. The homes are sold to those in need at no profit, through no-interest loans. Founded in 1976 by Millard Fuller along with his wife Linda, 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 60 other countries around the world.