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NCAA coaches join Habitat for Humanity to build home in Cleveland during NCAA Women’s Final Four

CLEVELAND (March 29, 2007)—In conjunction with the 2007 NCAA Women’s Final Four, members of the women’s basketball community are joining volunteers from the NCAA and Cleveland Area Habitat for Humanity to frame a house in partnership with a local Cleveland family. The build will take place on Saturday, March 31, at Hoop City in the Cleveland Convention Center starting at 1 p.m.

The home will be framed at the build site and then moved to a permanent location in Cleveland. Following the build, the home will remain on display in Hoop City through Monday, April 2.

The Women’s Final Four project is the latest in the NCAA Home Team partnership with Habitat for Humanity International, which began in 2005 after hurricanes struck the Gulf Coast. The NCAA has committed $2.5 million for the three-year partnership. A similar build took place at the Men’s Final Four in Atlanta on Friday.

“Through the NCAA Home Team partnership, the NCAA has committed to aid the rebuilding efforts in the Gulf Coast, as well as helping to meet housing needs in other areas of the country for over a year now,” said Melody Lawrence, NCAA Home Team project coordinator.

Since the partnership began, more than 800 student-athletes and other volunteers have helped build nearly 20 homes in partnership with needy families.

“This is a very exciting partnership for all of us at Cleveland Habitat,” said Jeffrey M. Bowen, executive director for the Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity affiliate. “Because of the NCAA Home Team partnership, we are that much closer to reaching our goal of 15 new homes and 15 partner families in safe, affordable housing in the coming build season.”

More than 60 volunteers will participate in the construction of the house in Cleveland. The NCAA and members of the women’s basketball community—including Division I women’s basketball alumni, conference coordinators of officials and the WBCA—have joined together for the build. Expected to participate alongside student, NCAA and community volunteers are coaches from Auburn University, Boston College, DePaul University, University of Notre Dame and Rutgers University.

“Our women’s basketball community is pleased to have the opportunity to leave a footprint and legacy behind in Cleveland,” said Sue Donohoe, NCAA vice president for Division I women’s basketball. “This is a meaningful project for all those involved and we hope, by our involvement, we will make a difference in the lives of a family in the city that is serving as our host.”

The NCAA and Lowe’s are co-sponsors of the build.

In addition to the Hoop City build, other NCAA Home Team and Habitat projects are under way. A 10-foot-tall, 90-pound guitar is being auctioned to raise money for Habitat for Humanity International’s hurricane-recovery efforts. The guitar is painted with the Women’s Final Four basketball theme and will be moved from site to site in Cleveland during the next month. The auction can be accessed at http://auctions.cstv.com/.

Miniatures of the guitar were also produced, and five will be auctioned as well. One will have all the signatures of the Women’s Final Four coaches; the other four mini guitars will have a single coach’s signature, each different from the other. Bidding on the guitars closes May 1.

Complementing the house build and the guitar auction, a photo exhibit depicting the NCAA Home Team partnership with Habitat will be on display at Quicken Loans Arena. “Opening Doors for Habitat Partner Families” is a series of photographs from past NCAA building projects mounted on free-standing doors.

“By working together, the NCAA and Habitat for Humanity give new meaning to ‘team building,’” said Chris Clarke, senior vice president, Habitat for Humanity International. “The NCAA brings much-needed funding and volunteers to address the needs of families. They also reach out to America’s youth and encourage them to make a difference.”

About the NCAA:
The NCAA is a membership-led nonprofit association of colleges and universities committed to supporting academic and athletic opportunities for more than 380,000 student-athletes at more than 1,000 member colleges and universities. Each year, more than 49,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA Championships in Division I, II and III sports. Visit www.ncaa.org for more details about the association, its goals and members, and corporate partnerships that help support programs for student-athletes.

About Cleveland Area Habitat for Humanity:
Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit Christian housing ministry dedicated to building decent, affordable housing in partnership with those in need in many of Cleveland’s central city neighborhoods. Since 1987, Cleveland Habitat has worked with more than 130 partner families to build homes. For more information, visit www.clevelandhabitat.org.

About Habitat for Humanity International:
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in Americus, Georgia, in 1976, Habitat has built more than 200,000 houses in nearly 100 countries, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1 million people. For more information, visit http://www.habitat.org.