Americus, Ga. - June, 26 2001 - It began in 1976 as a brilliant idea in the minds of a few passionate Christians in rural Georgia. This year, Habitat for Humanity International and more than 100,000 partner families and millions of volunteers and supporters are celebrating 25 years of victory in their campaign to eliminate poverty housing worldwide.
"To everyone who has ever worked with Habitat for Humanity, prayed for us and supported us, we say, 'thank you, and happy 25th anniversary!'" said Millard Fuller, founder and president of the world's largest nonprofit home-building ministry. "To anyone who has ever considered joining the Habitat family, we say, 'you're most welcome!'"
Habitat for Humanity International has become a global phenomenon, having helped 500,000 people move into simple, decent homes by building 100,000 houses in more than 2,000 communities in more than 70 nations during its first quarter-century. Habitat for Humanity's "hand-up, not handout," grounded in the hard work of the beneficiaries themselves, has permanently transformed the landscape of charity and altruism in North America.
"Habitat is not a giveaway program," Fuller said. "We foster partnerships by sharing labor, sharing expenses and sharing compassion."
Through volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, Habitat builds simple, decent houses with the help of homeowner (partner) families at no profit, financed with affordable, zero-interest loans. The homeowners' monthly mortgage payments go into a revolving Fund for Humanity that is used to build more houses. Habitat for Humanity carries out its mission at the community level through organized groups called "affiliates."
Signature events of Habitat's 25th Anniversary Year include the inaugural World Leaders Build (Aug. 5-11); the Jimmy Carter Work Project 2001 (Aug. 5-11); the global 25th Anniversary Celebration anchored in Indianapolis, Ind. (Sept. 10-16); Women Building a Legacy accelerated build (May 5-12), and many more (see attached calendar of events).
"Our message to the world is this: We have been working hard for 25 years to end the tragedy of poverty housing," Fuller said. "We will carry on this work until it is finished, because it is God's work. It is the work to which we have been called."
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, whose partnership has greatly enhanced Habitat for Humanity's success since he became the organization's most famous volunteer, will join the 25th Anniversary celebration at key events this year.
"I am proud to join in celebrating the Silver Anniversary of the ministry I have admired and supported for so many years," President Carter said. "As long as I'm able, physically and mentally, then I'll be helping with Habitat projects."
Celebrating its 25th Anniversary year, Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. Founded by Millard Fuller, along with his wife, Linda, Habitat for Humanity International and its affiliates in more than 2,000 communities in 79 nations have built and sold more than 100,000 homes to partner families with no-profit, zero-interest mortgages.