WASHINGTON (Oct. 4, 2010) —Habitat for Humanity International, today on World Habitat Day, honored former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter at Habitat for Humanity’s “Thanks a Million! A salute to the life and service of our most famous volunteers – Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter” Gala in Washington, D.C., at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium.
In a memorable celebration, the Carters’ were honored for their 27 years of dedicated service to Habitat and their lifetime commitment to strengthening democracy and alleviating poverty. Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Frank Blake of The Home Depot, Andrew N. Liveris of Dow, and Larry Stone of Lowe’s Corporation co-chaired the gala. U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan served as the guest speaker.
U.S. Representatives Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas), Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), Brad Miller (D-N.C.), Timothy F. Murphy (R-Pa.), and Michael R. Turner (R-Ohio) all attended in addition to Ambassadors Meera Shankar (India), Han Duk-soo (South Korea), and Said Jawad (Afghanistan). Grammy Award winners, The Blind Boys of Alabama, performed live to conclude the evening’s celebration.
The gala helped to kickoff Habitat for Humanity’s 27th annual Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project, where the Carters are leading 1,000 volunteers in a week of building, renovating and repairing 86 homes in six U.S. cities — Washington, D.C.; Baltimore and Annapolis, Md.; Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.; and Birmingham, Ala. — while actively advocating the need for stable communities.
“It has been an honor for Rosalynn and me to work alongside so many dedicated Habitat volunteers and partner families over the years,” said President Carter. “By joining together, we can build better communities and change lives around the world — including our own.”
President and Mrs. Carter became involved with Habitat for Humanity in 1984 when they led volunteers in New York City to help renovate a six-story building with 19 families in need of decent, affordable housing. Habitat’s Carter Work Project has been an internationally-recognized event ever since. A copy of the tribute video, honoring the Carters and featuring their 27 years of dedication, is available online, http://www.habitat.org/cwp/2010/photos_videos.aspx  .
“As tireless champions for social justice, the Carters have set an example of public service that we should all aspire to,” said Jonathan Reckford, chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity International. “We’re grateful for their volunteerism and servant leadership, which has brought hope and stability to families worldwide.”
This year, Habitat’s Carter Work Project sponsors include Wells Fargo, The Dow Chemical Company, Lowe’s, Whirlpool Corporation, Bank of America, Nissan North America, Promontory Group, Schneider Electric and Valspar. Additionally, the Dow Chemical Company, Lowe’s and The Home Depot Foundation, as well as Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, are serving as co-chairs and Chairman Circle sponsors of the gala tribute to the Carters in Washington, D.C. They are joined by a range of corporate, individual and faith-based supporters.
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 1976, Habitat has built, rehabilitated, repaired or improved more than 350,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1.75 million people. For more information, or to donate or volunteer, visit habitat.org .