We are Hopebuilders: John and Nancy Stewart

The word “bystander” does not apply to John and Nancy Stewart of Knoxville, Tennessee, when it comes to causes they care about.

The couple spent their early professional years as legislative aides on Capitol Hill where Nancy worked for Sen. Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day, and John, in his role as legislative director for Sen. Hubert Humphrey, was closely involved with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. “He had a major impact on me,” John says of Humphrey. “He set an example for how you ought to spend your time.”

The Stewarts began financially supporting their local Habitat affiliate decades ago. “Habitat is a program that really makes sense and works,” John says. Heartened by Habitat’s international work, the Stewarts became HopeBuilders in 2001. The decision followed their experience overseas helping launch an Institute of Public Administration in Georgia after the country won its independence from the then Soviet Union.

The Stewarts praise Habitat’s efforts in that region of the world, particularly Armenia. What do they believe Habitat helps provide there? “Real hope in an environment where hope is still a rare commodity.”

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