THE FULLER CENTER FOR HOUSING
Millard and Linda Fuller
THE VISION CONTINUES
Millard Fuller was the founder and former president of Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI). His 29-year leadership, beginning in 1976, forged Habitat into a worldwide Christian housing ministry, building 200,000 homes with projects in 100 countries.
He passed away on Feb. 3, 2009, at the age of 74. He was laid to rest at Koinonia Farm in Americus, Ga., the birthplace of Habitat and The Fuller Center, and the home of his former mentor, Clarence Jordan.
Fuller spent decades traveling and speaking worldwide, and earned international recognition for his work advocating decent, affordable housing for all. In September 1996, former President Bill Clinton awarded Fuller the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
Clinton said, “Millard Fuller has done as much to make the dream of homeownership a reality in our country and throughout the world as any living person.” Jack Kemp, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and former HFHI board member agreed, adding, “When I’m asked about housing success stories from our inner cities, the first group that comes to mind is Habitat for Humanity.”
Shortly after Fuller’s death, Former President Jimmy Carter issued a statement in which he called Fuller “one of the most extraordinary people I have ever known.
“He used his remarkable gifts as an entrepreneur for the benefit of millions of needy people around the world by providing them with decent housing,” Carter said in the statement. “As the founder of Habitat for Humanity and later the Fuller Center, he was an inspiration to me, other members of our family and an untold number of volunteers who worked side-by-side under his leadership.”
And in June 2009, both branches of the United States Congress, the House of Representatives and the Senate, passed resolutions to honor Fuller.
The House of Representatives resolution states (in part):
“Celebrating the life of Millard Fuller, a life which provides all the evidence one needs to believe in the power of the human spirit to inspire hope and lift the burdens of poverty and despair from the shoulders of one’s fellow man.”
We at the Fuller Center for Housing believe that: We are part of a God movement, and movements don’t just stop. We have been called to this housing ministry; we didn’t just stumble into it. We are unashamedly Christian, and enthusiastically ecumenical. We aren’t a church but we are a servant of the Church. We are faith driven, knowing that after we’ve done all we can do the Lord will help finish the job — something that requires us to stretch beyond our rational reach. We are a grass-roots ministry, recognizing that the real work happens on the ground in communities around the world through our covenant partners, so a large, overseeing bureaucracy isn’t needed. We try to follow the teachings of the Bible and believe that it says that we shouldn’t charge interest of the poor, so we don’t. Government has a role in our work in helping set the stage, but that we shouldn’t look to it as a means to fund the building of the home.
The Fuller Center for Housing is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that seeks to eradicate poverty housing by promoting partnerships with individuals and community groups to build and rehabilitate homes for people in need.
The United Nations estimates that more than one billion people around the world live in substandard housing — including millions in the United States. The Fuller Center for Housing, faith-driven, and Christ-centered, promotes collaborative and innovative partnerships with individuals and organizations in an unrelenting quest to provide adequate shelter for all people in need worldwide.
The Fuller Center creates partnerships within communities that bring together churches, schools, businesses and civic organizations to build decent, affordable homes in partnership with people who are unable to secure adequate housing by conventional means.
The Fuller Center works in collaboration with our covenant partners, other service-oriented organizations and countless volunteers to build and repair homes. All homeowners work hand-in-hand with volunteers to build their own homes, which are then sold to them on terms they can afford, based on the Biblical idea of no-profit, no-interest loans.
With some smaller renovation projects, an innovative payment program called The Greater Blessing Program is utilized, whereby recipients promise to repay the loan amount without signing an actual mortgage agreement. They decide the monthly amount they can afford to repay and the period of time that it will take to repay the cost of repairs. There is no legal obligation to repay these loans. It is a leap of faith in the basic goodness of humankind and is proving to be very successful.
We are committed to good stewardship and work hard to keep our administrative costs low and to select our recipient families wisely. This helps to ensure that the vast majority of your tax-deductible gifts go toward building and repairing homes for those in need.
Since launching in 2005, The Fuller Center has spanned the globe and now has covenant partners in more than 70 U.S. communities and 20 countries. Growth continues at a rapid pace as groups from new communities contact us every week about forming partnerships.
The Fuller Center goes where it is asked to help. We partner with local community leaders and organizations because they know who has the greatest needs in their area. We do not “plant” partners or parachute into communities on our own.
Covenant partners are local organizations that sign an agreement with The Fuller Center to work in partnership to build or renovate houses for families in need in a particular area. While a connection with The Fuller Center is of great help to local organizations in terms of expertise, information sharing, training, funding, and name recognition, the real work takes place at the local level where funds are raised, volunteers are mobilized, families are selected and nurtured and houses are built or rehabilitated.
All decisions about family selection are managed by the board of directors of each local covenant partner. Income requirements vary from community to community. However, there are three basic criteria that everyone uses: applicant need (can’t qualify for conventional loans), applicant willingness to partner (“sweat equity” volunteer hours required) and applicant ability to pay the mortgage on their new home or ReNew project or ability to donate through their Greater Blessing project.
Yes. The Fuller Center is an ecumenical Christian organization that bases its work on what Fuller Center founder Millard Fuller called, “The Economics of Jesus” and “The Theology of the Hammer.” We work in partnership with people around the world, of all faiths and backgrounds, to build God’s Kingdom on earth by improving and transforming lives.
No. We welcome all volunteers who share our basic belief in giving dignity to all by helping them own a home. We believe Jesus would not want us to place religious requirements on beneficiaries, so we don’t. For example, many of our partner families in Nepal are Hindus, and we work with Buddhists in Sri Lanka and Muslims in Africa.
Knowing that God is love, and valuing the worth of every human being, The Fuller Center for Housing does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation or sexual identity in joyfully welcoming people from all walks of life as volunteers or in selecting beneficiaries for our services.”
After a successful record of 29 years as founder and President of Habitat for Humanity International, the board of directors decided in 2005 that it was time to part ways with its founder and his wife, Linda, due to major differences, primarily about Habitat’s vision and operating philosophy. Millard, along with Linda, created The Fuller Center to continue their grass-roots and Christ-centered mission of eliminating poverty housing around the world.
Through the dedication of thousands of committed people around the world, Habitat for Humanity sheltered more than a million people in need during Millard’s time as its leader. Yet, throughout the world, more than 1 billion people continue to live in poverty housing, and 100 million are homeless. Millard’s lifelong mission was to eliminate this shameful situation and he found great joy in his work. His goal was to work as hard as he could for as long as he could. And he did just that, working up until the very last moment before God called him home on Feb. 3, 2009. He died unexpectedly of an aortic aneurysm one month after his 74th birthday.
There are several ways to become involved. As a tightly-run, cost-conscious organization, we are always in need of people’s time, talents and treasures. Just click on the “Get Involved” button to the right to learn about more unique ways to help this ministry serve others. We have listed just a few of your options below:
1. Volunteer: Individuals committed to building homes can join one of The Fuller Center’s upcoming builds taking place in various parts of the country. Find a covenant partner in your area and contact them about ongoing and upcoming projects. No experience is necessary.
2. Donate: We welcome all donations to fund our programs. Tax-deductible contributions can be mailed to: The Fuller Center for Housing, P.O. Box 523, Americus, GA 31709. You may also make a donation online. In-kind donations of food for volunteers, building materials and services are also greatly appreciated.
3. Share the message: Tell your family, friends, and colleagues about The Fuller Center and its work. Create a fundraising page. Direct people to The Fuller Center’s Web site. Put a bumper sticker on your car or wear a Fuller Center T-shirt. Ask for brochures to pass out at your office or church.
4. Start a Partner: Prayerfully consider starting a Fuller Center covenant partnership or campus program in your community. For more information, contact our Director of U.S. Covenant Partner Development, Stacey Odom-Driggers at sdriggers @fullercenter.org or give her a call at (229)-924-2900.
Locations UNITED STATES
(* denotes U.S. Builders host site)
Chattahoochee Valley *
North Central Arkansas
Moffat County (Craig)
Prince George’s County-Brentwood
Eastside Waxahachie (Dallas area)
Hunt County, Greenville