"Building decent houses in partnership with God's people in need"
Millard Fuller, on the right, speaks at a Greene County Habitat event.
Millard Fuller founded Habitat for Humanity International. He travels and speaks worldwide, and has received international recognition for his work in advocating decent, affordable housing for all in the US, Asia and other parts of the world.
A graduate of Auburn University in Alabama and the University of Alabama Law School, he and a college friend began a marketing firm while still in school. Fuller's business expertise and entrepreneurial drive made him a millionaire at age 29. But as the business prospered, his health, integrity and marriage suffered.
These crises prompted Fuller to re-evaluate his values and direction. His soul-searching led to reconciliation with his wife, Linda, and to a renewal of his Christian commitment.
The Fullers decided to sell their possessions to begin a poverty housing initiative that would eventually become Habitat for Humanity International. Their work started in a racial-reconciliation community located near Americus, Georgia. They built modest houses on a no-profit, no-interest basis, thus making homes affordable to families with low incomes. Important Habitat concepts were pioneered: sweat equity, where each family was expected to invest their own labor into the building of their home and the homes of other families; the revolving fund, where house loan re-payments were used to finance the building of even more homes.
The model was refined in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) where the Fullers and their four children worked in the early 1970s.
Fuller received the Medal of Freedom from former US President Clinton in September 1996, and was named the 1995 Builder of the Year by Professional Builder magazine. He and his wife were awarded the 1994 Harry S. Truman Public Service Award, and he also has received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award. He continues to receive many honorary doctorates and achievement awards for his outstanding leadership and contributions toward meeting the goal of eliminating poverty housing worldwide. The latest was in December 2003, when Non-Profit Times of the US named him its "Executive of the Year".
In January 2004, Fuller participated in the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he spoke on a panel entitled “Setting the 2004 Agenda: Human Security." He was a plenary speaker at the UN Conference on Shelter (“Habitat Two”) in 1996.
Fuller is author of numerous books about the work of Habitat for Humanity.
He left the organization in 2005.
"I see life as both a gift and as a responsibility. My responsibility is to use what God has given me to help his people in need."
- Millard Fuller, Founder, Habitat for Humanity International