Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What is ACT, SPEAK, BUILD Week?

I will let our Youth United Steering Committee explain it:

Act Speak Build Week 2009 Promo from Teresa Whitmore on Vimeo.

Interested in signing up your school or group? Contact us at 310-323-4663 or by email!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Remembering Millard Fuller

By Erin Rank, President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles and Julie Spezia Executive Director of Housing California and Habitat for Humanity local and global volunteer

Millard Fuller was a humble guy for someone who started a worldwide phenomenon called Habitat for Humanity. He used to tell a funny personal story about standing in line at the airline ticket counter when a colleague introduced him to someone as the founder of Habitat for Humanity and after a curious pause the man replied, “You’re not Jimmy Carter.”

President and Mrs. Carter certainly helped to raise Habitat for Humanity’s profile, but the dynamic Fuller had already laid the groundwork for an organization that has done more to engage civilization around the creation of affordable homes than any other non-profit in the world.

We remember him and hope you’ll take a moment to appreciate this humble man with a God sized vision.

Millard Fuller was a deeply committed Christian who preached the “Theology of the Hammer,” a belief that people from all walks of life can join together around the notion that every person deserves a simple, decent place to live. Fuller encouraged everyone to pick up a hammer and participate as part of the solution and Habitat for Humanity build sites have become a unique place where priests, imams and rabbis, CEO’s and students, the wealthy and people with disabilities are seen building side-by-side as part of the affordable housing solution.

After a brief flirtation with capitalism and financial success that left a self-admitted void in his soul, Millard and his wife Linda became a part of the Koinonia Community in Americus, Georgia. With his wife Linda and Koinonia founder Clarence Jordan, he developed the concept of building no-interest housing for families of limited means. The first homes were built in Africa. From the beginning homeowners were required to participate by doing “sweat equity” and the whole community was asked to help out with support.

Since its founding in 1976, Habitat for Humanity International has grown to a worldwide network that has provided homes to more than 1.5 million people. Millard advocated building simple, decent homes without “too many frills” in order to build as many homes as possible with the resources donated to the organization. Fuller left Habitat for Humanity in 2005 after philosophical difference with the Board, but he did not slow down. He immediately created the Fuller Center for Housing which carries out a similar ministry. Fuller continue to speak out on behalf of the poor until his last days.

He and his wife Linda were tireless in traveling the globe to promote Habitat for Humanity and the need for everyone to have a decent place to live. As his wife Linda said in a recent press release, instead of mourning “he would be more interested in having people put on a tool belt and build a house for people in need.”

Even Millard’s instructions for his burial mirrored his theology. He was buried the day after his death at Koinonia Farms next to his spiritual mentor Clarence Jordan in a simple pine box with no headstone in accordance with his wishes.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

In Loving Memory: Millard Fuller, Founder of Habitat for Humanity

Throughout my work with Habitat for Humanity, it has been a pleasure to get to know to Millard and his God-sized vision. It was Millard who brought us into partnership with Randy Wallace and the seeds of Hollywood for Habitat for Humanity were born. Millard and Linda's legacy includes 200,000 homes in 90 countries. I remember the first Hollywood for Habitat build in 2000 and expressing my doubt about blitz building 20 homes in a week when it had taken our affiliate 10 years to build 19 homes! Millard told me "Erin, if you have faith God will make it happen! I have seen it happen around the globe and it will happen here too." And he was right.

The most important lesson I carry with me today from Millard is that we must always remember this is God's ministry and our vision must be in line with God, not tempered only by what we can accomplish on our own. I was reminded of that lesson in June 2007 when we were a few short months away from the Jimmy Carter Work Project and thousands of volunteers descending on L.A. from around the world. The only problem was that San Pedro was still a dirt lot - and there was a lot of dirt!! I remember feeling nauseous as fear set in for the first time during the project planning. It was then that God reminded me that it was time to lean on him and remember that all things are possible through him! And the rest is history. Through the hard work of our staff and God's divine grace we made it!

There have been villages rebuilt and communities transformed as a result of Millard's vision. I am proud to have called him a friend. Let the heavens rejoice and the earth mournful be, Millard Fuller has risen to his eternal glory!

- Erin Rank, president/CEO

"I see life as both a gift and a responsibility. My responsibility is to use what God has given me to help his people in need.”Millard Fuller (1935-2009)