Millard Fuller – Founder of Habitat for Humanity Dies

Millard Fuller, 74 – the founder of Habitat for Humanity – passed away suddenly early Tuesday morning. 

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 for Housing, 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.”

After Fuller founded Habitat for Humanity it grew into a worldwide volunteer organization that has provided shelter to over 1.5 million people by funding and building low cost, non-profit homes. There are Habitat for Humanity sites in Toronto – condominium townhomes,  just south of King Street in the Corktown neighborhood. After being ousted by the Habitat board of directors over unfounded corporate allegations which were later proven false, Millard Fuller continued the work he had started by starting the Fuller Center for Housing which continues with its goal of eliminating poverty through housing.

The family is planning a memorial service for later in the month.  Linda Fuller, Millard’s wife of 49 years and the co-founder of Habitat and The Fuller Center, said that “great strides have been made toward fulfilling Millard’s vision of eliminating poverty housing around the world, but that there is still tremendous work to be done. Millard would want us to carry on with faith and strength”.

I was fortunate enough to hear Millard speak in 2008 at the Ontario Prayer Breakfast.  He truly was a remarkable man.  He reinforced my view that the root cause of homelessness is the lack of affordable housing.  Please remember Millard’s wife Linda, and his family and staff during this time of sadness and celebration. Contact us at Project417 to find out how you can volunteer in a rebuilding project in New Orleans or Galveston County, Texas.

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From Joe the plumber to Obama the painter – Volunteer!

President-elect Barack Obama urges public service, paints at shelter –
A day away from becoming the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama rolled green paint onto blank walls at an emergency homeless shelter in Washington, the Sasha Bruce House, a shelter for teenagers…On the holiday honouring Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.,  Obama is asking all Americans to mark the civil rights leader’s legacy by making a renewed commitment to public service.

King, who pushed for equality through peaceful resistance, was assassinated in 1968. “Today, we celebrate the life of a preacher who, more than 45 years ago, stood on our national mall in the shadow of Lincoln and shared his dream for our nation. His was a vision that all Americans might share the freedom to make of our lives what we will; that our children might climb higher than we would,” Obama said in his statement. Obama said King’s “was a life lived in loving service to others.As we honor that legacy, it’s not a day just to pause and reflect — it’s a day to act,” Obama said. [end of excerpt]

Obama gets it. He just plain gets it. He understands what is needed, and that it is not “the government” that can do it, but ordinary people, by donating their time and energy – their sweat equity – who can make the biggest difference to a nation. There are shelters near you, right now, that are in need of volunteers. Shelters for teens like the one Obama was helping at, shelters for women and children seeking refuge from abusive relationships, shelters for youth, men and women who find themselves homeless. They all need help. Simple hard work. And not so hard – they need painters, dishwashers,chefs,waiters and waitresses, barbers,manicurists, sweepers and even patient listeners. I’m glad in a way that we are so close to America here in Canada – maybe the call for grassroots public service will bear fruit here at home. We’re so used to calling public service working for the government, when Barack Obama has reminded us that true public service starts with you, the public.

Now that is a New Year’s resolution worth keeping.
[volunteer at project417.com]

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CNN Rips Bush For Katrina Remarks in Farewell Speech

[Source – huffingtonpost.com & CNN] – Campbell Brown of CNN cut through George Bush’s bull Monday night, taking the President to task for his remarks about Hurricane Katrina during his farewell press conference. Brown “was taken aback” with Bush’s statements defending his administration’s Katrina response – “Don’t tell me the federal response was slow,” Bush said, “when there was 30,000 people pulled off roofs right after the storm passed.”

“Many people will disagree over many aspects of the Bush legacy,” Brown said. “But on the government’s handling of Katrina? It is impossible to challenge what so many of us witnessed firsthand, what the entire country witnessed through the images on our television screens day and night. “Mr. President, you cannot pat yourself on the back for that one,” she then said. “We will debate the war in Iraq, debate national security, the economy, and the rest of your legacy. Those debates will continue for years to come. But on how you handled Katrina, there is no debate.”

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