All I want is for my mom to have a nice house, boy repeatedly wished; now she will

All I want is for my mom to have a nice house, boy repeatedly wished; now she will

When you’re Santa Claus, you get a lot of predictable Christmas wishes when kids sit upon your lap at the mall — dolls, video games, swing-sets … maybe even a pony. Simple enough. But what do you do when 7-year-old K’Hairi climbs onto your lap?

K’Hairi, who suffers from sickle-cell disease in addition to sleep apnea and asthma, has asked Santa the last few years for something rather difficult to put in his sleigh — even tougher than a pony. He asked for his mother to have a nice house.

Even as his mother Carla Ross, a U.S. Army veteran attempted to rein in those high hopes, K’Hairi insisted that dreams do come true. On Wednesday, in West Point, Georgia, K’Hairi won that argument with no help from Santa but with the help of several partners in the area.

Kim Roberts with K’Hairi

Hundreds of student volunteers from Point University packed downtown West Point, Georgia, to assemble wall packages provided by CrossRoads Missions — walls that will be raised during a two-week Chattahoochee Fuller Center Project build in June. A grant from Home Depot is funding the build that will be led by frequent volunteer construction leaders Tim DuBois and Charlie Thell of Minnesota.

“That K’Hairi has always wished this for his mom just makes it even more wonderful,” said Kim Roberts, Executive Director of the Chattahoochee Fuller Center Project, who said the build will begin on June 12.

“He said,’Mama, I told you dreams, wishes, hopes, and prayers do come true,'” Carla recalled. “K’Hairi doesn’t give up. He’s my inspiration to not quit.”

Point University, a Christian university based in downtown West Point, used the wall assembly day as part of its Impact Day that encourages community service and putting faith into action. On Tuesday, Batson-Cook Construction sent a team of volunteers to do preliminary cutting and set up for the assembly.

Trustees from the local jail will provide most of the labor for the two-week build, an idea promoted by DuBois and Thell, who saw several trustees in action during the fall’s Millard Fuller Legacy Build in nearby Valley, Ala.

“A lot of guys said they learned a lot during the build and it did wonders for their spirits,” Roberts said. “One of them now comes by our store every day. He got a temp job that turned into a full-time job, and now he’s gotten a raise and just purchased a trailer. Everyone enjoyed working with them during the Legacy Build.”

Photo gallery from Wednesday’s Impact Day with Point University:

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Make your charitable gifts go further by supporting grass-roots nonprofits

Make your charitable gifts go further by supporting grass-roots nonprofits

For 40 years, only a handful of familiar names came to mind when I thought of the words charity or nonprofit. Ask me which charities supported housing efforts, veterans causes, animal protection, etc., and I’d reel off the same names most folks would. The bigger, the better I assumed.

Then I applied for a job opening at The Fuller Center for Housing’s headquarters in Americus, Ga. I knew almost nothing about it, other than it was founded by Millard and Linda Fuller after they were ousted from the huge nonprofit that they had grown from a grass-roots mission into a household name. It was only six years old, so perhaps I could be getting in on the ground floor of another small nonprofit bound for corporate glory.

When I arrived for my first interview, however, this headquarters did not look much like the hub of an international operation. It looked like what it was and still is — a quaint building that once was a Chinese restaurant long before supporters John and Sue Wieland donated it to the Fullers’ new ministry.

Soon, though, I would learn from President David Snell what a difference grass-roots meant. It meant maximum impact in the field, not at a luxurious base of operations. My main job, he said, was to tell the story of The Fuller Center because, “When people find out what we’re doing, they tend to like us.”

Philanthropists and corporations could make a much bigger impact on people, families and communities in need if they distributed a large gift among several grass-roots nonprofits instead of making a single large gift to one massive, bureaucratic nonprofit.

I’ve found that to be true many times over. Certainly when I found out what The Fuller Center was all about, I liked it. I’ve met other good folks from grass-roots nonprofits doing similar work in the housing field or in such related areas as homelessness and health issues, and I liked what I’ve seen from them, as well.

Meanwhile, the more I saw from the giant, familiar nonprofits that get all the corporate donations and publicity, the more I was taken aback by where the money went and how they reported misleading results such as “families served.” Apparently terminology like that allows for a lot of wiggle room and the opportunity to inflate results to impressive, if not entirely accurate, levels.

That’s not to see most of them do an awful lot of great work. Some massive corporatized nonprofits generate real results. Some do well in pockets. Others sully the reputations of everyone in the nonprofit industry. Yet, over the nearly six years since I stepped into the grass-roots nonprofit world, I’ve realized a simple truth about grass-roots nonprofits that I wish every generous soul knew:

Philanthropists and corporations could make a much bigger impact on people, families and communities in need if they distributed a large gift among several grass-roots nonprofits instead of making a single large gift to one massive, bureaucratic nonprofit.

A wealthy philanthropist or corporation could transform a community in almost unimaginable ways if they distributed that large gift among several grass-roots nonprofits working together in a single location. That donor could not only more directly impact their areas of concern, but they also could foster synergy between grass-roots organizations that work in different areas like affordable housing, education, health, job training, environmental issues, veterans affairs and more.

It’s almost imaginable. Almost. But I can imagine it.

Unfortunately, too many well-meaning donations are funneled along the familiar paths and get familiar results. The support, though, that travels along unique paths tend to get unique results.

The Fuller Center for Housing is committed to the grass-roots principles with which Millard and Linda Fuller launched their affordable housing movement more than 40 years ago despite growing and seeing greater volunteer hours and more houses built and repaired than ever before.

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Why did we switch to Fuller Center? Groups cite grass-roots principles, local control

Why did we switch to Fuller Center? Groups cite grass-roots principles, local control

When Millard and Linda Fuller were ousted in 2005 from the helm of the nonprofit housing ministry they had built into a thriving charity over the previous three decades, they justifiably could have seen that as an opportune moment to hang up their tool belts and bask in the glow of their accomplishments.

After all, nearly 200,000 families had partnered with the ministry to have simple, decent homes in which they could properly nurture their families and build a strong foundation for their children. The Fullers had more awards and honors than they could count, including a 1996 Presidential Medal of Freedom for Millard.

But, as Linda Fuller recalled while telling her story to a group of college student volunteers recently, Millard was determined to keep helping families have decent places to live and had no interest in Linda’s “pity party.”

“I just had to get with the program,” she said. “He and David Snell (the current president of The Fuller Center) were on the ball right from the start.”

While Millard Fuller had no interest in retirement, he did want to return to the roots with which he and Linda had started the world’s affordable housing movement. He believed a new version of the old ministry would need to go back to the grass-roots, Christian principles that he developed based upon the teachings of theologian Clarence Jordan.

“It turned out to be the best thing that could have happened,” Linda remembered. “And though Millard would only be with us for four more years, those were some of the happiest years for him.”

millard-and-clarence-1960s

Millard Fuller and Clarence Jordan at Koinonia Farm in the 1960s.

Though Millard Fuller passed away more than seven years ago, those grass-roots principles remain firmly intact and often are cited by groups who have chosen to switch their affiliation from the Fullers’ first housing nonprofit to The Fuller Center for Housing. Since 2005, 20 former affiliates of the previous organization have chosen to become covenant partners with The Fuller Center, most coming in the past three years.

“The Fuller Center operates with a few basic principles,” President David Snell explained. “We are unashamedly Christian and enthusiastically ecumenical; we follow the Biblical mandate that we not charge interest to the poor; our partner families must be in need but also willing to work alongside us and repay the costs of materials on terms they can afford with no profit made; and our grass-roots nature means that decisions about family selection, construction and volunteer and church engagement are made at the local level.”

With the emphasis on local leadership rather than top-down micromanagement from headquarters, The Fuller Center uses a different term than “affiliates” for its local groups — terminology that more aptly represents the relationship between Fuller Center headquarters and those doing the work in the field.

“We call them covenant partners,” Snell added. “They agree to our basic principles before joining with us and renew their commitments annually.”

“People like our mission and the fact that we are a Christian organization,” said Director of U.S. Covenant Partner Development Stacey Odom-Driggers, who like Snell has worked with both of the Fullers’ housing organizations. “They like the simplicity, support and grass-roots-driven approach that we offer.”

“Fuller Center supports the freedom and independence of our covenant partner to do what works best in our community instead of demanding that we do things a certain way.”  — Tamara Danel, Ginger Ford Northshore Fuller Center, Hammond, La.

 

NEW PARTNERS APPRECIATE GRASS-ROOTS APPROACH

For those who’ve left their old nonprofit housing affiliation for The Fuller Center, there are two recurring themes about why they switched: One, they wanted local control instead of micromanagement from a headquarters they increasingly saw as “corporate;” and, two, they said that recent annual fees required by their nonprofit’s headquarters would be better put to use helping families in the field.

“We like that there are not layers of middle management between Fuller Center headquarters and our covenant partner,” said Tamara Danel, Director of Ginger Ford Northshore Fuller Center for Housing in Hammond, La., one of the first to make the switch to The Fuller Center. “Fuller Center supports the freedom and independence of our covenant partner to do what works best in our community instead of demanding that we do things a certain way.

Tamara Danel visits with homeowners during a Global Builders trip to Nicaragua.

Tamara Danel visits with homeowners during a Global Builders trip to Nicaragua.

“We also like that neither Fuller Center headquarters nor our covenant partner is top-heavy when it comes to spending money on management,” Danel added. “We appreciate that more than 86 percent of donations go to the projects we do in the community and around the world. [The previous organization] seemed to be top-heavy and more legalistic when it came to organizational management.”

Randy Rinehart, who leads one of the newest groups to switch in Houston, Miss., cited the ease of working with a non-corporate headquarters, particularly while working in a small rural community. He learned about The Fuller Center through the Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure, whose spring ride takes it through Houston each year. Rinehart’s church, Parkway Baptist, is one of the weeklong ride’s host churches.

“The riders stayed in our church and shared their story and the story of The Fuller Center for Housing,” said Rinehart, whose group joined The Fuller Center in January of this year. “Then, when we interviewed other Fuller Center covenant partners, they talked about the ease of working with Fuller Center as a small-town organization. The biggest difference we have experienced is the personal, hands-on service and cooperation we received from The Fuller Center.”

“It is hard to have a relationship with a corporate conglomerate. Fuller’s folks, especially at the national level, bend over backwards to help, especially when you are new to the ministry. God’s love shows through them and the entire Fuller ministry.” — Kermit Rowe, Clark County Fuller Center, Springfield, Ohio

“The biggest difference that I have seen is Fuller’s people, both on the national level and at the chapters,” said Kermit Rowe, director of the Clark County Fuller Center for Housing in Springfield, Ohio. “When you are committed to God-centered principles in both word and action, that comes across in relationships.

“I’m big on relationships, and it is hard to have a relationship with a corporate conglomerate,” he continued. “Fuller’s folks, especially at the national level, bend over backwards to help, especially when you are new to the ministry. God’s love shows through them and the entire Fuller ministry.”

 

PARTNERS WOULD RATHER SPEND FUNDS ON WORK IN COMMUNITY THAN ON DUES TO HEADQUARTERS

Rowe said the primary reason that Clark County switched to The Fuller Center’s model was that they wanted to get back to the Christian principles, just as Millard and Linda Fuller did. But they also had a financial incentive.

“The clincher for us was that [their former organization] was wanting to charge each chapter our size $7,500 per year as dues — on top of asking us to tithe 10 percent,” he said. “We could pretty much rehab a house for $7,500 and help another family, which is obviously our main mission. We wanted to keep that money in the community, helping families and spreading God’s love with it.”

Delores Peoples receives a quilt and Bible from volunteers who repaired her flood-damaged home in New Jersey.

Delores Peoples receives a quilt and Bible from volunteers who repaired her flood-damaged home in New Jersey.

The Fuller Center does not require its covenant partners to pay any annual dues or fees, but it does encourage its partners to tithe 10 percent of undesignated funds to help build internationally. However, tithing is not required.

“The people I talk to are surprised that we don’t have any application fees or yearly dues,” said Odom-Driggers, who serves as the first point of contact for those wishing to join The Fuller Center. “They appreciate that we are transparent and have a genuine interest in helping them serve their communities. Each community has its own challenges and strengths, and we are able to provide the framework to build a successful organization that addresses the specific needs of their community.”

“Rather than support us in our circumstances, [the former organization] increased demands for funding over and above our tithe,” said Barbara Curtis, Director of The Fuller Center of Johnson County, Mo., which transitioned to The Fuller Center in 2016. “Additionally, compliance with ever-increasing regulations and requirements became burdensome to us, considering how little assistance they provided. It just seemed our contribution and struggles were under-appreciated.

“It seemed to us that the organization ‘went corporate’ and shifted toward affiliates that were in metropolitan settings, ran commercial re-sale stores, had full-time paid workers and were able to generate results on large-scale projects,” Curtis added. “After years of affiliation with our former not-for-profit, it became clear that our all-volunteer chapter was no longer to be well nurtured by them. We were unable to produce the results they preferred and were in a downward spiral in need of advice, assistance and understanding. We found Fuller Center just in time, and our despair has become audacious hope.”

“We found Fuller Center just in time, and our despair has become audacious hope.” — Barbara Curtis, Director of Fuller Center of Johnson County in Warrensburg, Mo.

Covenant partners also cited innovative programs in their decision to switch — including the Greater Blessing home repair program. Unlike new home partner families, Greater Blessing partner families do not sign documents guaranteeing their repayment. They are instead asked to repay the costs of materials as they are able. The Fuller Center also promotes the Save a House/Make a Home initiative through which covenant partners take donated vacant properties — often considered toxic assets — and restore them to like-new homes for families in need.

Meanwhile, the low overhead at Fuller Center headquarters helps not just covenant partners but others as such volunteer experiences as Global Builders and U.S. Builders trips are very reasonably priced.

 

A TRANSITION MADE EASY

Partners sign a simple, two-page partnership covenant when they decide to join this grass-roots ministry. The term “partnership covenant” was deliberately chosen to emphasize the use of partnerships in the work of building and repairing homes and the parallel relationship of headquarters with its partners, rather than a top-down approach.

“The Fuller Center helped us through our entire transition,” said Marilyn Hoskins, who leads the Southwest Iowa Fuller Center in Shenandoah, Iowa. Her organization switched to The Fuller Center last year, officially signing their covenant partnership when the awareness- and fund-raising Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure made an overnight stop in her community during its 2016 summer ride from Seattle to Washington, D.C.

“It wasn’t easy in Iowa, for you can’t just change your name with the Secretary of State,” she said. “The Fuller Center, though, held our hand and aided us during the entire process. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend The Fuller Center any day.”

Fuller Center homeowner and volunteer Thad Harris with a group of student builders from Ohio State University.

Fuller Center homeowner and volunteer Thad Harris with a group of student builders from Ohio State University.

Most transitions, though, from one nonprofit to The Fuller Center are surprisingly simple.

“From our very first conversation with representatives of The Fuller Center, our experience has been positive and hospitable,” Curtis said. “The people who staff the international office have been available to answer every question, offered helpful guidance, listened to our laments, and supported our efforts. Sometimes it seems they intuitively know our next question and provide information about our challenges even before we realize them. They seem willing to champion the ‘little guys.'”

“When we interviewed other covenant partners, they talked about the ease of working with Fuller Center as a ‘small-town’ organization,” said Rinehart, who found the transition to be simple and expedient. “When we called the first time, someone answered the phone and talked to us and then called us back and checked on us. They sent personal emails and seemed interested in what we are doing here.”

“When we interviewed other covenant partners, they talked about the ease of working with Fuller Center as a ‘small-town’ organization.” — Randy Rinehart, Director of The Fuller Center for Housing of Houston, Miss.

The Fuller Center for Housing has grown by leaps and bounds since the Fullers hit the restart button on their affordable housing ministry in 2005, but the growth has been steady and not out of control. And while the ranks of covenant partners has increased across the nation and around the world, The Fuller Center only works where it is invited. It does not plant partners, nor does it compete with other organizations to lure their affiliates away.

“The need for the work we do is so great that we welcome the participation of any groups who share our vision, knowing full well that we can’t alone meet the goal of eliminating poverty housing,” Fuller Center President Snell said. “As Millard Fuller liked to say, ‘The Fuller Center won’t compete with other organizations until the time comes to build the very last house.’ That day will be a long time coming.”

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VIDEO: January 2017 monthly update from Fuller Center for Housing headquarters

VIDEO: January 2017 monthly update from Fuller Center for Housing headquarters

For years, representatives from Fuller Center for Housing covenant partners from across the nation would unite on a monthly conference call to share success stories and learn about new opportunities and other programs directed from The Fuller Center’s headquarters in Americus, Georgia.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t invite the general public to join us on the call, but there was too much good information being shared to keep it to ourselves. So, in an effort to share these stories and further enhance the transparency of our nonprofit housing ministry (GuideStar Platinum rating for transparency), we have taken these monthly updates public thanks to Facebook Live. After each Live session, you’ll also be able to view them here at FullerCenter.org.

Thank you for supporting The Fuller Center for Housing!

2017 Millard Fuller Legacy Build returning to Indianapolis, site of 2010 build

2017 Millard Fuller Legacy Build returning to Indianapolis, site of 2010 build

For the second time, the annual Millard Fuller Legacy Build will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana, hosted by the highly productive, all-volunteer Fuller Center for Housing of Central Indiana, President David Snell announced today.

The timing of today’s announcement is especially fitting as January 3 is the birthday of The Fuller Center’s founder, Millard Fuller, who died unexpectedly in 2009. The annual build honors his legacy of helping families in need have simple, decent places to live through new home construction and repairs.

While details are still being finalized, the build dates have been set for June 11-16, 2017. Registration is not yet open, but it will soon be available on The Fuller Center’s website at FullerCenter.org/Volunteer.

President Snell also noted that for those not able to make the Legacy Build in June, there will be a four-day flood recovery build — Higher Ground on the Bayou — April 24-27, 2017, in Hammond, Louisiana. Registration already is open at FullerCenter.org/Volunteer, along with links to Global Builders and U.S. Builders opportunities.

 

Below: 2017 Millard Fuller Legacy Build announcement and discussion

Having a home for the holidays means everything to new parents in Shreveport

Having a home for the holidays means everything to new parents in Shreveport

Caden Lee Carter may never know what it’s like to spend the holidays in a substandard home. That’s because his parents — Roderick and Quinetta Carter — partnered with The Fuller Center for Housing to build a new home alongside dozens of volunteers at the 2015 Millard Fuller Legacy Build in Shreveport.

Their goal in the fall of 2015 was to provide a solid foundation for their son, who will turn 9 months old on Friday. Despite being pregnant, Quinetta happily put in the sweat equity in the building of their home, which sits in the Allendale neighborhood of Shreveport.

That they would have selected Allendale as the place to raise their son was unthinkable a little more than a decade ago. When Fuller Center founder Millard Fuller was asked to help alleviate a housing crisis in the city after an influx of refugees from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, he decided that Shreveport would be the first city to see Fuller Center homes rise in the U.S. City officials and law enforcement authorities at the time, however, warned Fuller that there was one area where he should not work and they could not guarantee safety — Allendale, an area so beset by drugs, prostitution and violent crime that it was considered beyond hope.

True to form, Millard Fuller responded, “Well, in that case, we’ll work in Allendale.”

Allendale is a proud neighborhood of choice where major crime has fallen more than 80 percent.

He believed no person, no family, no neighborhood, no city was beyond hope. And he more than proved his point with the resurrection of Allendale. A few dozen new homes and 11 years later, Allendale is a proud neighborhood of choice where major crime has fallen more than 80 percent. The neighborhood that Quinetta had once struggled to escape is the very one she returned to for her son’s sake.

“It’s very different,” she said. “We used to live in Allendale when it was a bad neighborhood and drug-infested. I see a big difference in Allendale. It’s much quieter. No one is hanging out on the corners like they used to. You don’t see violence like you did back then.”

Quinetta works for a local call center, while Roderick works at Wal-Mart. He said the close-knit community is quiet and that his neighbors are like family. With the new baby and new home, the Carters are seeing the holidays as a time of joy rather than one of stress and worry.

“We had Thanksgiving at the house, and it was a different experience,” Roderick said. “We had a lot of friends and family over, and they loved the house. It’s just wonderful, and we’re getting ready to decorate for Christmas.”

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RELATED VIDEO: A look back at the 2015 Millard Fuller Legacy Build

This ministry is all about putting faith into action — and always will be

This ministry is all about putting faith into action — and always will be

(This is part of a regular series of blog posts related to The Fuller Center’s #MoreSmilesFewerShacks 2016 year-end campaign.)

I reread the Gospel of James from the Bible today, and, sure enough, it confirmed that I had correctly recalled the main message of the book — DO SOMETHING!

As Fuller Center for Housing founder Millard Fuller liked to paraphrase virtually all of chapter 2 from James, “Faith without works is as dead as a doornail.”

When I was a very young child, my father was an aspiring preacher. Yet, I hated going to church. Then he became a home builder. And I hated being on the construction site. Obviously, God has a sense of humor as He placed me in a Christian home building ministry.

It was also the right move as this ministry has revealed to me another side of Christianity — faith in action. What I disliked about church as a child was sitting. I sat there in Sunday School. I sat there in the main service. All kinds of folks sat around me … and then went home not to put faith into action, but to put it upon a shelf. That didn’t work for me.

As I’ve heard someone say, “If you’re really a Christian, you won’t have to tell anybody — they’ll see it.”

Christianity isn’t about sitting — it’s about action. It’s not about talking — it’s about doing. The Fuller Center is not a church, but it is a servant of the church. We provide an avenue for churches and church-goers longing to put their faith into action as the Gospel of James implores, repeatedly.

Saint Francis of Assisi is quoted by some as having said, “Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.” Folks argue back and forth over whether that quote should be attributed to St. Francis. But the point of the quote is inarguable. I don’t care if it came from St. Francis or his tennis partner — it makes good sense. Let your actions do the talking. Or, as I’ve heard someone else say, “If you’re really a Christian, you won’t have to tell anybody — they’ll see it.”

At The Fuller Center, you can preach the Gospel through action, and your faith can become works. Faith comes alive. We take Millard’s admonition that faith without works is as dead as a doornail very seriously. And we remain true to his vision that The Fuller Center was founded as a Christian ministry and will always be a Christian ministry.

By the way, if you’re wondering what led my dad to leave preaching for house building, it was a cow. Yes, he was on his way to preach a trial sermon at a church in west Georgia and totaled his car on a cow standing in the middle of the road. He took it as a sign from God that he actually hadn’t been called to the pulpit. I suspect the cow took it as a sign from God not to play in the road. Dad’s also the person who told me that if you’re really a Christian, folks will see it through your works. He’s now retired from preaching and home building … and he leads a Fuller Center covenant partner in Perry, Ga. Guess we’ve come full-circle.

If your church or your church group would like to know more about how to put faith into action through The Fuller Center’s Christian ministry, browse our website, or give us a call at 229-924-2900.

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Local control, decision-making key part of our grass-roots ministry’s success

Local control, decision-making key part of our grass-roots ministry’s success

(This is part of regular series of blog posts related to The Fuller Center’s #MoreSmilesFewerShacks 2016 year-end campaign.)

The Fuller Center for Housing has seen an influx of new covenant partners over the past couple of years, especially from groups that formerly had been associated with other housing nonprofits. Reasons they often cite for joining The Fuller Center include having the ability to make decisions at the local level and not having to pay fees to a bureaucratic overseer where they consider their fees going too much toward overhead and not enough toward work in the field.

When Millard and Linda Fuller founded The Fuller Center in 2005, they saw it as an opportunity to return to the grass-roots, Christian principles with which they started the affordable housing movement more than 40 years ago. One of those principles was that day-to-day decisions are best left to local groups who know best what their local community’s needs are and the best ways to meet those challenges. They believed that headquarters’ role was to facilitate — and not dictate — the work in the field, in the United States or around the world. They also believed that local partners should be encouraged to tithe toward the ministry’s work elsewhere but never required to pay fees to be a part of the ministry.

ye-logoWe lost Millard in 2009, but The Fuller Center has not wavered in its grass-roots principles and never will. We still believe decisions are best made at the local level, and we do not require our local covenant partners to pay fees in order to go about their work in the field under our umbrella. We stand ready to help local partners in a multitude of ways, but, ultimately, the work is up to those hard-working folks in the mission field.

It’s one of the reasons The Fuller Center is succeeding in hard-to-work places like Haiti. While many U.S. outfits have parachuted into the country believing they know best how to work there, The Fuller Center worked to find Haitian partners willing and able to put our partnership housing principles into action.

When Millard and Linda Fuller founded The Fuller Center in 2005, they saw it as an opportunity to return to the grass-roots, Christian principles with which they started the affordable housing movement more than 40 years ago.

The Fuller Center’s mission is to help families have simple, decent places to live. That means different things in different places. To partners like Louisville and Philadelphia, that means resurrecting once-vacant, dilapidated properties and turning them into like-new homes. In Indianapolis, it means raising the walls of new homes. In Perry, Ga., and Tallahassee, Fla., it means repair projects like new roofs and wheelchair ramps. In El Salvador and Bolivia, it means building whole communities. In India and Nicaragua, they’re taking it one home at a time. And in places like Hammond, La., it’s new homes, repairs and helping people recover from historic flooding.

We encourage everyone to visit our international headquarters in Americus, Ga., but we must warn you that while it will be enlightening, it might not be terribly exciting. It’s a small, simple building with no fancy offices or lobby adorned with ornate fixtures. In fact, you might ask, “Is this it?” Well, yes it is. However, if you go visit our local partners, you will find excitement as that’s where the action and real work of this ministry happens. Sorry, though, you still won’t find any fancy offices. None is interested in overhead.

Local partners also happen to know best how to tell their stories. I hope that you will take a look at a couple of new short videos below — one produced by our partners in Philadelphia and one produced by our partners in Louisville. Both are fighting blight and empowering families by resurrecting vacant properties. It’s just one area of focus for our ministry, but it is one that they feel best suits their communities’ specific challenges.

When you consider your year-end giving options this year, be sure to support grass-roots nonprofits who direct your generosity to where it is truly needed — in the mission field.

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