"Beside every successful man is a good woman"

By David Snell,
Fuller Center president

Some 55 years ago a young Southern belle, who only wanted to date a man who was tall enough so that she could wear heels, agreed to go out with an anonymous caller who told her he was 6’4” tall. Little did she know what adventures and challenges that meeting would bring her way.  That young lady was Linda Caldwell, and her gentleman caller was Millard Fuller. Together they would make a fortune, give away a fortune, raise four fine kids, and found two housing movements that would change the lives of millions and redefine charitable giving.

Today, Feb. 17, is Linda’s birthday, and on behalf of all the children around the world who went to bed last night in a warm and safe home and the many donors and volunteers whose lives have been changed by her good work, let me say Happy Birthday!

Linda has long held that the old adage, "behind every successful man is a good woman" is inaccurate.  It should say that “beside every successful man is a good woman” and she has proved this correction to be true.  While Millard’s is the name that is most associated with their housing ministry, he was the first to say that without Linda at his side it wouldn’t have happened. Indeed, it was his failure to include her that led to the marital crisis that caused them to turn away from material things to pursue more righteous undertakings. From that point on she was by his side.  In Africa, Asia, Europe and all across the United States, Linda and Millard spread the word about the need for decent housing and how to go about getting it done.

Now Linda is settling into a new phase of her life, with a new partner at her side.  But her devotion to the cause of housing continues.  We wish you many more years, Linda.  May they be filled with happiness, secure in the knowledge that you have made the world a better place.


  • Blessed birth day, dear Linda. Your ministry changed my life and that of my husband’s. Because of your good works, Tuck and I met and married building houses with Habitat for Humanity in South Carolina. Your ministry has changed the world, for so many folks. May God grant you many years. Peace and Love – Susan and Tuck Phelps, WI

  • Happy birthday Linda. We wish you many more! We would love to visit with you, but we don’t travel much anymore. We send our love to you.

  • David, the adage is aptly corrected and the tribute befittingly paid. Lawrence.

  • Happy Birthday, Linda. Always a pleasure to work with you. Hope you had a great day with many more. Happiness to you always. Cathy

  • Joining the others in wishing you a happy birthday.-, Linda. We treasure the years we were able to work together.

  • Happy Birthday, Linda, and we wish you many more years of building! David – such a lovely and thoughtful tribute to Linda. Thanks so much, Marlene

  • Dear Linda, I wish you a happy birthday. You and Millard have been such an inspiration in my life and you continue to inspire me as you do many others. I am so glad to hear that you have remarried. May you have a wonderful life together. Love, Jean Walrath Ferguson


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