Remembering Millard

It’s been a just year since our old friend Millard Fuller moved on to build houses on higher ground.  And what a year it’s been. 

Millard was one of a kind.  It was as though he was specifically designed to do the work he did—intelligence, an effervescent personality, amazing communications skills and faith all combined to produce one of the truly remarkable philanthropists of our time.  He and his wife Linda gave away their wealth at an early age, so Millard didn’t have money of his own; but he was a master at getting others to joyfully part with some of theirs to fund a righteous cause.  Millard wasn’t a carpenter either, but he motivated thousands of skilled and unskilled workers to build hundreds of thousands of houses all around the world.  He was a remarkable man, and those who knew him were inspired by the experience.

One measure of success is creating something that survives, and in this Millard did very well.  Habitat for Humanity, the housing ministry Millard and his wife Linda founded 34 years ago, continues to build with families in need and The Fuller Center for Housing, a second housing ministry that Millard founded is thriving even though he only had four years to put a foundation under it.  I’ve had the daunting task of following Millard as the leader of this ministry and I’ve been amazed at how his inspired leadership has encouraged people to continue to support his work.

The Fuller Center was established to carry on Millard’s dream of eliminating poverty housing.  As a young organization with 30 years of experience, The Fuller Center has the enviable ability to be agile and innovative while at the same time thoughtful and deliberate.  This helps account for our remarkable growth—in fewer than five years we have covenant partner organizations in 60 US cities and 17 other countries.  We have broken ground in North Korea on a pioneering project that will bring Americans and Koreans together, building houses in that distant land.  The sun never sets on The Fuller Center for Housing.

The tragic earthquake in Haiti has given us the new challenge of building disaster resistant houses with families in need, but in such a way that our efforts help rebuild a damaged society and a broken economy.  No one has been left unaffected by the magnitude of suffering that has been visited on the Haitian people, so this effort is one of great significance.  Rebuilding will take tremendous resources, and we have not been shy about asking individuals, churches, schools and civic organizations to remember the long term reconstruction needs we face in their giving plans.

Today, as we honor the first anniversary of Millard’s death, the Fuller Center staff will be working on a house here in Americus.  We figure the best way to remember him is with a hammer in our hand.  We invite all of those whose lives were touched by this remarkable man to join in this great ministry.  Like any nonprofit we can always use more leaders, volunteers and money.  We invite you to help fulfill Millard’s dream—work on a building site, sponsor a Haiti House, send in a check.  This is a righteous undertaking, and by God’s amazing calculus, the gifts you give with be multiplied and returned to you.

So it’s been a year since Millard died.  We have worked hard to keep the vision alive.  I think he would be proud.

Click here for events and commemorations honoring Millard.

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