When Jason R. Surber saw how The Fuller Center for Housing of Lake County, Illinois, was changing lives by transforming vacant properties into like-new homes for families in need, he was hooked on the concept.
He learned about The Fuller Center’s work in the area through Christ Church of Lake Forest, Illinois, which stresses faith in action. He fully embraced the challenge — labeled by the church as the “Matthew Homes Project” — to help 30 families in North Chicago own such transformed homes over the next three to four years.
The project aims for two such projects per block in North Chicago, hoping to change the community through home ownership and helping responsible community leaders become the homeowner examples for others. In a majority-rent community where only 34 percent of homes are owned, these homes are the seeds Surber and others longed to see grow into a healthy community and a shining example of how transformation is possible for any community.
But Surber did not live to see that dream come to fruition. He died last year at the age of 44. His passion for the project, however, lives on through his family, his church, his friends and The Fuller Center. This past Friday, the Jason R. Surber Memorial Golf Outing raised more than $140,000 for The Fuller Center’s work in North Chicago.
“What a blessing to see an amazing network of Housing Heroes come together and create a legacy for this amazing young man!” — Yvette Ewing, President, Fuller Center of Lake County
“He died with a dream to revitalize the city of North Chicago and build sustainable communities,” said Yvette Ewing, President of The Fuller Center of Lake County. “What a blessing to see an amazing network of Housing Heroes come together and create a legacy for this amazing young man!
“This partnership allows Fuller to increase our housing impact in one of the most blighted areas in Lake County, Illinois,” she added. “It also helps us to diversify and increase relationships with individual donors, corporations and other families who might want to launch a legacy project. It is truly a timely blessing.”
Ewing said that after modest expenses are deducted for the event that 100 percent of the proceeds will go to The Fuller Center’s work of revitalizing North Chicago homes. She noted that the Surber family’s 2017 goal is to raise more than $200,000 for the project.
Jason R. Surber gave a powerful testimony in this video by Christ Church two years ago:
View a gallery of photos from the Jason R. Surber Memorial Golf Outing: