A team of 10 volunteers — all veterans of the Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure — are spending the week in Americus, Georgia, helping make major improvements to the 100-year-old building that serves as The Fuller Center for Housing’s international headquarters.
The Fuller Center was awarded a $30,000 GoodUse Grant by Southface Institute, which promotes sustainable homes, workplaces and communities through education, research, advocacy and technical assistance. Combined with $15,000 in matching value from The Fuller Center, more than $45,000 is going into such projects as re-siding, adding insulation, installing LED lighting, providing low-flow toilets and on-demand water heaters — all geared toward increasing energy efficiency and reducing overhead costs. Annual savings are expected to exceed $3,300 annually.
“We’re proud of our simple, decent offices and, with these improvements, will be able to spend less money heating and cooling them and more on getting families out of poverty housing,” Fuller Center President David Snell said. “The work has been speed along this week with the help of a faithful group of Bicycle Adventure volunteers, who came to town just to give us a hand.”
The headquarters building on South Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Americus was donated by John and Sue Wieland to Millard Fuller when this nonprofit was launched nearly 15 years ago. (The Fuller Center marks its 15th anniversary in March of this year.) The building — which has since been christened “The Wieland House” — is at least 100 years old with official county records tracing it to 1920. However, many locals have said it actually was built in the 1850s.
The important thing, President Snell said, was that the improvements will ensure it will be here another 100 years and maintain The Fuller Center’s commitment to always be headquartered in Americus, where Millard and Linda Fuller launched the world’s affordable housing movement. The 10 Bicycle Adventure volunteers are happily contributing their labor toward that effort.
“I’m always willing to help out wherever I can, whether it’s building a new house or working on the headquarters building,” said Doug Stephens, a frequent volunteer from Greenville, South Carolina, who spent a week this past fall serving as a house captain for one of the 11 homes built during the Millard Fuller Legacy Build tornado recovery in Lee County, Alabama. “It’s all about giving back. Instead of building a new house, we’re taking care of the house where it all starts. We’re giving back so it will be here another hundred years.”
GoodUse provides technical assistance and funding in the form of matching grants to nonprofits to assist them with resource efficiency upgrades to their facilities. These upgrades save the nonprofit valuable funds on utility bills that can be reallocated into their mission. Information about GoodUse can be found here.
Photo gallery of this week’s work: