Thursday, February 5, 2009

Cincinnati Habitat mourns death of International founder Millard Fuller

Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity is joining other chapters in mourning the loss of Millard Fuller, founder of Habitat for Humanity International.

Fuller, who led Habitat from its founding in 1976 until his separation from the organization and his founding of the Fuller Center for Housing in 2005, died Tuesday morning following a brief illness.

He was 74.

"All of us here at Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity are deeply saddened by the loss of our founder and friend, Millard Fuller," says executive director Tom Salzbrun. "The impact his life and legacy have had on our world is immeasurable. His inspiration will continue to guide the Habitat ministry through our volunteers, employees, partner families and supporters. Our condolences are with the entire Fuller family as we keep them in our prayers."

Marissa Woodly, development director for Cincinnati Habitat, met Fuller in 2007 at the non-profit's Annual Dinner at Music Hall.

"Almost immediately I was touched by the energy, enthusiasm and passion of this 70-something-year-old man," she says. "His words and wisdom invoked excitement in my heart for Habitat. His unyielding commitment to the affordable housing industry and his vision of a world free of poverty housing and homelessness has been an inspiration to me and my career. I have no doubt that his vision, faith and fortitude have and will continue to make a difference for many others."

An author of 10 books, he has received more than 50 honorary degrees, has been named to the National Housing Hall of Fame, and has received the World Changer Award, the World Methodist Peace Award, the Norman Vincent Peale Award, the John W. Gardner Leadership Award and the Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award.

In 1996, Fuller received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

"Millard Fuller has done as much to make the dream of homeownership a reality in our country and throughout the world as any living person," said President Bill Clinton in presenting the medal.

Worldwide, the non-profit housing ministry has helped build homes with more than 300,000 partner families.

Locally, Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity has built over 150 homes in 21 Cincinnati neighborhoods.

Photo credit: Fuller and Salzbrun, courtesy of Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity and O'Keeffe Communications, Inc.

Previous reading on BC:
UC's latest Habitat build under roof (1/8/09)
Correction: UC Habitat kickoff on December 6 (11/24/08)
UC kicks off sixth Habitat house Saturday (11/19/08)
Habitat to dedicate Maple Avenue houses Saturday (11/13/08)
Cincinnati Habitat celebrates 150th house with Community Build kick-off (8/20/08)