As I’ve traveled to various corners of the world on behalf of Habitat for Humanity, I’ve seen the amazing work Habitat staff and volunteers are doing. I’ve also encountered staggering evidence of the vast need for decent shelter around us: families living in makeshift shelter made of scrap metal and wood, children and their parents struggling to stay healthy under the worst circumstances, living in overcrowded conditions, with little sanitation, clean water or hope that things will improve.
What inspires me about Habitat for Humanity, however, is the fundamental transformation we ignite through our house-building efforts. Our partners—volunteers, donors, staff, other nonprofits—are making extraordinary strides to reach more families worldwide. We are focusing on what we know and do best—housing—but we’re also closely accounting for other components that create strong neighborhoods. We now track outcomes in health and education, sanitation, employment opportunities and community engagement. We see decent shelter as the foundation from which all of that stems—where life takes root.
Yet, given the immense need for adequate housing globally—including workforce housing in the U.S.—we realize there is more to be done. That is why we have plans to grow exponentially to reach more families. In addition to hammers and trowels, we’re employing such tools as microfinance and incremental housing; we’re collaborating with other organizations to improve access to water, sanitation, health care … all while honoring our mission and the principles that have defined us for so long.
This campaign is a bold measure of our commitment to reaching more people worldwide. We’re committed to exponential growth, and this campaign is the fuel to achieve that growth. It’s historic and it’s audacious. But so is our forward-looking plan to create greater access to housing across the globe.
I have made a personal commitment to this campaign and to Habitat’s mission in the form of a legacy gift. Please join us. Invest. Participate. And let us demonstrate how a world of hope starts at home.
J. Ronald Terwilliger