Millard Fuller, the founder of Habitat for Humanity, died today following a brief illness. He was 74 years old. Read his biography below, see photos, and watch a video.
Millard Fuller, one of the co-founders of Habitat for Humanity died in a Georgia hospital this morning. He was 74. He and his wife, Linda, spend nearly three decades running Habitat before losing control of the charity in a conflict with the organization’s board in 2005.
Former President Jimmy Carter issued a statement calling Millard Fuller ‘one of the most extraordinary people I have ever known.’
Millard Fuller was widely regarded as the leader of the modern-day movement for affordable housing and had been honored for his work in the United States and abroad.
Millard Dean Fuller was born in Lanett, Alabama, on January 3, 1935. He died on February 3, 2009 at the age of 74.
He majored in economics at Auburn University and received a law degree from the University of Alabama in 1960. A successful businessman and lawyer, Millard Fuller became a self-made millionaire by age 29.
In 1968, after giving up their wealth to refocus their lives on Christian service, Millard and his wife, Linda, moved with their children to an interracial farming community in southwest Georgia called ‘Koinonia Farm.’ After living there for five years, they became missionaries to the country of Zaire.
When they returned to the United States, the Fullers began a Christian ministry at Koinonia Farm building simple, decent houses for low-income families in their community using volunteer labor and donations, and requiring repayment only of the cost of the materials used. No interest was charged, as it is with traditional mortgages, and no profit was made.
It was these same principles the Fullers used to establish in 1976, what is now Habitat for Humanity International. Fuller and his wife Linda were fired by the board of directors in 2005 following allegations of sexual harrassment. They then founded a new non-profit housing organization, The Fuller Center for Housing.
It was Millard Fuller who courted President Jimmy Carter in 1984, to become Habitat’s most famous volunteer.
Millard and Linda Fuller planned to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in August with a 100-house ‘blitz build’ across the globe.
‘We’ll probably go ahead with the blitz build. Millard would not want people to mourn his death,’ she said. ‘He would be more interested in having people put on a tool belt and build a house for people in need.’
On November 13, 2008, Habitat for Humanity raised the walls on its 300,000th house in Collier County, Fla.; the next day, work began on the 300,001st house in Zacapa, Guatemala.
Millard Fuller Video