Our History

The Beginning

Habitat for Humanity International 


1968 | Koinonia Farm

The concept of Habitat for Humanity International was created by Millard & Linda Fuller after leaving a successful business and affluent lifestyle in Montgomery, AL, to begin a new life of Christian service. They moved to a small, interracial, Christian community outside of Americus, GA, called Koinonia Farm. At Koinonia, Fuller and others developed the concept of "partnership housing," where those in need of adequate shelter work side by side with volunteers to build simple, decent houses.

Volunteers and construction personnel built the houses for no profit, and the loans were not charged interest. The no-interest loan payments from new homeowners would cycle into a revolving fund called “The Fund for Humanity". These payments, along with funds provided by supporters and fundraising activities, would allow Habitat to maintain sustainability and continue building more houses in the future. This was the first basic model of Habitat for Humanity.


1973 | Zaire

The Fullers decided to apply the “Fund for Humanity” concept in developing countries. Millard, Linda, and family moved to Mbandaka, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo). The Fullers' goal was to offer affordable yet adequate shelter to 2,000 people. After three years of hard work to launch a successful house building program, the Fullers returned to the United States.


1976 | Birth of Habitat for Humanity International

Millard and Linda called together a group of supporters to discuss the future of their dream. Habitat for Humanity International as an organization was born at this meeting. The eight years that followed, vividly described in Millard Fuller's book, “Love in the Mortar Joints,” proved that the vision of a housing ministry was workable. Faith, hard work and direction set HFHI on its successful course.


1984 | Jimmy Carter’s Support

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn took their first Habitat work trip, the Jimmy Carter Work Project, to New York City. Their personal involvement in Habitat's ministry brought the organization national visibility and sparked interest in Habitat's work across the nation. Habitat for Humanity International experienced a dramatic increase in the number of new affiliates around the country.


1985 | Founding of Habitat for Humanity of McLean County (HFHMC)

Our local affiliate was founded in 1985 by a group of dedicated volunteers. This original Board of Directors began by building or renovating one house a year.

Gradually, HFHMC increased its capacity to serve more families. Habitat has now served over 190 families (580+ individuals including 380+ children) in McLean County. The affiliate is operated by a small paid staff (and thousands of volunteers) under continued guidance and support from our Board of Directors.


Habitat Today

Through the work of Habitat, thousands of low-income families have found new hope in the form of affordable housing. Churches, community groups and others have joined together to successfully tackle a significant social problem providing decent housing for all. Today, Habitat has helped build or repair more than 600,000 houses and served more than 3 million people around the world.