Founder of Habitat starts fresh
Millard Fuller was fired from Habitat for Humanity after a sexual harassment scandal.
AMERICUS, Ga. (AP) -- The founder of Habitat for Humanity, who was fired in January from the group that builds homes in 100 countries, unveiled a new organization Saturday he says will continue his mission of constructing housing for the poor.
Millard Fuller said The Fuller Center for Housing will continue working with charitable groups, including some Habitat for Humanity affiliates, on funding new housing.
Fuller, 70, who founded Habitat for Humanity in 1976 with his wife, expects his new group will do "a lot of the same work with a lot of the same people" as he did with Habitat.
Habitat fired the Fullers in January after more than a year of tension sparked by allegations that Millard Fuller sexually harassed a female colleague.
Habitat's board concluded there was insufficient evidence to substantiate the charge. The official reason for the dismissal was a pattern of divisive and disruptive comments.
Fuller said he has already raised about $2 million in pledges for his new group.
The group's first two grants will be used to help a Habitat chapter build a new home in Montezuma, about 20 miles north of Americus, and help Koinonia Partners, an interracial farm community near Americus, repair homes that inspired the idea for Habitat for Humanity in the 1960s.
1 million served
Habitat has built nearly 200,000 homes for 1 million people around the world, and its local affiliates have a combined annual budget of about $748 million.
Habitat's most visible volunteer is former President Carter, a longtime friend of the Fullers.
Atlanta home-builder John Wieland donated money for the Fullers to buy and renovate the new headquarters building.
"I think he's a charismatic individual and there aren't many of those," Wieland said. "He founded the movement. A lot of people do good things; there aren't many people who found a movement."