Nov. 16, 2007
SEATTLE, Wash - University of Washington students received a firsthand lesson in the importance of affordable homeownership today, as they watched a family begin building their own home on the UW campus with the help of Husky sports team coaches, including head men's football coach Tyrone Willingham and basketball coach Lorenzo Romar, UW athletes, students, and volunteers from Bank of America. Habitat for Humanity led the build along side Heidi Gerber and her daughter, Jessica, who will donate 500 hours of labor to help build their first home.
The Habitat build reflects a longstanding commitment by Bank of America and UW to create housing opportunities for local families. The Gerber's home will be part of the new Snoqualmie Ridge community of 4,000 new homes being built 25 miles east of Seattle. Habitat for Humanity is building 50 homes in this community for low-income families.
In addition, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation also provided a $100,000 grant to help build a Habitat home for a second family, Cathy Miller and her grandson, Karim. Bank of America volunteers have been helping the Millers build their home in Redmond since the summer. The Millers were also on hand at UW to help build the Gerber home.
"We are so pleased to have Bank of America and the University of Washington as partners in our mission to eliminate substandard housing from our community," said Tom Granger, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of East King County. "This wall raising and house sponsorship takes the involvement of Bank of America and the University of Washington to a new level here in this area. This high visibility event shines a spotlight on the serious problem of affordable housing in our community."
"Bank of America is pleased to further Habitat's efforts to provide affordable housing for deserving families across Puget Sound," said Peter Joers, Washington state president, Bank of America. "With this financial support and the dedication of Bank of America volunteers, we've been able to help two hard working families build their new homes."
Bank of America is a long time supporter of Habitat for Humanity, most recently announcing a $6 million donation from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation to Habitat for Humanity International that will increase the nonprofit's capacity to provide quality, affordable housing for families worldwide. Habitat for Humanity will utilize the funds to support their general operations as well as financing home construction and renovation for families around the world.
"Our athletes, cheerleaders and student volunteers have generously donated their time to be able to provide affordable housing to a very deserving family," said Todd Turner, UW's director of intercollegiate athletics. "Teaming up with our great partner, Bank of America, we are able to continue our ongoing efforts in the community and this project is a reflection of that."
Habitat-built homes are available to people living in substandard housing who earn between 25 to 50 percent of median income. Applicants must also have a two year stable work history and good credit, and must complete 500 hours of sweat equity.
What began 20 years ago as a home sponsorship program has become an expanded and multifaceted partnership. Under former Bank of America Chairman and CEO Hugh McColl Jr.'s leadership, a commitment to Habitat turned the Jimmy Carter Work Project into a 14-house "blitz build" in Charlotte and the first worldwide House Raising Week. The Bank of America Charitable Foundation has donated more than $12 million to home-building efforts with Habitat for Humanity International since 2002 as well as $200,000 to local affiliates to increase building capacity and $250,000 to Operation Home Delivery, Habitat's hurricane recovery project. The corporation has also given $600,000 to Operation Home Delivery.
About Bank of America Corporate Philanthropy
Bank of America has embarked on an unprecedented 10-year goal to give $1.5 billion to nonprofit organizations engaged in improving the quality and vitality of their neighborhoods. The Bank of America Charitable Foundation will give more than $200 million in 2007, making the bank one of the most generous corporate donors in the world. Bank of America approaches giving through a national strategy called "neighborhood excellence" under which it works with local leaders to identify and meet the most pressing needs of individual communities. Through Team Bank of America, bank associate volunteers contribute more than 500,000 hours each year to improve the quality of life in their communities nationwide. For more information about Bank of America Corporate Philanthropy, please visit www.bankofamerica.com/foundation.
About Habitat for Humanity of East King County
Habitat for Humanity of East King County has built 71 homes on the Eastside since 1988. Habitat for Humanity uses volunteer labor to build homes to sell to families earning 25% to 50% of median income for the area. The goal of HfHEKC is to make it possible for low-income Eastside residents to be able to purchase simple, decent, affordable homes. We are currently building a total of 50 homes in Snoqualmie and 24 homes in Redmond. For more information, visit www.habitatekc.org