History

It All Started with a Book

On a mission trip to Africa in 1980, a friend told Kalamazoo businessman Carl Walker about a book, "Love in the Mortar Joints" by Millard Fuller. The book tells the story of how Millard and his wife Linda founded Habitat for Humanity International. Inspired by the story, Carl called Millard and later traveled to Americus, Georgia, to meet the Fullers and learn more. Within months, Millard returned the visit, met with a small group at First United Methodist Church and the seeds of Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity were sown.

Kalamazoo Valley Habitat for Humanity became an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International in 1983. The first home, a rehabilitation project on Kalamazoo's north side, was completed in December 1984. Today, Habitat has helped more than 188 motivated, low-income families build and buy homes in partnership with the community.

We salute the vision of our founders and first partners who include: Carl Walker, Ivan Moerman, Kay O'Boyle, Bill Struck, Don DeYoung, Bill Bowser, Dick Bauman, Lori Wiersma, Art Hoekstra, Shirley VanHoeven, Harold Bulger, Gyron Philbert, Dick Nelson, Steve Senesi, Bruce Martin, and many others. Congratulations and thanks to our founders, our homeowners, and to the community for its support!