Fuller founded "Habitat" with his wife, Linda, in 1976 and through their leadership, the organization has become the largest, non-profit house builder in the U.S. and a major builder of houses in other countries.
Fuller was a self-made millionaire at 29, who became disenchanted with the direction his life and marriage were going. He and his wife chose to reestablish balance in their lives by selling their possessions and searching for a new focus. They moved to Georgia and then to Zaire, Africa and established non-profit housing projects making homes affordable to low income families. The success of the Zaire project convinced them that such projects could be established all over the world.
The birth of Habitat For Humanity International followed their return to the U.S. in 1976. The number of countries where Habitat has established projects continues to increase and is now in excess of 40, with over 1,300 affiliates in the U.S.
Habitat's philosophy is based on what Fuller calls the "economics of Jesus." The Bible passage Exodus 22:25 says a person lending money to the poor should not profit from such a loan. Fuller also incorporates the concept of sweat equity. Families that acquire a house through "Habitat" must participate in the construction of it and ultimately pay a mortgage based on fair market value.