ICS Magazine

$100 million commitment made to Habitat for Humanity

May 15, 2009

ATLANTA (May 14, 2009) – Habitat for Humanity International announces today a $100 million commitment by J. Ronald Terwilliger. The nine-figure legacy gift represents the largest donation from an individual in Habitat for Humanity’s history.

“We are humbled by and grateful for the unprecedented commitment Ron is making to Habitat for Humanity. It’s a solid demonstration of the passion he has for our mission and for decent, affordable housing throughout the world,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO, Habitat for Humanity International. “Thanks to his generous spirit, tens of thousands of families will enjoy greater access to simple, decent, affordable shelter worldwide. Habitat for Humanity is truly honored to be entrusted with this gift and will faithfully help Ron put into action the commitment he has to adequate housing and to low-income families.”

Habitat for Humanity International estimates that this single legacy gift will help 60,000 families with access to improved housing conditions.

“In my professional life, I’ve seen housing strengthen health, education, families, communities and economies,” said Terwilliger. “With this legacy gift to Habitat for Humanity, I want to help ensure a leveraged, sustained impact beyond my lifetime and inspire others to make the commitment to support affordable housing. There are more than 1.6 billion people around the world who live in poverty housing and they need our help.”

Within five years of the funds being transferred by Terwilliger’s estate, 70 percent of the legacy commitment will be used by Habitat for housing micro-financing so that families in countries around the world can improve their living conditions. The remaining 30 percent will be used for the “J. Ronald Terwilliger Leveraged Impact Fund.” This endowment for Habitat for Humanity International will make annual distributions to help support affordable-housing efforts.

Terwilliger joined Habitat for Humanity’s international board of directors in 2000, where he currently serves as chair. During this time, he has given more than $3 million to Habitat. He also has visited Habitat organizations and worked on build sites throughout the United States, Europe, Central America and Asia.

A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a Baker Scholar at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Business, Terwilliger went on to become the driving force behind the nation’s largest multi-family housing developer, Trammell Crow Residential. He retired as CEO in 2008, but remains the company’s chairman.

In addition to his board service with Habitat, Terwilliger has served on the governing boards of the Urban Land Institute, the Enterprise Foundation and the U.S. Naval Academy. The Urban Land Institute established the “J. Ronald Terwilliger Center for Workforce Housing” that is dedicated to ensuring that workforce housing is available to future generations.

In 2008, Terwilliger was inducted into the National Association of Homebuilders Housing Hall of Fame for being a leader that is helping to address affordable housing needs for working families. In March, Terwilliger was recognized by the U.S. Naval Academy as a “Distinguished Graduate.”  In June, Terwilliger will be honored as the National Housing Council’s “Housing Person of the Year.”