Marquette County Habitat for Humanity History

Marquette County Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry seeking to eliminate poverty housing, and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. Habitat invites people from all walks of life to work together in partnership to build houses with families in need. Since its start in 1992, Marquette County HFH has rehabbed 90 houses throughout Marquette County.

1992 - Affiliate Established

The Marquette County application for affiliation was presented to Millard and Linda Fuller (founders of Habitat for Humanity) during their visit to Marquette in Sept. 1992. MCHFH received official notification of affiliate status from Habitat for Humanity International in November. The first Board of Directors included: Mike Clark, Jim Clements, Brenda Ray, Sally Weingartner, Rev. Larry Lange, Lynn Swadley, Waino Liuha, Heather Mlsna, Bill Davis, Rev. Doug Paterson, Gary Grant, Georgie Maynard, Dick Graybill, and Mike CoyneMessiah Lutheran Church in Marquette became the first Covenant Church and housed the affiliate office.

1993 - First House Built

MCHFH’s first house was built in the city of Marquette on Wilkenson Avenue. Members of the Upper Peninsula Builders Association (which was chartered in 1978 as the Home Builders Association of the Superiorland) framed and roofed the house in one day Habitat “Blitz Build”!

2002 - Michigan Affiliate of the Year

Less than 10 years after building that first home, Marquette County Habitat for Humanity was recognized as Affiliate of the Year in the State of Michigan! A $2,500 award was presented by Governor and Mrs. John Engler at the Awards Banquet held in Lansing.

2003 - ReStore Established

The Habitat for Humanity ReStore became a reality in May in the former LaRue’s Grocery Store in Harvey. Their motto of “Reduce, Re-Use and Recycle” resonated with the people in our community. The store’s profits have allowed us to sponsor at least one home per year. In May 2009 the ReStore reached a milestone with over One Million Dollars in total sales since opening.

2004 - USDA Self-Help Housing Program Started

MCHFH was awarded a $294,000 grant over two years for administrative costs from USDA Self-help Housing. We have been blessed to receive this funding for ten years now. Other funding resources include: MSHDA, FHLBI, HAC-SHOP, Wells Fargo, State Farm and Thrivent Financial.

2005 - Jimmy Carter House Built

Habitat for Humanity International leaders announced in the fall of October 2003 that Michigan was to host the 22nd annual Jimmy Carter Work Project to be held June 19-24, 2005. In Marquette, our 46th house at 1150 Joliet Rd. was designated the “Jimmy Carter House” and was built in South Marquette with the DeStefano family.

2009 - Volunteer Summary

Volunteers are the backbone, and indeed can be considered the most critical piece of the success of the Habitat program. Returning groups include: Norway Grove Memorial Lutheran Church, (Deforest, Wisconsin) Markesan United Methodist, (Markesan, Wisconsin) 1st Presbyterian Church, (Hastings, Michigan) and the ACTION Group from Iowa. HFHI’s RV Care-A-Vanners and the AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) programs have also greatly aided our building.

2013 - Milestone of 90 Houses Achieved

In 2013 Marquette County Habitat for Humanity built 6 homes, bringing our total number built in Marquette County to 90! Habitat homes have been built in Marquette, Negaunee, Ishpeming, Chocolay Twp., Republic, Champion, Ely Twp., Big Bay, Michigamme, National Mine, Gwinn, Princeton, and Marquette Twp.

2019 - Milestone of 105 Houses Achieved

Habitat for Humanity Int. History

Koinonia Farm

The concept that grew into Habitat for Humanity International was born at Koinonia Farm, a small, interracial, Christian community outside of Americus, Georgia.Koinonia Farm was founded in 1942 by farmer and biblical scholar Clarence Jordan. The Fullers first visited in 1965. They had recently left a successful business and an affluent lifestyle in Montgomery, Alabama to begin a new life of Christian service. At Koinonia, Jordan and Fuller developed the concept of "partnership housing." The concept centered on those in need of adequate shelter working side by side with volunteers to build simple, decent houses.

The Fund for Humanity

The houses would be built at no profit and interest would not be charged on the loans. Building costs would be financed by a revolving fund called “The Fund for Humanity." The fund's money would come from the new homeowners' house payments, no-interest loans provided by supporters and money earned by fund-raising activities. The monies in the Fund for Humanity would be used to build more houses. 

Inception of Habitat for Humanity 

In 1968, Koinonia laid out 42 half-acre house sites with four acres reserved as a community park and recreational area. Capital was donated from around the country to start the work. Homes were built and sold to families in need at no profit and no interest. The basic model of Habitat for Humanity was begun.


In 1973, the Fullers decided to apply the Fund for Humanity concept in developing countries. The Fuller family moved to Mbandaka, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo.) The Fullers' goal was to offer affordable yet adequate shelter to 2,000 people. After three years of hard work to launch a successful house building program, the Fullers returned to the United States.

Expansion into Habitat for Humanity International

In September 1976, Millard and Linda called together a group of supporters to discuss the future of their dream. Habitat for Humanity International as an organization was born at this meeting. The eight years that followed, vividly described in Millard Fuller's book, “Love in the Mortar Joints,” proved that the vision of a housing ministry was workable. Faith, hard work and direction set HFHI on its successful course.

Phenomenal Growth

In 1984, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn took their first Habitat work trip, the Jimmy Carter Work Project, to New York City. Their personal involvement in Habitat's ministry brought the organization national visibility and sparked interest in Habitat's work across the nation. HFHI experienced a dramatic increase in the number of new affiliates around the country.

Habitat Today

Through the work of Habitat, thousands of low-income families have found new hope in the form of affordable housing. Churches, community groups and others have joined together to successfully tackle a significant social problem―decent housing for all. Today, Habitat has helped build or repair more than 600,000 houses and served more than 3 million people around the world.