Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1976 but the story of its origins begins several years earlier in Koinonia Farm, Americus, Georgia.
In 1968, businessman Millard Fuller and his wife Linda moved to Koinonia Farm. Two years previously they had given up their successful business and affluent lifestyle to live a simple life.
Koinonia (the Greek word for fellowship) Farm is a community that was founded by Clarence Jordan in the 1940s, which works to create a society based on shared values and equality. At this time, this was an extremely radical idea, as the community accepted people of all genders, races, orientations and classes.
Surrounding the farmland were poor farmers with no hope of acquiring decent housing. Eager to address this need, Clarence and Millard developed the concept of ‘Partnership Housing’. The concept brought those in need of adequate shelter to work alongside volunteers to build simple, decent houses.
In 1968, Koinonia began allocating land for houses, as well as a recreational area. A basic model was developed of building houses together out of a shared, revolving fund (a Fund for Humanity), and then selling them on for no profit.
In 1973, content that there were enough people left behind to continue the work in Georgia, the Fullers moved to Zaire in order to apply the Fund for Humanity model to a developing world country. After 3 years of work, they achieved their goal of working alongside the local people to build 2,000 houses.
In 1976 the Fullers returned to their hometown in Georgia. They met with friends to reflect on their time spent in Zaire, and to discuss how their model of partnered housing could be expanded. It was out of this meeting that Habitat for Humanity was born. Habitat’s first affiliate outside Georgia was in San Antonio, Texas.