The Fuller Center for Housing brings volunteers and local businesses together to provide affordable housing across the country and around the world. It’s a way for hardware retailers to support charitable efforts within their field of expertise — and it’s a way for them to help their community prosper. Bill Lee, who is chairman of the Fuller Center’s board of directors and president and CEO of the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA), keeps the Fuller Center connected to these businesses and gives back to a cause that he’s personally passionate about.
“The Fuller Center seeks to provide affordable housing to those in need,” says Lee. “It’s a cause that fits perfectly with our home improvement industry and our independent hardware stores, home centers and lumberyards.”
The Fuller Center was created in 2005 by Millard and Linda Fuller, who also launched Habitat for Humanity in 1976. With the Fuller Center, the Fullers wanted to create a faith-based mission to continue the home-building work that was being done all around the world. The Fuller Center currently works in 70 communities in the United States and 16 countries across the globe through a network of local organizations.
These local organizations, known as “covenant partners,” help the Fuller Center to treat each community individually. By keeping things local, the Fuller Center becomes an ideal partner for small hardware retailers looking to give back.
“Our grassroots principles and our belief that local covenant partners know best how to build up their communities makes us a natural partner for small retailers and mom-and-pop stores across the nation,” says Chris Johnson, director of communications for the Fuller Center. “We have had many stores donate everything from paint to lumber and shingles.”
For his part, Lee is enthusiastic about the opportunities to connect the work of the Fuller Center with the work of the NRHA. This summer, the NRHA is supporting the Fuller Center’s Bicycle Adventure, in which bicyclists ride 4,000 miles across the country — from California to Maine — and stop in several communities along the way to serve.
“NRHA is providing five $1,000 grants to be used at the five stops the group will make,” Lee says. “During their stop, the bike group will present a $1,000 grant to the Fuller Center to be spent at their local independent retailer to purchase materials for their project.”
In this way, Lee hopes to create relationships between local Fuller Center organizations and the hardware stores in their community. With this program, and others that the NRHA sponsors for the Fuller Center, local retailers can offer expertise, supplies and support for affordable housing in their communities. For more information about the Fuller Center, visit www.fullercenter.org.
Independent We Stand is dedicated to helping independent businesses across the country engage their communities and encouraging customers to buy local. If you’re a business owner, get buy local resources, tips and news by registering at www.independentwestand.org/membership/. Your business will also be included in our ‘locals only’ search engine and mobile app. If you’re a consumer, take the pledge to buy local and find local businesses in your community at www.independentwestand.org/take-a-stand/join-the-movement/.