Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King & Kittitas Counties joins Habitat International in mourning the passing of Rosalynn Carter. And, while we mourn the loss of her light, we celebrate her decades of inspiration for and dedication to the notion that everyone deserves a safe, decent, and affordable place to call home.
Rosalynn and former President Jimmy Carter found that Habitat for Humanity’s mission aligned with their own values in 1984, when they joined the then fledgling organization. In September of that year, the Carters led a Habitat for Humanity work group to New York, serving 19 families in need of safe, affordable housing. That was the inaugural Carter Work Project. In the decades since then, the Carters have inspired millions, working alongside more than 104,000 volunteers in 14 countries to build, renovate and repair 4,390 homes. The Carters went on to create global awareness of Habitat’s mission, helping the organization expand its work into local communities across all 50 states and in 70 countries.
Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter became Habitat’s best-known volunteers, earning them inaugural membership in Habitat Humanitarians in 2016. Habitat Humanitarians is a group of volunteers who also serve as tireless champions, advocates, and spokespeople to raise awareness of the need for decent, affordable shelter in the U.S. and around the world.
“Over the years, she blessed us with her compassion for serving others and commitment to improving housing conditions around the world,” says Habitat International CEO Jonathan Reckford. “Mrs. Carter helped change the lives of thousands of homeowners, empowered countless women, and inspired millions of people.”
Mrs. Carter’s example infused Puget Sound area Habitat volunteers with enthusiasm for helping others, and we’ve shared in the joy she celebrated that comes from witnessing new Habitat homeowners receive their keys. When asked what kept her engaged in Habitat year after year, Mrs. Carter said, “If you could see the expression on the faces of the people when we give them a Bible and the keys to their house, you would know why. It is just so inspiring. It is really emotional. We always cry. It’s the families that keep us going.”
Habitat for Humanity King & Kittitas Counties CEO Brett D’Antonio is certain our regional chapter will continue to draw inspiration from Mrs. Carter’s dedication, “Rosalynn believed that her work with Habitat made her a better person, and she endorsed volunteering to build homes as a life changing experience.”
The Carters impact on Habitat for Humanity goes on. The next Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project will take place in Twin Cities, MN in September 2024.
Habitat for Humanity International has created an online Memory Book for anyone to post their memories of Mrs. Carter. Post your memories at: https://www.habitat.org/honoringrosalynncarter/memory-book
For more on Rosalynn Carter’s history with Habitat: https://www.habitat.org/honoringrosalynncarter