Reflecting the company’s core values, a percentage from each Keystone Custom Homes sale goes to HOPE International, a non-profit charitable network of microfinance institutions founded by Keystone Custom Homes CEO, Jeff Rutt, in 1997 in Lancaster, Pa. Only 13 years later, the now worldwide organization currently serves over 265,000 active clients. By providing small business loans and basic business training, HOPE empowers individuals to defeat poverty while preserving dignity. Because poverty disproportionately affects women and their children, HOPE International concentrates over 80 percent of its efforts on women. Jeff Rutt’s ongoing leadership of HOPE earned him the national Hearthstone Builder Humanitarian Award in 2008.
Posts Tagged ‘HOPE International’
Over the past several years, I have had the immense privilege of traveling with each of my children to visit HOPE’s work in person, giving them the opportunity to witness firsthand the transformation that takes place when the poor receive the capital they need to invest in their businesses. This past summer, my youngest daughter, Leah, and I traveled to Rwanda, Burundi, and Ukraine: three countries where we witnessed God at work in amazing ways. In Burundi*, we met Anastasia, a client who first started out with a $50 loan. With that money, Anastasia bought 20 chairs, which she then rented out to people for their events. As she worked hard, saved, and continued taking out loans, she has expanded her inventory to include not only 200 chairs but also baskets, plates, a stereo system, and three wedding dresses in three different sizes. The innovation and determination she has shown is inspiring. Because of her increased profits, she has been able to adopt two girls whose parents were killed in the recent civil war. Anastasia dreams of sending these two girls to the university to get an education—thus continuing this transformation into future generations.
In Chaplino, Ukraine, we were part of a group volunteering at an English-teaching Bible camp hosted by the Tomorrow Clubs, a children’s ministry funded in part by the profits from HOPE Ukraine’s ministry. In our week there, we saw 43 kids trust Jesus Christ as their Savior. By the end of the week, the pastor of the local church was so excited with the potential of these camps that he started pleading with us to start a weekly Tomorrow Club in that town. His congregation was mainly composed of elderly individuals, and he envisioned the increased impact of his church if they were able to reach all these children and their parents. One of the members of our group was similarly excited by this vision, immediately donating the $500 needed to fund a Tomorrow Club. Traveling with my daughter Leah, I was struck anew with how blessed I’ve been to have always had the opportunity to provide for my children. We met client after client expressing incredible gratitude because they are now able to provide for their children through their businesses, rather than relying on others. The dignity and the hope that we saw on their faces was beautiful, and I am so grateful for everyone who has partnered with HOPE, impacting entire communities through clients like Anastasia and initiatives like the Tomorrow Clubs.
Please check out this blog: http://www.homes4hope.org/
Homes for Hope began as a program of HOPE International in early 1999, when HOPE’s founder, Jeff Rutt, was searching for ways to support HOPE International as it expanded to alleviate poverty in some of the poorest places on earth, now including countries such as Haiti, Rwanda, Afghanistan, Ukraine, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Because he was a homebuilder by trade (founder of Keystone Custom Homes), Jeff approached his trade partners—the subcontractors, suppliers, and consultants who helped him build homes—and asked them if they would help him generate revenue for HOPE International’s mission by doing what they all did best…building a home. These Keystone trade partners, under Jeff’s leadership, established the Homes for Hope program. Since that time Homes for Hope has developed into a separate 501(c)(3) organization and has raised over $10,000,000 in support of HOPE International’s microenterprise work around the world. Homes for Hope currently operates in nine states across the country, typically in affiliation with a local homebuilding association in each area a Home for Hope is built.
A video of a local news channel from awhile back, to show how HOPE was started and is quickly becoming one of the best charities in the United States!
It is hardly news that Grand Homes has a new home for sale in Mansfield, particularly in this housing market. But this three-bedroom home with 2,100 square feet of living space stands out from others on the market.
When it is sold for about $170,000, every dime will go to Homes for HOPE, which raises money for HOPE International to fund microenterprise loans of $45 to $200. The loans are designed to help hundreds of people start or expand small businesses in countries such as the Congo, Haiti and Afghanistan.
Stephen Brooks, Grand’s CEO, agreed to build the home in Mansfield when a Pennsylvania homebuilder, Jeff Rutt, told him about HOPE, which Rutt had started. That was 18 months ago when the housing market in Texas was strong. By the time Grand, dozens of contractors and the Home Builders Association of Greater Dallas (HBA) started building the structure, the housing market had softened. Brooks expected that some of the contractors would bail out on their commitments to build a house for free. But none did.
Mike Lennon, who heads Homes for HOPE, expected Grand and its contractors “to tell us to come back next year. And some [builders] around the country have. But Grand didn’t. It is an amazing story.”
A total of 60 homes have been built in nine states, raising $10 million.
When the Mansfield structure was finished, Grand thought it had a buyer. But then tragedy stuck. The family buying the home was hit in a car accident, and the family’s 2-year-old son suffered a brain injury that hospitalized him and required the mother to leave her job. That resulted in the family being unable to buy the house.
But that wasn’t the end of the story. Grand donated $10,000 for the family’s medical expenses and put the house up for sale again.
“That’s the kind of stuff we can’t get enough of,” Lennon says of Grand Homes’ generosity.
Rutt started HOPE and Homes for HOPE after he went to the Ukraine to deliver food and supplies. A local minister asked Rutt not to bring more supplies because it undercut local businesses.
Rutt then decided to launch HOPE, which is similar to the microenterprise program made famous by Nobel Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus in Bangladesh. HOPE now makes loans in 14 of the world’s poorest countries. It has about 265,000 clients. And its repayment rate of 99.6 percent would make any banker drool.
“It is a hand up, not a hand out,” Lennon says.
Grand, which was named the HBA’s Builder of the Year this year, has supported a variety of local charities from fighting cancer to hurricane relief. It has built and donated a house in Mexico. Grand staffers built a house for Habitat for Humanity. But Brooks and his team are even more excited about the Homes for HOPE program.
“We are so blessed. We will do it again,” Brooks says.
Appropriately, it is part of the company’s program, called Grand Beginnings.
It was a great honor and privilege to be recognized by the Senate of Pennsylvania for my accomplishments as a home builder and for my work with Hope International. Here is a transcript of the letter I received from Senator Gibson E. Armstrong!
February 12, 2008
Whereas, Jeffrey C. Rutt, owner and President of Keystone Custom Homes, Inc., is being honored with the 2008 Hearthstone BUILDER Humanitarian Award; and
Whereas, Mr. Rutt is founder of HOPE International, a Lancaster-based microfinance institution that empowers those living in need around the world to overcome many barriers through the provision of microloans, savings services, training and mentoring. Using his own funds, he founded the organization in 1997. Mr Rutt continues to be actively involved with HOPE International not only as a donor but also by serving as Chairman of its Board of Trustees; and Whereas, To Mr. Rutt’s great credit, Keystone Custom Homes, Inc has been awarded “Builder Magazine’s” America’s Best Home Builder award three times. He has also served as President of the Lancaster Building Industry Association and chaired local committees and boards. Additionally his contributions to local and international causes have been substantive.
Now therefore, the Senate of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania congratulates Jeffrey C. Rutt on the great honor which has been bestowed upon him; affirmatively states that his noble humanitarian endeavors will long be remembered and appreciated;
And directs that a copy of this document, sponsored by Senator Gibson E. Armstrong, be transmitted to Jeffrey C. Rutt.
I received another extraordinary letter of recognition from the Governor of Pennsylvania on receiving the Hearthstone Builder Humanitarian Award. It was such an honor to not only receive the award but also to be the recipient of this wonderful letter. As I continue my work with Keystone Custom Homes and HOPE International, it is my hope to make Pennsylvania and the world a better place for many.
To: Jeff Rutt
It is my pleasure to join with Hearthstone and Builder Magazine in congratulating you on receiving the Hearthstone BUILDER Humanitarian Award. This is a well-deserved honor and one that I know you will accept with your customary humility and dignity.
It is among our commonwealth’s most honorable traditions to serve one’s fellow citizens and ensure that all may enjoy the benefits of liberty, prosperity and happiness. You have accepted this challenge and demonstrated an extraordinary caliber of character and leadership that will strengthen us all as we work together to forget bold paths to a new Pennsylvania.
With your philanthropy in the home building industry, you established HOPE International, a global, faith-based, non-profit organization focused on poverty alleviation through microenterprise development. HOPE International has invested in the dreams of the poor in the worlds underserved communities so that they might be released from physical and spiritual poverty.
Throughout your career, you have surpassed the highest expectations and ideals of of citizenship and have already accomplished goals beyond what many will reach in a lifetime. Your achievements have rightfully earned you the respect and recognition of your colleagues, community and our entire commonwealth. I thank you for being an inspiration and outstanding role model for Pennsylvania and everyone your work has touched.
As Governor and on behalf of all Pennsylvanians, I offer my gratitude and admiration for all you have given to Pennsylvania and the impact you have had on the lives of countless citizens throughout the world. Congratulations on receiving this prestigious award. May you continue to experience great success in all of your future endeavors.
Edward G. Rendell
March 13, 2008
Through careers in farming, a food plant, construction, and real estate, the creator of the HOPE Growth and Income Endowment saw what it took to succeed in various business endeavors. Although the industries were different, much of what success required remained the same: hard work, frugality, and wise financial planning. Through extensive involvement with HOPE International, the anonymous donor has seen these same traits propelling HOPE’s clients to success in fourteen countries around the world.
Even in the midst of an economic downturn that threatened the existence of many non-profits, the donor allocated forty percent of his generous 2009 donation to establish the HOPE Growth and Income Endowment Fund. His purpose was to provide HOPE with a fund that can be used to increase its financial stability in the years ahead, even while providing funds for current microloans.
Through extensive research, the donor knew that there are many effective ways to make a long-term impact through legacy giving. In the past, he has written charitable gift annuities for other organizations, but for HOPE International he did something he had never done before by creating the endowment. “Transferring assets into HOPE’S endowment has huge income tax and estate tax benefits. This is a tool that will enable donors to give more to help HOPE in their lifetime,” he explained.
With the endowment’s dual goals of growth and income, contributed funds are invested in quality, income-producing securities. Seventy percent of the interest and dividend earnings are used to support HOPE’s mission, with the remaining thirty percent used to grow the endowment, which will then increase its annual earnings. “The HOPE Growth and Income Endowment will create an efficient, long-lasting way to use a donor’s gifts that will grow tax-free and provide annual income to HOPE in perpetuity,” said the endowment’s founder.
The donor’s generosity and forward-thinking benefit HOPE as an institution, but ultimately it’s our clients who benefit. “HOPE makes very good use of its donors’ gifts by providing microloans that are then repaid, allowing the initial funds to be reused again and again,” he says. In the years to come, HOPE looks forward to reaching many entrepreneurs through the support of the HOPE Growth and Income Endowment.
As HOPE’s founder and as a businessman, I know the importance of planning for a strong financial future. HOPE is pleased to be able to accept legacy gifts and grateful to those who wish to partner with us in making a difference through long-term giving. For more information on how you can get involved, please visit www.hopeinternational.org and select “Make an Impact.” – Jeff Rutt