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.