BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – For the 10th time, hundreds of students, faculty and staff from Indiana University and its Kelley School of Business will team up with us at Habitat to build a new home on campus for a local family, with support from Whirlpool Corporation.
Since 2010, nine other families have benefited from the 10-day blitz builds happening annually across 17th Street from the IU Athletics complex. Bob and Alice Wilmoth of Bloomington soon will join them, receiving the keys to their new home on the field at Memorial Stadium before IU’s homecoming football game against Rutgers University.
A year ago, the Wilmoths watched as last year’s build for Stephanie Rose and her two children unfolded, as they made their way to and from church services at St. Paul’s Catholic Center. While they were impressed with the house being built, they today appreciate even further the meaning behind the effort.
“These students, these volunteers are the most important people in our lives right now and they don’t even realize it yet,” Bob said. “It is amazing that in their short time here as students, they’re leaving a legacy in Bloomington that will last forever.”
Construction will begin Oct. 1 down the street from the stadium at the southeast intersection of 17th Street and Fee Lane. Anyone in the IU community can help build. The public is welcome to attend the house dedication at the building site at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 12. The following morning, weather permitting, the house will be moved to its permanent location.
Many of the students participating are involved with the Kelley Institute for Social Impact, which serves as a hub within the school for socially-conscious undergraduate students who want to make a different in local and global communities through education, service, career development and leadership opportunities.
Whirlpool Corporation has sponsored every campus build since the program’s inception in 2009, and this year marks 20 years of collaboration with Habitat for Humanity. Since 1999, the company has supported Habitat programs across 45 countries with a commitment of more than $107 million and donated a range and refrigerator to every new Habitat home across the U.S. and Canada.
“Bloomington holds a special place in our hearts and it’s an event we look forward to every year,” said Jim Peters, chief financial officer for Whirlpool, who earned an MBA at Kelley in 1998. “We’re excited to be working alongside Indiana University students, faculty and staff to mark the 10th anniversary of this build and give the gift of making memories through family cooking and dinner conversations in their new Habitat home.”
Marc Bitzer, Whirlpool Corporation chairman and chief executive officer, will participate in the dedication, along with leadership from Habitat for Humanity and several homeowners from the past decade of campus builds. The company also has invited Chef Roshara Sanders — better known as “Chef Ro” – to participate. An Army veteran, she grew up in a Habitat house and went on to win the popular Food Network program “Chopped.”
“Whirlpool is an excellent example of a company that strives to make a difference in communities around the globe through social and environmental responsibility,” said Idalene “Idie” Kesner, dean of the IU Kelley School of Business and the Frank P. Popoff Chair of Strategic Management. “For a decade, we’ve been extremely fortunate to provide students, faculty and staff with an opportunity to see Whirlpool’s model at work, while reinforcing Kelley’s commitment to service and thus helping 10 families attain the dream of home ownership.”
The Wilmoths have been living in a temporary apartment while flood repairs are being made to address water damage and mold in their current rental home. After moving around often during their 14 years of marriage, they’re both eager to own their own home and settle somewhere permanent and safe for granddaughter Remy to come and visit.
“Ten years is a milestone we’re very proud of and we are incredibly grateful to Whirlpool, IU and the Kelley School of Business for their continued contributions and commitments to this program, which has helped so many families realize the benefits and stability provided through homeownership,” said Wendi Goodlett, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County.
“Gifts of financial support and time from donors like Whirlpool have a lasting impact for future families as well,” Goodlett added. “As Alice and Bob pay their mortgage and build home equity, their mortgage payments will help fund the materials to serve future Habitat families.”
To qualify for a Habitat home, each family must have the ability to pay a zero-interest mortgage and invest at least 250 hours of “sweat equity” or volunteer hours. The Wilmoths performed much of their sweat equity volunteering at the Habitat ReStore. Bob, who was a carpenter becoming disabled, also put his woodworking skills to good use by re-purposing pine and cedar donated to the store to build bird and bat houses that became a popular item with customers. “It is pretty cool that by building homes for bats and birds, I can in-turn provide a way to build our own house,” he said.