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San Francisco – November 20, 2023 – We join the world in mourning the passing of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter and thanking her for her incredible life of service. She touched the hearts of millions with her warmth, generosity, and genuine compassion. For more than 35 years, Mrs. Carter and her husband, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, have been devoted Habitat for Humanity volunteers and affordable housing champions.
Mrs. Carter has always been keenly aware of the power a home has in changing lives. As she once said, “When somebody has a home, they don’t have to struggle as much to find a place to stay. They have more time for family, more time for children. It is just life changing.”
President and Mrs. Carter first volunteered with Habitat in 1984 and continued volunteering nearly every year after. They worked tirelessly to raise awareness about the need for adequate and affordable housing. Mrs. Carter often mentioned how she and President Carter got so much more out of helping families build their homes than they gave. “It is really emotional. We always cry. It’s the families that keep us going,” said Mrs. Carter.
Here in the Bay Area, Mrs. Carter joined projects in Oakland and San Jose in 2013. In fact, our chapter, Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco, was started in 1989 because of a chance encounter between our founder Steve Jacoby and the former First Lady. At the time, Steve was an airline pilot and met Mrs. Carter on a flight from Atlanta to San Francisco. He asked the First Lady why there wasn’t a Habitat affiliate in San Francisco and she answered plainly and directly: because he hadn’t started one yet. Today our affiliate celebrates 33 years of transforming families lives and moving the needle proudly for more BIPOC families to become first-time homeowners in the Bay Area.
“When people think of Habitat, they often think of President Carter, but Mrs. Carter was just as much of a Habitat hero. She generously and tirelessly devoted her voice, time and energy to building and advocating for affordable housing. She is an inspiration for how we can help others and deliver real change with humility and grace. We are extraordinarily grateful to Mrs. Carter for helping make our Greater San Francisco chapter a reality and in so doing changing the lives of countless Bay Area families. Her legacy will live on through all of us at Habitat,” said Maureen Sedonaen, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco.