BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Whirlpool Corp. and Habitat for Humanity International are concluding their yearlong House + Home World Tour – which helped develop suitable new housing for people in the Americas, Europe and Asia – where it all started in 2021: at Indiana University Bloomington.
Beginning Oct. 5, students, faculty and staff from IU and the Kelley School of Business are building a new home with a Bloomington family through Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County, with support from Whirlpool Corp.
The build – the 12th one since the partnership began in 2010 – will run through Nov. 5. An official groundbreaking and celebration will take place at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 8 at the building site in Osage Place, Habitat’s third neighborhood in Monroe County.
Local and national Habitat representatives will be joined at the event by volunteers, campus leaders and several current and retired Whirlpool Corp. executives. The executives include those with strong ties to Kelley, such as Jim Peters, its executive vice president and chief financial officer, who earned an MBA in 1998, and retired CEO Jeff Fettig, who earned a bachelor’s degree and MBA before joining the company in 1981.
Homeowner Maria Magno-Perez and her three children will symbolically receive the keys to their new home after the event, on the field at Memorial Stadium before IU’s homecoming football game against the University of Michigan.
Many students participating in the build 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 difference in local and global communities through education, service, career development and leadership opportunities.
More than 2,600 IU students, staff, faculty and alumni have come together to build the previous 11 homes alongside Monroe County families. About 375 people are expected to volunteer this year.
“We are very proud of the students, faculty and staff who support this build. It not only helps a local family but also reinforces the values we stress at the Kelley School,” said Ash Soni, interim dean of the Kelley School and the SungKyunKwan Professor. “Whirlpool Corp. is one of today’s most socially responsible companies, and this experience provides our students with an excellent example to emulate when they take on leadership roles at organizations. We appreciate this opportunity for our students to see social and environmental responsibility in action and up close.”
“This is always a great weekend, working side by side with the homeowner, helping them build their dream house,” Peters said. “This year is especially exciting as we have many of our employees working alongside Kelley School of Business students. It’s a great opportunity for the students to learn more about Whirlpool and potential career opportunities.”
For the Magno-Perez family, it has been a long wait. They were approved to become homeowners in 2019, but their build was delayed by COVID-19 and supply-chain issues for materials.
Magno-Perez, a single mother, works in construction and cleans houses. The family rents a costly apartment where she said the landlord often is slow to make needed repairs.
“One of the dreams of my children is to have their own home, to have their own space,” Magno-Perez said. “I like to be outside, and I look forward to having a little table and being able to hang out with friends and family on my new porch and not be shut in, like I would be in an apartment.”
Families qualify for the Habitat program based on three criteria: need for housing, ability to pay back their affordable mortgage and a willingness to partner. Each adult member living in a Habitat home must invest 250 hours of volunteering, called sweat equity, before closing on their house.
Each home in Osage Place, on the southwest side of Bloomington, is energy efficient and built to net-zero energy capability, including being solar ready.
“We look forward to this special build each fall, and are excited to once again partner with the Whirlpool Corporation, Indiana University and the Kelley School of Business,” said Wendi Goodlett, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County. “We have many opportunities to work with the KISI office throughout the year, but we especially love welcoming new groups of IU students, staff and faculty to build with us.
“We are honored to serve as the start and end point of Whirlpool’s House + Home campaign, and we will be returning to our Osage Place neighborhood to build in partnership with Maria and her children. Thanks to the BuildBetter initiative and Whirlpool’s support, Maria’s home will be equipped with solar panels and will provide an opportunity to immediately decrease her family’s utility expenses and carbon footprint.
“Gifts of financial support and time from donors like Whirlpool create a lasting impact for future families. As Maria begins paying her mortgage and building equity in her home, her mortgage payments will help fund the materials needed to serve future Habitat families.”
Whirlpool Corp. and Habitat for Humanity have partnered for 23 years to build a better world where families have access to safe, decent and affordable housing. As of fiscal year 2022, Whirlpool Corp. has donated more than $136 million in funding and products to Habitat since 1999, including 212,807 appliances like ranges and refrigerators for Habitat homes in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. Together, Whirlpool Corp. and Habitat have served more than 971,000 people around the world.
The public is welcome to attend the groundbreaking ceremony at the building site, at 2023 S. Bernard Drive. Parking will be available at the adjacent RCA Community Park, 1400 W. RCA Park Drive.