In January 2008, Grisham approached Millard Fuller, founder of the newly formed Fuller Center for Housing, and committed to donating a minimum of $100,000 in 2008. But this gift came in the form of a challenge: TFCH had to raise a matching amount from new donors and current supporters.
“Millard Fuller called and asked if we wanted half of the grant and we said absolutely,” said Fuller Center of Webster Director Charlie Park.
With their $50,000 challenge met, the Fuller Center of Webster Parish can now receive a matching grant.
“We have raised more than $50,000 and funds are still coming in,” said Park.
The $50,000 raised by Fuller Center of Webster can be utilized for any of the numerous building projects on the horizon. However, Grisham’s donation is earmarked for Hurricane Katrina evacuees.
“Mr. Grisham specified that his contribution must be used for (Hurricane) Katrina evacuees,” said Park.
A second home for a Hurricane Katrina evacuee will be built next to the one Grisham is funding. Funds for the second house were given by Wes and Jean Wheeler, of Georgia, who also wished to reach out to Katrina victims.
Both donations will be used during an upcoming project code named, “Red, White and Blue Build.” The build will take place June 30 through July 20. Homeowners chosen for this “Red, White, and Blue Build” are Julie Johnson and her son and his family, Kevin and Gretchen Johnson and their son Kevin, Jr. Both families moved to Minden in September 2005 after Hurricane Katrina wiped out their homes in the 9th Ward in New Orleans.
Park also expressed heartfelt appreciation to Grisham and the Wheelers, who will be invited to participate in a dedication ceremony once the homes are completed.
The other half of the matching grant was offered to the Fuller Center of North Louisiana, which is headquartered in Shreveport.