After a three-year hiatus, Habitat for Humanity will welcome hundreds of volunteers, staff, community members and country music superstars Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood to don their hard hats once again for the global housing nonprofit’s Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project.
At a press conference in the Queen City this week, Habitat CEO Jonathan Reckford “passed the hammer” to Lauri Mumford, board chair of Habitat for Humanity of the Charlotte Region, to signal the start of the next Carter Work Project, which will be held in Charlotte from Oct. 1-6, 2023. Miles away, wrapping up a stadium tour, Brooks and Yearwood shared their desire and intent to uphold President and Mrs. Carter’s enduring legacy by hosting the event.
The much beloved former president and first lady, who are celebrated as Habitat’s most famous volunteers, are enjoying their retirement in Plains, Georgia, and will not attend the 2023 project. Together, from 1984 until 2019, they served as champions and strong voices for decent, affordable housing around the world, having worked alongside more than 104,000 volunteers in 14 countries to build, renovate and repair 4,390 homes during that time.
“Rosalynn and I are pleased to hear that Habitat for Humanity will continue the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project building homes and hope in partnership with Charlotte families next year,” said President Carter. “Though we will not attend the 2023 project, we are grateful that our dear friends Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood have picked up the hammer and agreed to host the event in our place.”
This Carter Work Project will mark Brooks’ and Yearwood’s thirteenth. They first volunteered with Habitat in 2007 in New Orleans to help build post-Katrina Habitat homes on the Gulf Coast, and since then, have lent their names and support to numerous Habitat events and projects. Along with the Carters, Yearwood and Brooks were recognized as Habitat Humanitarians in 2016.
“Though we could never fill their shoes, we are so incredibly honored to be given the opportunity to carry President and Mrs. Carter’s legacy forward through the continuation of the Carter Work Project,” Brooks said.
Over five days, future homeowners will work alongside Brooks, Yearwood, and hundreds of other volunteers from Charlotte and around the world to build 20 homes on nine acres of land off Morris Field Drive, which formerly housed an all-black school that was a transformative education and civic space for the black community in the early 1900s through the mid-60s.
Habitat for Humanity of the Charlotte Region broke ground on the project Sept. 8, 2021. With seven homes already under construction, the entire 39-home project is expected to be completed by early 2025.
“The Carter Work Project was last held in Charlotte 35 years ago, not long after the city demolished Plato Price School. It is striking and significant to have the opportunity to rebuild and revitalize an area that was once an important keystone for the Black community in Charlotte,” Reckford said. “As the Carters have stepped out of public life, I am so grateful that Garth and Trisha have picked up the mantle to set an example of servant leadership and inspire people to join Habitat in advancing our mission of building a world where everyone has a safe, decent and affordable place to live.”
The Meadows at Plato Price community development project is estimated to be the Habitat for Humanity of the Charlotte Region’s largest to date. The City of Charlotte donated the land to the organization, along with community development block grant funding. Ally Charitable Foundation, The Merancas Foundation and Myers Park United Methodist Church each matched the City’s principal investment of $1M. Funds raised through the 2023 Carter Work Project are expected to contribute substantially to the Plato Price project and the ongoing work of Habitat Charlotte Region.
“The example set by President and Mrs. Carter on how to care for those in our community in need of housing is inspiring, said Laura Belcher, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of the Charlotte Region. “It is an honor to be selected to be part of that story and to carry on their legacy as we enter our 40th year in Charlotte.”
Habitat for Humanity of the Charlotte Region has served more than 3,500 families in the City of Charlotte, Pineville, Lake Norman area and Iredell County since it was founded in 1983.