IU and Whirlpool partnering on Habitat for Humanity campus build Sept. 12-21 at Bloomington

  • Sept. 10, 2013


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Students, faculty and alumni at Indiana University will again work together on a new Habitat for Humanity home for a Bloomington man who has overcome what others might see as a "disability" to live an independent life.

Work on Chris Schaaf's home will begin Thursday and will continue amid the activity of two home football game weekends, including IU's game Saturday against Bowling Green State University.

Schaaf will receive the keys to his new home a week later, on the field at Memorial Stadium, before the Hoosiers' Sept. 21 game against the University of Missouri. His new home will be dedicated three hours before the 8 p.m. kickoff.

This will be the fourth consecutive year Whirlpool Corp. has sponsored a home build on the Bloomington campus in a joint effort with IU, its Kelley School of Business and Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County.

This blitz build takes place next to the home of the IU Alumni Association, the Virgil T. DeVault Alumni Center at 1000 E. 17th St. After construction, the house will be moved to a permanent location in Bloomington.

"I cherish my personal relationship with Habitat for Humanity as a longtime volunteer and board member, and am delighted that the campus has continued to partner with Whirlpool to support this fantastic organization," said IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel. "I can think of no better way to bring the campus and community together than to partner with Habitat to help a wonderful local family become homeowners."

Schaaf, a champion golfer in Special Olympics, works as a bagger at Marsh supermarkets and is a regular volunteer at the Habitat ReStore, where he helps with donation intake, loads furniture and works with power tools.

His parents, Linda and Larry, said they have always encouraged Chris to be self-sufficient and look beyond what others might see as a disability. When Chris shared his dream of home ownership Linda said they knew they had to find a way of making it happen.

"We know a lot of other people with children with disabilities and they see Chris, coming as far as he has, getting all the way to home ownership. We say focus more on the ability than the disability," she said. "Nothing is impossible in this world and Chris is proof."

Kerry Thomson, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County, echoed Robel and Schaaf's comments.

"Chris has worked very hard and has been supported by his incredible parents, Linda and Larry, in order to achieve his dream of owning a home. Whirlpool Corp. and the Kelley School of Business coming together again to make that dream possible is going to make this build even more special for him and his family," Thomson said. "Whirlpool has always been at the forefront of corporate philanthropy. Each year this build continues to demonstrate Whirlpool and IU’s commitment to improving our community by changing one family’s future."

More than 400 students will volunteer to be part of the build, along with IU faculty, administrators and alumni.

The build is part of Whirlpool-sponsored Habitat builds taking place throughout the United States in 2013 and their ongoing initiative to donate a range and Energy Star-qualified refrigerator to every new Habitat home in the U.S. and Canada.

Jeff Fettig, Whirlpool's chairman and chief executive officer and an IU Kelley School alumnus, will participate in the home's dedication.

"For the fourth consecutive year, Whirlpool is proud to partner with IU to build a home for a Bloomington family. We’ve seen firsthand the joy home ownership brings to families and Whirlpool is pleased to contribute," said Chris Ball, general manager, laundry business team and another IU Kelley graduate.

"It’s also a unique opportunity to meet the next generation of the workforce as we live our corporate social responsibility philosophy. The interview-by-hardhat approach is a fresh way to connect with talented students who share our values and commitment to giving back to the communities of which we’re a part," Ball added.

Whirlpool Corp., one of Habitat for Humanity International's top corporate partners, has sponsored more than 100 homes and served more than 95,500 families around the world since the partnership began in 1999.

Schaaf applied to Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County after learning about their home ownership program through the Bloomington Housing Authority. Accepted last September, he and his parents dove into Habitat's educational courses and he has worked hard to earn his "sweat equity."

Chris' parents said he was a "pretty independent guy to begin with," but working with Habitat has helped him to become more independent and to show a natural inclination to learn new things.

On a recent build, Chris and Larry hung dry wall for an entire house and helped with painting and landscaping. "We saw a Christopher we'd never seen before, doing things he'd never done before," Larry said.

Anyone in the IU community can participate in the upcoming campus build. Those interested should contact Molly Barwick at the Kelley School's Institute for Social Impact at 812-856-7852 or KISI@indiana.edu.

About Monroe County Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County is a nonprofit housing ministry dedicated to building decent, affordable housing in partnership with those in need in Monroe County, Ind. Since 1988, this affiliate has built more than 135 homes in partnership with local families.

About Indiana University Bloomington
Indiana University Bloomington is known internationally for outstanding research, as well as for the quality of its undergraduate and graduate programs. With 42,000 students from more than 125 countries, the campus offers a dynamic academic and cultural experience in a traditional campus environment that includes Big Ten sports and the Little 500 bicycle race. The campus has been called one of the "most wired" campuses in the United States because of its commitment to emerging technologies.

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is a global nonprofit Christian housing organization that seeks to put God’s love into action by bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope. Since 1976, Habitat has served more than 500,000 families by welcoming people of all races, religions and nationalities to construct, rehabilitate or preserve homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions. For more information, to donate or to volunteer, please visit www.habitat.org, or follow at www.facebook.com/habitat or at www.twitter.com/habitat_org or join Habitat’s blog community at www.habitat.org/blog.

About Whirlpool Corp.
In more than 12 years of partnership with Habitat for Humanity, Whirlpool Corp. has donated more than 140,000 ranges and Energy Star-qualified refrigerators to new Habitat homes built in North America, serving 71,000 families. The company has sponsored more than 100 homes around the world and served more than 24,500 families in Europe alone. Additionally, Whirlpool has donated more than 28,000 products to Habitat ReStore resale outlets in the United States, helping to raise over $4.6 million. A proud sponsor of Habitat's Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project since 2003, the value of the company's commitment to Habitat nears $78 million. With active partnerships in 40 countries, Whirlpool has engaged 8,000 employee volunteers and plans to support the work of Habitat around the world through product donations, financial contribution or volunteerism.

Whirlpool Corp. is the world's leading manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances, with annual sales of more than $19 billion in 2011, 68,000 employees and 65 manufacturing and technology research centers around the world. The company markets Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Amana, Brastemp, Consul, Bauknecht and other major brand names to consumers in nearly every country around the world.

Related Links

More than 400 IU students will be part of this year's campus Habitat build

More than 400 IU students will be part of this year's campus Habitat build

Print-Quality Photo

Larry and Chris Schaaf regularly volunteer at Habitat's restore

Larry and Chris Schaaf regularly volunteer at Habitat's restore

Print-Quality Photo

Media Contacts

George Vlahakis

  • IU Communications
  • Office 812-855-0846
  • Cell 812-345-1500
  • vlahakis@iu.edu
  • IU Inc.

Meagan Niese

  • Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County
  • Office 812-331-4069
  • niese@monroecountyhabitat.org

Whirlpool Media Line 

  • Office 269-923-7405
  • media@whirlpool.com