The Pulte Family Charitable Foundation: A Cornerstone of Support
To build a good home requires a strong foundation—one that every family member can trust for the support they need to grow and succeed in life. Unfortunately, many of the young people who find shelter at Mercy Home for Boys & Girls come to us from homes fractured by abuse, neglect, and hardship, with nary a foundation to stand upon.
But thanks to the generous support of our friends at the Pulte Family Charitable Foundation, Mercy Home’s network of therapeutic care helps repair those cracks. And as our young people heal from past trauma, they find their footing on solid ground and establish new foundations.
Guided by the belief in the inherent dignity of all persons, the Pulte Family Charitable Foundation works to meet the basic human needs of the most marginalized communities, stateside and abroad. Above all, the foundation serves through the Seven Corporal Works of Mercy: feed the hungry; give drink to the thirsty; clothe the naked; care for the captives; shelter the homeless; visit the sick; and assist the mourning.
“The concepts of ‘family’ and ‘home’ are at the core of our mission,” says Nancy Pulte Rickard, President of the Pulte Family Charitable Foundation. “Whether it is helping kids in crisis in Chicago find a safe harbor or migrant families in Immokalee, Florida get out of grossly overcrowded container houses, or helping people get out of living in garbage dumps in developing countries—this is what we aspire to do.”
The Pulte family certainly knows what it takes to build a good home. William (Bill) Pulte—Nancy’s late father—founded the PulteGroup Inc., one of the largest home construction and real estate companies in the U.S. with operations in over 40 major cities.
The concepts of ‘family’ and ‘home’ are at the core of our mission,
In 1951—when he was just 18—Bill completed his first single-family home near Detroit’s City Airport where his career took flight. Over the course of the next 60 years, until his retirement in 2010, Bill created a lasting legacy that helped sculpt the American Dream for a generation of baby boomers, who purchased affordable Pulte homes through each stage in life: starter, family, and retirement. As the PulteGroup Inc. skyrocketed into a Fortune 500 company, Bill, however, remained a generous and charitable man, guided by his faith, his family, and a moral responsibility to help others in need by sharing his wealth.
“He taught each of his children, from a very young age, about philanthropy and how to be a philanthropic person with either your time, treasure, or talent,” said Nancy. “He believed wholeheartedly ‘to whom much is given, much will be required.’”
Such philanthropic lessons became a family tradition, especially during Christmastime in the Pulte household, which included 14 children. Instead of lavishing each child with gifts, he saw a golden opportunity to teach them about sharing.
“They decided that Christmas was going to be something completely new to everybody,” Nancy recalled. “There would be one gift for everybody under the tree—the same present for the five year old and for the fifteen year old. The first year was one of those five-dollar roll-up sleds.”
Eventually, a new tradition emerged. Every Thanksgiving, each child selected a sibling’s name out of a hat and had to make—not buy—a Christmas present for that person. Nancy fondly remembers many of those gifts—scarves, scrapbooks, macramé, and painted rocks to name a few. To this day, she has some of these gifts, like the painting her artist brother made of two kids holding hands in the snow, which hangs in her cottage.
Bill and his wife also decided to pool all the money they would have spent on gifts for their children and use those funds on family Christmas projects to help those in need.
“We did those Christmas projects for 18 years,” said Nancy. “We would go to facilities for people with mental and physical disabilities, or to nursing homes and organize Christmas parties for them with gifts and carols. We’d find families in need from different communities and we’d be responsible for getting their names, getting their ages and sizes, and going shopping for gifts.”
Learning these philanthropic lessons at such a young age left an impression on Nancy—one that remains a common thread in her faith, her marriage, her family, and the Pulte Family Charitable Foundation.
“The part of our foundation’s mission that resonates with me the most is to take care of the most vulnerable of citizens, domestic or global,” she said. “The children whom Mercy Home serve certainly represent an increasing population of vulnerable people. Standing up for the underdog and the less fortunate—those values were important to my dad.”
The children whom Mercy Home serve certainly represent an increasing population of vulnerable people. Standing up for the underdog and the less fortunate—those values were important to my dad.
As a daily communicant for over 60 years, Bill tried to live his life for God—a devotion that echoes within the Pulte Family Charitable Foundation to this day.
“Our Catholic faith inspires the board and myself, specifically the social teachings on Integral Human Development,” said Nancy. “While I don’t think this concept is unique to anyone’s faith, the Church has always been at the forefront of promoting the good of every person and the whole person in the realms of cultural, economic, political, social, and spiritual.”
Nancy added: “My faith is everything to me, which drives me in our work. Through our grantees, you see Jesus with skin on. To me that is humbling and powerful. Every day we get a front-row seat to how God is working his miracles in the world. It is pretty extraordinary.”
Likewise, at Mercy Home, we get to witness the powerful impact that the generous support of Pulte Family Charitable Foundation has upon our young people. Every day, we see our boys and girls reach new milestones along their path of healing. To see them discover their own resiliency, promise, and potential is truly extraordinary.
The Pulte Family Charitable Foundation continues to show that, when it comes to building a good home with a strong foundation, compassion and unconditional love are the most important materials. This bond, Nancy says, is what unites the Pulte Family Charitable Foundation and Mercy Home.
“We both seek to promote the good of every person and the whole person,” Nancy said. “What Mercy Home does, we do as well. The Pulte Family Charitable Foundation is just a different vehicle. Everybody does their own part.”