Millionaire Out-Housing Habitat (Part 1)

pirelli.jpg Fortune Small Business (FSB) recently ran a feature on Tom Pirelli, a “newly wealthy entrepreneur” who is investing a million dollars a year to prove he can substantially exceed the number and quality of homes Habitat for Humanity builds for the poor. The goal of his Arial Foundation: to build four times as many homes in ten years as Habitat has built in 30.

Habitat has a well-deserved reputation but, characteristic of today’s new philanthropists, Pirelli is bringing his gifts to outperforming an undisputed champion using an enhanced business model. Through economies of scale, and manufacturing plants to be built in Mexico and then around the world, Pirelli’s modular housing units will reduce the price of a home with shower, toilet, kitchen, vinyl floor and ceiling fans to $5,000! In an even more radical departure from Humanity, FSB reports that “in the future, local workers will replace volunteer builders, filling jobs as they provide shelter.”

More homes and more jobs for the poor. What’s not to love, right?

Check in tomorrow for one take on how Perelli's radical improvements are likely to be viewed in light of outmoded principles still dominating the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors.

Susan Herr

Posted at 1:08 AM, Aug 16, 2007 in Cross-Sectoral Strategies | Economic Development | Global Philanthropy | High Net Worth Donors | Philanthropic Strategy | Social Entreprenuers | Permalink | Comment