From the August, 2014 issue
International Samaritan--the Ann Arbor-based charity that works with Third World kids growing up in garbage dumps--is moving up in the world. This summer, it moved into a Victorian house on the corner of N. Main and Summit that was listed for sale at $399,000.
IS founder Fr. Don Vettese explains that their new headquarters is a gift from founding board members Karen and Bill Pulte. Bill is the founder of Pulte Homes, the nation's largest home builder. "They've watched us grow," Vettese says, "and they were impressed with how much we got done with a small office. I asked them on my birthday in Florida, and it took them maybe two minutes to say yes.
"We outgrew our old headquarters on S. Ashley," Vettese explains. "People were literally bumping into each other in the hallways--and we have a dog that weighs eighty-five pounds!" When IS moved into a house near the Washtenaw Dairy in 2006, it had a U.S. staff of three, one of them part-time. Now it has seven full-timers, another position shared three ways, and a couple of part-time communications people. Eight more people work in seven Third World countries: "In Guatemala, we have a nursery next to a dump for 400 kids, a grade school for 300 kids, a middle school with 300 kids, and a housing project with 200 homes," Vettese says.
The Ashley St. house--a gift from another donor--is up for sale. "It's in great condition and in a great location right across the street from the new apartment house." Vettese points out.
So how much are they asking?
"What a question!!!!!!," Vettese replies by email. "I want at least 10 million dollars but I would take 215,000.
"It'll be worth more next year but we want to sell it," he adds. "We're not landlords."
[Originally published in August, 2014.]
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