Building Hope

It was a cool November morning when the first piece of ground was pierced on a lot in Deer Valley subdivision. It is just another hole that will widen as the weeks go by, until eventually the foundation can be poured, the base flooring can be laid, and the drywall installed. Once the finishing touches are completed and the grass has grown back, the three-bedroom home will appear similar to other homes in the new Owensboro, Ky., neighborhood. But there is more to be said about the construction of this future 2,400-square-foot space being built by Owensboro construction company Jagoe Homes.

Backed by nonprofit organization Homes for Hope, Jagoe teamed up with trade partners to construct the home for free and donate all profit and any additional contributions to charities fighting local poverty.

Founded in 1998 by Pennsylvania-based homebuilder Jeff Rutt, Homes for Hope is based on a concept called microfinance, in which small loans are given to individuals who will benefit from them most. The funding for these loans comes from special houses he builds and sells with the help of trade partners. Rather than collecting the profit from these homes, Rutt and his partners donate the money to Rutt’s charity, HOPE International, and distribute the money from there.

When Jagoe owners Scott and Bill Jagoe learned about the program a year-and-a-half ago, they knew they wanted to get involved. “It’s entrepreneurs helping entrepreneurs,” Scott says. “You’re not just donating as a handout. It’s more of a hand up. Somebody has an idea — they just need a monetary resource to fulfill their dreams.” Loan recipients receive money in order to fund their respective businesses. Roughly 85 percent of the loans go to women whose main goals are to educate their children and raise their families out of poverty through their work.

While two-thirds of the profit from the Deer Valley home will go to Homes for Hope, the Jagoes are setting aside the remaining one-third for Aid the Homeless, Inc., an Owensboro-based charity geared toward preventing homelessness by donating money to local shelters. The Jagoes intend to build a house annually for Homes for Hope, and are planning to build in different cities, including Evansville next, followed by Bowling Green, Ky., and Louisville, Ky.

According to the organization’s website, Homes for Hope already has built 80-plus homes and generated more than $10 million in revenue. Bill and Scott are excited about adding to this number, and so are their trade partners. “Our subcontractors and suppliers have stepped up very well,” Scott says. “They understood immediately what their impact was on it.” Once the house is sold, proceeds will be used to give small loans, averaging $114,000 to needy families. The loans are modest, but Scott insists that what may seem like a small amount to some people can be “life-altering” for others. The Deer Valley home is expected to impact 5,000 people in poverty, he adds.

With lots of community support and the construction of the home underway, the Jagoes only lack one thing: a buyer. Though the home’s profit will go toward charity, the purchasing process will be just like purchasing any other home. “Whoever buys the home will have a special blessing,” says Bill. “They’ll know the home’s helping thousands of people out of poverty.”

For more information on Jagoe’s involvement in Homes for Hope, visit

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