Ira A. Fulton, Founder and Owner of Fulton Homes, received the 2010 Hearthstone BUILDER Humanitarian Award on Wednesday, Jan. 20 at a gala awards event held during the 2010 International Builder’s Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Now in its 11th year, the Hearthstone BUILDER Humanitarian Award honors builders who have demonstrated a lifetime commitment to making their communities a better place to work and live. A $100,000 cash award will be donated to the Fulton Foundation. The award represents the single largest charitable award program in the homebuilding industry and the award is one of the most coveted, having to date contributed over $4 million to various charities.
Fulton was born in Tempe, Arizona, in 1931 and played football for Tempe Union High School – and he later attended Arizona State University on a football scholarship. Fulton Homes was founded in 1975 and grew to be one of the top homebuilders and family owned businesses in Arizona. Fulton has made a lifetime commitment to contributing time and investments for the betterment of not only the Arizona community, but communities all over the western United States, donating more than $300 million to worthy causes. Fulton has been continuously ranked in the Top 50 US philanthropists by Business Week Magazine, the only member of this elite group in Arizona. Under Fulton’s direction, Fulton Homes donates 60% of the company’s profits to worthwhile causes and he personifies a culture of sharing which imbues his actions and those of his company. Fulton Homes has enjoyed a long relationship with many local charities and public service outlets dedicated to protecting children and bettering our education system. Various programs include “the Fulton Homes Fence Patrol,” which installs free pool fences to needy families, “Teacher of the Week,” which recognizes outstanding Valley educators, and “Proud to Own the 3-Point Zone,” a joint effort with Fulton Homes and the Phoenix Suns charities.
Fulton’s generosity, however, isn’t without accountability. As he gives, Fulton asks for accountability. “Not because I need it, but because the people I’m giving to need it,” relates Fulton, who doesn’t hesitate to get on the phone with someone at one of the many organizations he helps to find out how a project is progressing or to share his opinion on an idea. “They need to understand that there’s no such thing as a free handout,” adds Fulton. “I don’t believe in free lunches. But you teach people how to buy their own lunches, how to provide for themselves. You do that and you build character, self-esteem, and pride.”
BUILDER Magazine and HEARTHSTONE, America’s premier investor in residential development, together with founding sponsor Kohler Company, have joined forces to create this award program to recognize builders who go the extra mile to help others.
While helping institutions such as Arizona State University and Brigham Young University, as well as the Huntsman Cancer Center, Fulton is guided by a principle that is now also inscribed on the wall of the gymnasium of his alma mater, Tempe High School: “Our future lies in our ability to dream. What we dream, we can create. What we create, we can become.”