The Pulte Family Partnership

William Pulte
William J. Pulte (1932-2018), Master Builder

In November 2019, the Pulte Family Charitable Foundation, in honor of William J. Pulte (1932-2018), made the University of Notre Dame a $111 million partnership gift – the largest of its kind at Notre Dame. A portion of this gift was directed towards the endowment and directorship of the Pulte Institute for Global Development. In unity with Notre Dame’s commitment to Catholic social teaching, the Pulte partnership expands Notre Dame’s practices, teaching, and research to create, identify, and advance programs that fight poverty and promote sustainability.

This partnership has allowed the Pulte Institute's ability to stand at the nexus of research and policy on issues such as poverty, sustainability, education, and global development,translating knowledge into practical, evidence-based tools to make a tangible, positive impact on vulnerable populations.

William J. Pulte was a Master Builder, having founded Pulte Homes in 1950 – today PulteGroup – which became the largest home-builder in the United States in the mid 1990s. A loving, faith-filled man, Bill was touched by the horrific conditions of garbage dump poverty in Guatemala City and, over the years, was called to support thousands living in these conditions across Central America.

Although Bill passed away in March 2018, his legacy lives on through the work of the Pulte Family Charitable Foundation. Bill’s wife of 25 years, Karen Pulte, and two of his children, Nancy Pulte Rickard and Mark Pulte, direct the foundation.

Guided by the belief in the inherent dignity of all people, the Pulte Family Charitable Foundation works to meet the basic human needs of the most marginalized members of the human family, including socio-economically disadvantaged youth; the aged; persons with physical, emotional and mental disabilities; and those with the fewest material resources. In addition to the above, the foundation seeks to serve religious communities and correlative organizations of Judeo-Christian beliefs. To this end, the foundation strives to enact through its grantees the seven corporal works of mercy.

The gift and the Pulte Institute will be transformational for the University of Notre Dame, ensuring our role at the frontlines of global development efforts worldwide. Our wider hope, however, is that the Pulte Institute can also be a transformational force for higher education and the fight against global poverty.

In 2023, another gift from the Foundation created the Pulte Platform for Policy in the Keough School of Global Affairs, which will appoint three senior faculty to advance Keough’s international impact on integral human development, poverty, and peace.

Under the banner of the new Pulte Institute for Global Development, our work will be at the nexus of global development implementation and understanding: measuring effectiveness, understanding complex environments, and influencing policy.