The Pulte Family Partnership

William Pulte

In November 2019, the University of Notre Dame received a $111 million partnership gift from the Pulte Family Charitable Foundation – 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 will expand Notre Dame’s practices, teaching and research to create, identify, and advance programs that best serve those most in need.

This partnership will enhance the Pulte Institute's ability to build programs that address poverty and inequality, educate the next generation of development leaders through experiential learning, and influence policy to stimulate global change. The generosity of the Pulte Family will also support the William J. Pulte Directorship of the Pulte Institute, currently held by Ray Offenheiser.

William J. Pulte was a builder. He founded Pulte Homes – 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.

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.