Clark Howard celebrates 25 years with Atlanta Habitat for Humanity, 20 years in syndicated radio

Posted Tuesday, March 13, 2018 by RODNEY HO/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Clark Howard, now 62,   said he is truly appreciating how long he's been around by all the anniversaries.This past Clark's Kids charity effort for foster kids was his 27th. He recently celebrated 20 years in radio syndication. And Atlanta Habitat for Humanity recently feted his 25th year working with the non-profit organization.

"I was really embarrassed," Howard said in an interview. "I have a hard time with too much focus put on me." He chuckled. "That's a Clark problem."

Howard and his group of volunteers finished up three homes on a recent Saturday in the Orchard Knob community just southeast of downtown Atlanta along with help from MailChimp, Coupon Mom and the Dan and Merrie Boone Foundation.

He said he began volunteering with Atlanta Habitat in 1993 and loved it. He started sponsoring homes in 1996.

"It's so core to what I believe in," he said. "We believe in creating independence for the Habitat home owner. They have to pay for the homes. If they don't pay, they don't stay. I love that whole merit thing."

Although Howard sponsors homes mostly in Atlanta, he has done some in other cities as well including Tulsa, Okla. Over the past two-plus decades, he has sponsored 74 homes, 65 in metro Atlanta. He usually builds homes next to those built by Cox Enterprises, which also owns the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"I've seen so many of the homeowners over the years," Howard said, "just out and about in Atlanta. When I go by to see the houses, generally, they're doing great. Occasionally, there is one looking sad. We're giving people a chance. If there is a foreclosure, they fix the house back up and put another family in."

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

He said his favorite activity on a Habitat site is shingling. At the last build, he shingled for nine hours. "It's mindless," he said, "and I'm good at mindless."

Plus, "you see the direct results of what you do once you know how to do it," Howard added. "A lot of volunteers won't go on the roof. They are smarter than I am. I don't want to die. But I'm really happy up there. I can see all of the house. I feel more connected to the overall build."

At age 62, though, he said he gets tired more easily than he used to. "I just run my mouth more," he joked.

As for his radio show, he said listeners now are asking more questions about spending as the economy continues to rev along. "From 2008 to around 2014, it was heavily about people crashing and burning from the recession and unemployment. Now people are more confident. They want to buy a new car. There are more investment questions."

He said his radio show is doing well financially. It helps that his show, heard on 220 stations nationally, is not controversial or political. "I'm not on anybody's no-buy list," he said. He is also seeing huge growth in his podcasts. And his website continues to pull in readers, he said.

Howard recently took an option to buy out the 50 percent share of the site from Cox and will soon own it 100 percent.