James Rouse was a businessman who initiated the Enterprise Foundation, an organization dedicated to funding the design and construction of housing for low-income families and individuals.
Patty Rouse and her late husband, Jim Rouse, launched the
foundation in 1982 with a simple mission in mind: To see that all
low-income people in the United States have the opportunity for fit and
affordable housing, and to move up and out of poverty into the mainstream
of American life.
Since then, through the perseverance and leadership of the Rouses,
Enterprise has worked with 940 nonprofit organizations in 280 locations
across the country. Together they've built or renovated more than 86,000 houses and
apartments and improved the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of
On September 29, l995, President Clinton presented Mr. Rouse with the
Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor to
recognize his humanitarian service.
Brooks Robinson, National Baseball Hall of Fame third baseman, spoke about this remarkable man:
"Jim Rouse was a person of irrepressible decency. You could see
it in his eyes, the gentleness and a softness always focusing on
doing the right thing. Scripture tells us that the creator took
six days to create the world and everything in it. Jim knew it
would take longer than six days but he was working on it to the
very end. After all, he might say, it's a little more complicated
to rebuild and renew than to create from scratch. No doubt, Jim
has by now submitted plans for rearranging the cloudscape of
Jim Rouse passed away on April 9, 1996, at age 81. He was honored and remembered by many people, including President Clinton. "Jim was a remarkable man who contributed a great deal to our nation during his extraordinary life. His vision and skill helped revitalize America's cities and
enabled millions of people to find decent, affordable housing. I will always be grateful
for having had the opportunity to meet
a man of such purpose and accomplishment."
Patty Rouse continues the work that she and her husband began together.
In 1998, she was recognized by The National Housing Conference for her lifelong contributions.