HABITAT FOR HUMANITY INTERNATIONAL has long invited people to pick up a hammer and help build a home for a needy family, but a new program allows people to invest their money in the organization.

Habitat and the Calvert Foundation have launched the Habitat for Humanity Investment Program, an investment fund that benefits the nonprofit organization.

The notes may be invested for one, three, seven, or 10 years, and investors can earn an interest rate of up to 2 percent. The value of the principal is then loaned to Habitat, enabling the organization to obtain access to low-cost, flexible capital that would be used to build houses.

At maturity, investors may collect the principal and interest accrued, or they may reinvest.

The notes start at $1,000 minimum when purchased from the Calvert Foundation or through a financial adviser and $100 when purchased online at MicroPlace.com.

"The vast need for decent, affordable housing in our world means that we have to be creative in our response to it," said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat. "This exciting opportunity with Calvert Foundation will generate more capital to help further that mission."