Rebuilt This CIty!
By Christopher Bright / Published by Dwell

Figuring out what Rebuilding Together does isn’t difficult. The nonprofit organization, originally known as Christmas in April, provides free home repair and renovation programs for low-income, elderly, and disabled people. What is confounding, however, is how much this small organization, with just five employees, can accomplish with so few resources.

In addition to revamping a San Francisco playground, the team of volunteers (in league with some professionals, including Seam Studios Landscape and Design and Swinerton Construction) also worked on the interior.

The tiny staff at the San Francisco affiliate of Rebuilding Together—which was founded after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989—coordinates and works on the rehabilitation of more than 20 homes and roughly the same number of nonprofit facilities on one overwhelming, hectic weekend every April. Other volunteer programs they run throughout the year help another 200 vulnerable households find the necessary resources and manpower to make homes safer and more livable.

Rebuilding program managers receive daily requests for renovations that facilitate crucial needs, as well as provide essential peace of mind, offering assistance to sons and daughters whose parent is recovering from an illness, bringing underprivileged families’ homes up to code, or updating a dilapidated local library.

It turns out Rebuilding Together does more than just secure funding for restorations and provide the necessary volunteer labor; it also brings communities together, illustrating the impact a committed group working hand-in-hand can have. Facility program manager Kat Sawyer sums up the organization’s true purpose, as well as why she and her colleagues are so dedicated: “It’s about trying to create the world that you want to live in.”

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