Looking Back, then Moving Forward – Community Starts at Home, from Gary A. Officer

Dear Supporters,

“We were scared, worried, and a bit hopeless. I didn’t want the house to fall apart. We care about it.”

Those were the sentiments of Andrea Spencer who along with her husband and two young sons live in a home in the Overbrook neighborhood of Philadelphia. Confronted by several financial setbacks, the Spencers had to make some tough choices and were forced to put off repairs and maintenance on their home indefinitely in order to feed their family. The Spencers were one of 30 families who benefited from Rebuilding Together when more than 1,000 volunteers came together over a three-day blitz to renovate and repair their neighborhood.

Philadelphia’s Building a Healthy Neighborhood was a collaborative event, which took several months of building community. We worked side by side with our affiliate, city officials, community leaders, and most importantly, the very homeowners – like the Spencers – we focus on serving.

Thanks to all of you, our partners in this critical work, we were able to create Safe & Healthy Homes for families across the country, serving several hundreds of thousands through home rehabilitation and community revitalization.

There were highlights in the midst of our tremendous impact in Philadelphia and throughout the year. We celebrated five years of the Sears’ Heroes at Home campaign with projects serving hundreds of our nation’s veterans. Among the major undertakings with Sears and Craftsman Tools, our House United project was a collaboration of multiple partners and delegates from both political conventions creating a Safe & Healthy home for yet another American hero and his family.

Our Disaster Recovery Fund is the beginning step in the rebuilding process of massive and ongoing needs in the northeast. Many of the communities of our affiliates on the East Coast were devastated by the effects of Hurricane Sandy. Thanks to Sears, Crate & Barrel, Lowe’s and other partners we have collected over $1 million to support long term recovery efforts.

Because of all of you, in total, we provided millions in pass-through funding to the affiliate network, to ensure that our affiliates have the capacity to effectively serve homeowners.

We already have several major projects on the horizon for 2013. Among them, we are within weeks of the annual Super Bowl Kickoff to Rebuild hosted in New Orleans this year, plans are in the works for National Rebuilding Month with its grand finale the last Saturday of April where nearly 4,000 homes will be restored, and our signature national rebuild event, Building a Healthy Neighborhood moves to Columbus, OH this June. We are also planning with several of you a host of awareness and fundraising campaigns to better support the capacity of our affiliate network and to spread the news of the critical need and invaluable work that we are driven to accomplish.

These are just a few, but without a doubt, 2013 and beyond will see an increase in need, and, with your continued support, we will be there to help as many low-income homeowners and their communities as possible.

Thank you for your commitment to Rebuilding Together. We could not do our work across the U.S. without your partnership.

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Gary A. Officer
President and CEO
Rebuilding Together