Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Meet the RTS Staff: Claire Oatey

Introducing our Program & Development Intern, Claire Oatey! Claire has been at RTS since July and we are thrilled to have her on Board! Let's get to know Claire:

1. How did you first hear about Rebuilding Together Seattle?

The first time I really took the time to learn about RTS was when I came across an article in the Seattle Times last April. I had heard of RTS before but this article, which was describing the 25 homes that were rebuilt on Spring Rebuilding Day, caught my attention. At the time I was neck deep in my senior thesis and completely absorbed in my own world. Hearing about how the community back in my hometown was coming together to help their neighbors really touched me. The idea of returning to Seattle and giving back to my city after spending 4 years focusing fairly inward was really appealing. I contacted the RTS Executive Director, Margie, the next day!

2. Why do you like working at Rebuilding Together Seattle?

I love working at RTS! How many people can say that every day at work they laugh with their coworkers, watch two crazy dogs play with each other, and have their job choice reaffirmed by the tangible positive changes they witness in the lives of those they work to help?

3. Why do you believe in the mission of RTS?

I believe in the mission of RTS because you quickly learn that the transformation occurring during a Rebuilding Day is about so much more than the before and after of the home itself. It’s about the transformation of the lives of the homeowners. A safe and warm home brings them security, hope, and relief. I also believe in our mission because it’s about bringing the community together. It’s very easy in Seattle, and in any city, to get caught up in your own life and overlook the needs of people living across the city from you or even your neighbors down the street. During one of my first weeks at RTS, I previewed a home with our Director of Programs, Sarah, that was located just a few blocks away from where I grew up. I must have driven by that house a hundred times but I never really saw it. Here they were, a family so deserving o f help and practically my neighbors, and yet without RTS I’m not sure I would have ever connected with them.

4. What has been your favorite memory so far with RTS?

One of my favorite memories was presenting with former RTS board member, Mary Herche, at the Port of Seattle’s Veterans Day Celebration. The event was held to honor veterans who have served in the military, to introduce the new class of the Veterans Fellowship Program at the Port, and to showcase other organizations that support veterans and veteran causes. We were invited to talk about the RTS Veterans Program which was created in 2009 to help veteran homeowners and their families with vital home improvements. It was a great event and I was so happy that RTS was included. We hope that the event will lead to more connections in the veteran community and that we will ultimately be able to serve more homeowners who have served our country.

5. Tell us more about yourself – what do you like to do when you’re not at work?

I like to spend time with my housemates, my boyfriend, and my family! My older brother just moved back to Seattle this November after living in China for the past 8 years with his girlfriend (well, I should say wife—they got married on December 18th!). My parents are pretty excited to have us both back in Seattle!

6. What are your hopes for RTS in years to come?

My biggest hope is that RTS will gain more and more exposure in the community so that soon Rebuilding Together Seattle will be a household name. The more well-know we are, the more likely homeowners who need our help will know where to seek it.


Thank you, Claire, for everything you do for our organization!

RT by the numbers!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Thank you, Annual Giving Campaign Donors!

RTS sends a BIG thanks to our 2011-2012 Annual Giving Campaign donors! Thank you for your generosity during the holiday season. Your support means that more homeowners will live in warm, safe, and dry homes.

To learn about how you can make a donation to Rebuilding Together Seattle, please visit our donation page or call 206.682.1231 to speak with someone at the RTS office.

2011-2012 Annual Giving Campaign Donors

Pam and Vince Madden
Tracey and Elizabeth Steig
Mary and Tom Herche
Anne Quigg
Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC
Monte and Nan Szendre
Wilson Construction Company
Dean Backholm
Jim and Debbie Bevier
Pete and Karen Wickstrand

Richard and Teresa Jones
Mary Jo Dedomenico
Larry and Tobey Dickson
Audrey S. Hancock
Charlie and Becky Johnson
Daniel Blott and Jeanine Riordan
Tom Kelly
Douglas Gray
Danny W. Jayne
Eric Kinyon
Stephan and Wendy Sefcik
Hilary Stephens
Michael and Dorothy Urban
Kwinn Uno
Illis and Daryl Burke
Kelle A. Jones
Alexander and Elizabeth McKallor
The Newstead Family
Paul and Debbie Slatt
Chris Tudor
Allison Spielman Advisors
John and Marie Cain
Kathleen Kennedy


Arnie Mondloch
Charlie Foushee
Brooke Sullivan
Kristen Cramer
Gayle Roberts
Val Gorder
Dan Gemme
Jim Broadlick
Tim Lane
Gary Ballas
Russ Schultz

Margie Thirlby
Sarah Ihrie

Monday, December 19, 2011

Thank You KLB Construction and AG Tree Service!

On Spring Rebuilding Day 2011, Atkinson Construction partnered with Gonzaga Alumni to renovate and repair the home of a veteran, Vicki, who lives in South Seattle.  Although they did an incredible amount of work for SRD 2011 (incuding constructing a brand new ramp, painting the entire house, rewiring the electrical, moving the washer and dryer, decluttering, and tons of yard work, to name a few things), there were a couple items left that Atkinson felt they needed to complete.  One was the drainage issue that left standing water in Vicki's basement every time it rained, and the other was a monstrous dead tree looming over her house and new ramp. 

A couple weeks ago, AG Tree Service was out and took down the tree, giving everyone the opportunity to release a huge sigh of relief.  Then, KLB Construction put in over $6,500 worth of work.  Molly Villani, of Atkinson Construction, said that after putting in a new drainage system, "the crew had to go back to put in a mesh net at the end of the drain, so rodents and other creatures wouldn't make the drain a new home.  They cleaned the gutters, the back yard, and placed some additional drain rock to tidy things up." 

Vicki can now live in safety, without drainage issues, and enjoy her new home, thanks to the joint efforts of Atkinson Construction, KLB Construction, and AG Tree Service!

The Monster Tree: 

Looming over the new ramp...

Safe at last! Thank you AG Tree Service!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rebuilding Together, Sears Near $16 Million Raised to Support Heroes at Home



For Immediate Release
Becky Carter
Rebuilding Together


Rebuilding Together, Sears Near $16 Million Raised to Support Heroes at Home

Sears and Rebuilding Together reach milestones throughout 2011, ending the year with donation of Mini Cooper as latest support for Rebuilding Together

WASHINGTON, DC - December 14, 2011 - Rebuilding Together and Sears have raised nearly $16 million to help veteran homeowners and families in-need via a joint effort under Sears' Heroes at Home program that assists military families and veterans across the nation by making necessary repairs, improvements and modifications to their homes.

The Heroes at Home program has repaired veterans' homes and veteran centers across the country for more than five years. In October, Heroes at Home celebrated the 1,000th Veterans Rebuild, marking the milestone with the support of First Lady Michelle Obama, Dr. Jill Biden and their initiative "Joining Forces." This organizational milestone brought national attention to the plight of the nation's veterans, and the organizations' dedication to serving those who have served.

For the past several years, Sears customers have donated in stores and online to Rebuilding Together through the Heroes at Home Donation Drives. Sears has led many additional fundraising efforts to support Rebuilding Together's veteran housing projects. As a result of the collaborative campaigns, Sears raised more than $3.3 million in 2011.

"Rebuilding Together's successful collaboration with Sears success is evidenced through our recent milestones, and now we are completing the year with a Mini Cooper auction, the proceeds of which will support Heroes at Home," said Gary A. Officer, president and CEO of Rebuilding Together. "We look forward to developing new ways in which we can continue to support military families in need."

Rebuilding Together and Sears' additional collaborations in 2011 include:

- Sears and Rebuilding Together worked with NextGen, which donated a new modular home to a disabled veteran, helping to meet his critical, domestic needs

- Sears' 4th Annual Heroes at Home Donation Drive, giving Americans the option to make a donation to Rebuilding Together to support the Heroes at Home program, in any Sears store nationwide or online via a link at Sears.com/heroesathome

- Sears launched the national "Portraits of Heroes" song contest with country music singer and U.S. Marine Corps veteran Josh Gracin; the resulting song, "Can't Say Goodbye," is now available on iTunes, with all proceeds benefiting Rebuilding Together

- "Operation Rebuild for Heroes at Home," a social media contest that encouraged communities to help servicemen and women in need. Based on the results of Facebook fan voting, Sears and Rebuilding Together awarded $250,000 in grants to Rebuilding Together affiliates to renovate the homes of military families

- Sears donated a Mini Cooper to Rebuilding Together, to be auctioned off during the Holiday Season and will support Rebuilding Together's mission to provide safe and healthy housing for low-income families and homeowners. Place your bid now at http://bit.ly/tst4qx.

To find out more about and how to support Rebuilding Together's mission to provide safe and healthy housing for low-income Americans and families, visit www.RebuildingTogether.org.

About Rebuilding Together Rebuilding Together is the nation's leading nonprofit organization working to preserve affordable homeownership and revitalize neighborhoods by providing extensive rehabilitation and modification services to those in need at no cost to those served. With the help of everyday citizen volunteers, skilled tradespeople, the support of local business and major corporate partners, Rebuilding Together affiliates in America's largest cities and smallest towns make life considerably better for thousands of low-income homeowners and the communities in which they live by completing 10,000 projects per year. Rebuilding Together has programs dedicated to energy efficiency, veterans' housing, aging in place and Gulf Coast reconstruction. For more information, visit www.RebuildingTogether.org. You can also follow Rebuilding Together on Twitter @rebldgtogthr or become a fan on Facebook at Facebook.com/RebuildingTogether.

About Sears Holdings Corporation Sears Holdings Corporation is the nation's fourth largest broadline retailer with over 4,000 full-line and specialty retail stores in the United States and Canada. Sears Holdings is the leading home appliance retailer as well as a leader in tools, lawn and garden, consumer electronics and automotive repair and maintenance. Sears Holdings is the 2011 ENERGY STAR® Retail Partner of the Year. Key proprietary brands include Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard, and a broad apparel offering, including such well-known labels as Lands'' End, Jaclyn Smith and Joe Boxer, as well as the Apostrophe and Covington brands. It also has the Country Living collection, which is offered by Sears and Kmart. We are the nation's largest provider of home services, with more than 11 million service calls made annually. Sears Holdings Corporation operates through its subsidiaries, including Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Kmart Corporation. For more information, visit Sears Holdings' website at www.searsholdings.com. | Twitter: @searsholdings | Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SHCCareers


RTS Energizer: Cathy Leon

The CBRE Project Leaders, Carolann Andrews and Peter Kelly chose one volunteer from the group of volunteers as their RTS Energizer- a person who goes above and beyond their commitment as a volunteer on the rebuilding day.  Cathy Leon worked at the home of Julia and Floyd the weekend before the rebuilding day, to clean and prime the walls for painting, and the day after, to do the finishing touches.

Cathy, managing the bathroom project

Cathy and fellow painters on the kitchen project

"Cathy Leon’s enthusiasm and hard work makes a significant impact on our community," Carolann said.  "Cathy met with the homeowners several times to go over the colors so that the paint she purchased was perfect.  She worked with the paint crew volunteers to make sure they had everything they needed.  Cathy’s leadership and knowledge made the paint project a huge success."

Way to go Cathy!!! Your dedication is an inspiration to many!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

RTS accepts $2,000 check from the Bonneville Seattle Media Group

Today Rebuilding Together Seattle went to the Bonneville Seattle Media Group station to accept a $2,000 check during the December Charity of the Month presentation! Joining the presentation included Carl Gardner (VP, Market Manager, Bonneville Seattle) and Kevin Griffin (Director of Community Relations, Seattle Seahawks / Sounders FC).

Stay tuned for more updates on our partnership with Bonneville Seattle and the Seahawks/Sounders FC. In the meantime, be sure to watch our PSA!

RTS representatives (L to R: Margie Thirlby, Sarah Ihrie, Charlie Foushee) join Carl Gardner (far left) of the Bonneville Seattle Media Group for the December Charity of the Month presentation at the station!

Kevin Griffin (L) of the Seattle Seahawks / Sounders FC talks about our partnership and the 12th Man, presenting us with an official 12th Man flag for the RTS office!

Back at the office, RTS Program & Development Intern, Claire Oatey, shows off our new gear!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Volunteers of the Month: Carolann Andrews and Peter Kelly

Carolann,  hard at work!

Peter, looking a little overwhelmed!

Last month, Rebuilding Together Seattle partnered with CBRE for their first rebuilding day.  What a huge success!!  Not only did CBRE commit to a full day rebuilding day, but they also were out there for a pre-rebuilding day, and a post-rebuilding day, and many visits in between! 

Throughout the whole process, Carolann Andrews, Volunteer Coordinator, and Peter Kelly, Project Manager, were on top of planning, organizing and executing the projects.  Their hard work and positive attitude was an impressive testament to their commitment to giving back to the community.

Let's hear from Peter:
1. How did you get involved with RTS? My company, CBRE, connected with RTS for our charity endeavors, CBRE Cares.  I was tabbed to be the Project Manager, and was happy to be selected.  I’ve always wanted to be involved in something like this, but never really had or made the opportunity until now.

2. What do you enjoy most about working with our organization? The ability to help CBRE “organize” and focus our energy in a positive way was very helpful.  I’m certain that we’ll work together again soon.

3. What do other volunteers say about RTS? The volunteers loved to see the fruits of their efforts in an immediate and tangible way.  At the end of the day our “home” had been seemingly transformed in front of our eyes, and to see the happy faces of the homeowners made it all that much better. 

4. Why do they want to volunteer their time? It seemed like everyone could relate to our homeowner’s “needs” and were just very pleased to be able to help someone and not expect anything in return.  It just felt good!

5. What about RTS' mission are you most drawn to? I liked that their mission was to really “help” the affected person, not just to beautify their home.
And now from Carolann:
1. How did you get involved with RTS?
CBRE, Inc. partnered with Rebuilding Together Seattle this year.  I was fortunate to be chosen to work on this project.
2. What do you enjoy most about working with our organization?
RTS set-up the project for us and guided us along the way.  We were able to meet the homeowners and they told us their story which helped us to understand why we were there.  This connection made the whole experience more meaningful.
Sarah Ihrie from RTS helped organize us and took care of what was needed “behind the scenes”

3. What do other volunteers say about RTS?
They were impressed with the process of selecting the project home.  Being able to work with the homeowners from start to finish was very satisfying.  The homeowners were so grateful and
expressed their appreciation to the volunteers every step of the way.

4. Why do they want to volunteer their time?
CBRE employees are dedicated to bettering the communities where they live and work. We had 30 volunteers within 24 hours of sending out the CBRE Cares Homebuilding project announcement.   It started out as a great opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to a family in need and ended up being an enjoyable team- building event.  We are all looking forward to next year’s home build project.  The following volunteers took the Lead on different home projects to insure that all three event days were successful.  Cathy Leon, Carolyn Davis, Dana Kelsie, Misty Hakola, Tenille Lively, Dan Stutz and our Project Manager, Peter Kelly.  Boyce Construction, Holmes Electric and the tilers, Lou LaJeunesse, Greg Sylvia and Doug Wright spent several days contributing to the home rebuild.

5. What about RTS' mission are you most drawn to?
The homeowner’s lives changed dramatically four years ago due to a tragic accident.  While they struggled to live a new life, the house was no longer a priority.  We were able to give them back a little bit of their former life by making their home more accessible, safer and brighter.  Now they are proud to let people back into their home.

Thank you Carolann and Peter!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Board Member of the Month: Charlie Foushee

Charlie (L) with Project Leader, Jeff Haines (R), at the North Coast Electric Rebuilding Day (May 2011).

Charlie has been involved with Rebuilding Together Seattle for just over three years now, and what a commitment he made right off the bat! Charlie joined the Board of Directors after participating in his company's first rebuilding day (Tarragon), and has since served as the Chair of the RTS Development Committee.

“We are very lucky to have Charlie’s support on our Board," Margie Thirlby, Executive Director, says. "Charlie took great initiative during his first year on the Board in helping expand the RTS Development Committee, and has served as our Chair for three years. Charlie has helped secured excellent volunteer, donor, and sponsor connections for our organization and is a treat to work with."

Charlie (L) and Steve Hoffman from GLY Construction (R) at our Beer & Wine Tasting event in September

1. How did you first get involved with RTS?
I was first involved with RTS through a rebuilding project that was sponsored by my employer, Tarragon. It was such a great experience that I couldn’t see myself not being involved at some capacity. I love RTS’ mission and working with our homeowners.

2. What do you enjoy most about being a board member at RTS?
Working with appreciative homeowners, compassionate volunteers, and a driven RTS office and board.

3. What are your hopes for RTS in the years to come?
I would love to see RTS continue its strong pace of helping homeowners in need. I am excited about our progression in our “Safe at Home” year-round program as it is our avenue to help more folks in immediate need.

Thank you, Charlie!

Monday, December 5, 2011

RTS kicks off Annual Giving Campaign with Leadership Givers

In November, Rebuilding Together Seattle began its Annual Giving Campaign with its first Phase: Leadership Giving. The RTS Staff and Board asked our friends, colleagues, and volunteers to join us in making a pledge the organization this fiscal year (July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012).

During the Leadership Giving Phase of the Campaign, individuals who make a pledge or one-time donation of $500.00 or more will be recognized as Leadership Givers. In May 2012, the RTS Board of Directors will invite these generous contributors to a Leadership Givers' Appreciation Event.

RTS sends a big thanks to our Leadership Givers and all of our Annual Giving Campaign donors for your generosity to our organization. Your gift will allow our organization to meet our mission and help low income homeowners live in warm and safe homes.


Individuals who are interested in participating in the RTS Annual Giving Campaign may make a donation online or may mail a check (made out to "Rebuilding Together Seattle") to:

Attn: Margie Thirlby
Rebuilding Together Seattle
811 Harrison St
Seattle, WA 98109

Thank you to our 2011-2012 Annual Giving Campaign Donors

Leadership Givers
Pam and Vince Madden
Mary and Tom Herche
Pete and Karen Wickstrand
Dean Backholm

Mary Jo Dedomenico
Kathleen Kennedy
Douglas Gray
Danny Jayne
Audrey Hancock
Paul and Debbie Slatt
Alexander and Elizabeth McKallor

The RTS Staff & Board

Arnie Mondloch, President
Charlie Foushee, Vice President
Kristen Cramer, Secretary
Brooke Sullivan, Treasurer
Val Gorder, Former President
Gayle Roberts
Gary Ballas
Tim Lane
Russ Schultz
Jim Broadlick
Dan Gemme
Margie Thirlby, Executive Director
Sarah Ihrie, Director of Programs


"...Our minds will be at ease knowing that our home is safer, more comfortable and even enjoyable to live in. We won’t have to feel guilty when our kids, especially Caleb with his gait issues, trip over our uneven floors. The kids will have even heat in the house with insulated windows to contain that heat and will no longer complain about the drafts. The tub can once again be used to help with easing pain, because the water heater will be able to keep up with filling the tub with warm water. Our roof will no longer leak. Our house will finally be heated by something other than a wood stove. The list of repairs that have been made overwhelms us.

That list is a two-ton weight off of our backs. It is one less thing to focus on or worry about. That ball doesn’t have to be thrown back up into the balls that we are trying to juggle. It will allow us to add a ball to that mix that has been dropped for far too long. It’s the ball that is labeled “family time.” Dad won’t be overwhelmed with the honey-do list and our very limited time together as a family can be for enjoyment. We are amazed, grateful, thankful, and overwhelmed with these blessings that you have provided.

Our hope is that you know how much we appreciate you. How thankful we truly are. Everyone we know will learn how generous your companies have been to us. Words are not enough, but it is a start. Our hope will be to pass along this generosity and pay it forward when we can. For now, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.


Gabe & Shannon"

MISSION: Rebuilding Together Seattle bring volunteers and communities together to help low income homeowners live in warmth, safety and independence.