Friday, October 28, 2011

RTS Staff visits the VMAC!

Today members of the RTS Staff visited Tony Ventrella (Beer & Wine Tasting 2011 EmCee) at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center (VMAC). Tony gave Sarah and Margie a special tour of the VMAC, including a sneak peak at a Seahawks practice.

Thank you, Tony, for a great day! No wonder why Sarah and Margie love their jobs so much...

Thank you, Unadomanda!

LinkRTS thanks for their continued support of our organization with our website.

Learn how your nonprofit can benefit from the services of Unadomanda today!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mortenson Rebuilding Day

Yesterday, 20+ volunteers from Mortenson Construction spent the day repairing the home of Richard ("Dick") in North Seattle. Richard is an 80-year-old air force veteran who has lived in his family's home for over 50 years. Richard's home was in need of numerous repairs and updates, and Mortenson didn't leave anything wanting! They replaced just about the entire kitchen with new cabinets, stove, dishwasher, sink, countertop, and flooring, they painted the entire interior, they installed an electric outlet in the bathroom, patched a hole or two, removed a sink, replaced two toilets, replaced the washer and dryer, replaced the garage door, completed tons of yard work, demolished two sheds, and repaired sidewalks, among other updates and fixits. WOW!




Dick is given a tour of his 'new' home!

Just amazed at the improvements!

Project Managers, Jeremy (L) and Randy (R), give Dick a tour of the work

The crew

Jeremy (L) and Randy (R) with Dick

RTS sends a huge thanks to Mortenson for all their efforts toward this incredible Rebuilding Day!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Meet the new RTS Outreach Committee!

Recently, RTS Launched a new Outreach Committee to establish a group of volunteers at our organization who can help spread the word about our programs throughout the year.

ABOUT the Outreach Committee

: To develop a group of community leaders who support the mission of Rebuilding Together Seattle and are committed to spreading the word about our programs to expand the RTS referral network and increase RTS's visibility in the greater Seattle community.

: Establish RTS as the #1 go-to (comprehensive) free home repair resource for low income homeowners in the greater Seattle area.


Shomari Jones
Meredith Mathews East Madison YMCA

About Shomari:

"The YMCA of Greater Seattle Black Achievers Program, housed at the Meredith Mathews East Madison YMCA, offers high school youth opportunities to explore career options, develop leadership skills, prepare for college and participate in service learning and social activities. Through caring relationships with African American professionals and high quality programming, Youth Achievers learn to set educational goals, understand professional standards and strengthen developmental assets."

Thoughts on RTS:
"RTS embodies values similar to those of the YMCA with an emphasis on social responsibility. I am proud to be a part of a network of providers whose mission revolves around helping others and ensuring safety/security for the community of individuals and families that benefit from their services. In addition, I look forward to being a connector and conduit to the un- and under-served population that are not aware of this organization and its amazing mission."

Melanie Granfors, Shoreline Fire Department

About Melanie:
"I have been the Public Information Officer and Community Education Specialist for Shoreline Fire for 13 years. My job includes educating the community about injury prevention, fire and life safety, and serving as the Department spokesperson and media liaison. I also coordinate our human services outreach programs, where I have discovered the incredible need for programs that involve basic home repairs and focus on warm, safe and dry places to live for our elderly, vulnerable and needy residents."

Thoughts on RTS:
"As part of my work at the Fire Department, I have encountered dozens of elderly and disabled residents living in dilapidated and poorly maintained homes – for lack of money and support – and inability to change their situation. Often these folks are frequent 9-1-1 callers because they have no other means of drawing attention to their plight. I try to assist these folks in finding resources, and it is not an easy task. Once I discovered RTS, I was astounded at the efficiency and competence they had at helping me get some of these folks back on track. There is no other organization doing what RTS does and it is an absolute godsend to the first responders, who encounter these challenges every day and have no way to help. I consider RTS as serving a huge need in the population AND serving their fire and police departments by assisting with these daunting, non-emergency health and safety issues."

Anthony Matlock, Seattle Public Utilities

About Anthony
"I work for Seattle Public Utilities as a Community Project Manager. My job focuses on education and outreach for environmental issues around surface water management. I also am involved in public private partnerships with Seattle residents, school, Business Improvement Areas, and senior assistance related to environmental and other quality of life issues."

Thoughts on RTS:
"I have had the privilege of providing support for some of the RTS projects in the Seattle area. I have also had the opportunity to see firsthand how RTS helps the most vulnerable amongst us “People.” I believe that this is an essential program needed to strengthen and remove barriers in our diverse community that enhances the quality of life for all involved."

Noelle Smithhart, Vulcan Inc.

About Noelle:
"I am in community relations at Vulcan, working specifically with the new development in South Lake Union. In addition, I'm on the Board for the South Lake Union Chamber of Commerce and am active with the Cascade Neighborhood Council."

Thoughts on RTS:

"I helped coordinate an RTS project at a non-profit facility in South Lake Union. I am passionate about volunteerism and community involvement. Since the initial project, I've been thrilled to see my colleagues get more engaged with RTS and am excited to help get the word out about the amazing work RTS provides in our greater Seattle community."

Jennifer DeRosa, OTR/L, CAPS

About Jennifer:
"I am the founder of AdaptABLE for LIFE. AdaptABLE for LIFE is a therapist owned agency dedicated to providing solutions for independent living. We are committed to maintaining healthy communities by working directly with individuals with disabilities and age related issues, as well as the organizations that service them."

Thoughts on RTS:
"I am committed to doing my part in helping people live in their home of choice as a means to maintaining healthy communities. I believe my role in the RTS Outreach Committee is a perfect way to help build trust among homeowners and RTS and spread the word to other organizations working directly with homeowners in need."


Interested in learning more about the Outreach Committee? Email:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lowe's Rebuilding Day

Today, volunteers replaced 9 windows on the home of a disabled veteran in Everett.  The project was made possible by Lowe's,  a Rebuilding Together national sponsor.  Huge thank you to project managers, Mike Santopolo and Justin Orvold!

Great work!! 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Year Round Program Project

Trenton, a dedicated YRP volunteer, recently completed this deck at Gloria's home in South Seattle.  He also installed handrails, grab bars, and is going out again to trim some trees.

Great work, Trenton!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Photos of 1000th Rebuild Site Visit with Michelle Obama

It's a GREAT DAY for Rebuilding Together!

First Lady Michelle Obama visits 1000th rebuild home

Hoffman Estates, Ill. (Oct. 17, 2011) — Today, Sears Holdings and Rebuilding Together, the nation’s leading nonprofit working to preserve affordable homeownership, will finish work on the 1,000th renovation of a veteran’s home. The renovation is part of the Heroes at Home program, which aims to improve the lives of American military families by making necessary repairs, improvements or modifications to their homes. To mark this milestone, First Lady Michelle Obama will join dozens of volunteers and executives from Sears Holdings and Rebuilding Together at the Washington, D.C. home of Army veteran Sgt. Johnny Agbi to help complete the work and welcome him back home. Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden launched Joining Forces to bring Americans together to recognize, honor and take action to support military families as they serve our country and throughout their lives. The initiative aims to educate, challenge, and spark action from all sectors of society to ensure military families have the support they have earned.

“Throughout Sears Holdings’ rich history, the company has always demonstrated a commitment to supporting our servicemen and servicewoman,” said Lou D'Ambrosio, chief executive officer and president, Sears Holdings. “It is an honor and a privilege to announce that through our customer and associate support, we have been able to help renovate 1,000 veterans’ homes through the Sears Heroes at Home program.”

Now in its fourth year, Heroes at Home strives to uplift, assist and honor America’s military and their families by celebrating their stories, saluting their communities and saying thank you to the soldiers for their selfless service. Heroes at Home provides support to military service members, veterans and their families through joint efforts with various nonprofit organizations such as Rebuilding Together, as well as the Heroes at Home Wish Registry, which provides military families with Sears gift cards for the holidays. Since its inception, the program has raised $23 million and helped more than 62,000 families. Americans are invited to donate to the Wish Registry now through Nov. 19, as well as to the Heroes at Home program year round in any Sears store nationwide or online at

The veteran whose home renovations are being completed today, Johnny Agbi, served in the Army from 1997 to 2008 as a combat medic and was deployed with the 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan. Agbi sustained multiple service-related injuries during his time in the Army and was honorably and medically discharged. The repairs on Agbi’s home, which began on June 15, 2011, include much-needed renovations such as modifications for wheelchair accessibility, ceiling and lighting repair, installation of new appliances, painting and more. Agbi lives alone and is confined to a wheelchair; the improvements will help make his home safer and more accessible.

“Together with Sears, we are able to do more,” said Gary A. Officer, president and CEO of Rebuilding Together. "The Heroes at Home program has enabled us to broaden our reach in communities large and small nationwide. Without the help of Sears, its customers and associates, we simply could not help as many deserving military families as we have been able to.”

Sears Holdings has a long history of supporting military families and hiring associates who are active or retired service members. Sears’ ongoing commitment to assisting troops and their families includes several recruiting and employment programs, as well as a military pay differential to full-time associates who are reservists serving on active duty. Earlier this year Sears Holdings launched its Permanent Change of Duty Station (PCS) Promise. The PCS Promise was created to support Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden's Joining Forces initiative, which raises awareness around the challenges that military personnel and their spouses endure when moving from one community to another. The PCS Promise, which helps military associates and spouses employed by Sears Holdings secure job transfers, is aligned with the Joining Forces initiative, which asks the nation to support our brave service members.

For additional information about Heroes at Home, visit

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

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 You can also follow Rebuilding Together on Twitter @rebldgtogthr or become a fan on Facebook at

# # #


Tom Aiello
Sears Holdings
p. 847-286-7387

Morgan Calef
Euro RSCG Worldwide PR
p. 212-367-6949

Becky Carter
Rebuilding Together
p. 202-518-3500

Friday, October 14, 2011

Vote for RTS Today and Everyday until Oct 31st!

Rebuilding Together Seattle has been selected as a finalist for Aprons in Action, The Home Depot Foundation’s unique Facebook voting program, giving RTS an opportunity to win a $25,000 gift card from The Home Depot!

Visit Aprons in Action's Facebook page to vote for RTS every day in the month of October! Voting begins October 1 and closes October 31 at noon.

The organization with the most votes wins the $25,000 prize, and will automatically be in the running for the grand prize of $250,000 in October 2012. The runner-up organization each month will receive $5,000 in Home Depot gift cards. Winners will be announced on November 1st at 9 am.

RTS was selected because of it's support for veterans and their families, in honor of The Home Depot Foundation’s “Celebration of Service” campaign. Celebration of Service takes place from Sept. 11, 2011 through Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11, 2011 and includes 200 service projects with Team Depot volunteers, directly aimed at improving the lives and homes of America's veterans. RTS will be partnering with The Home Depot Foundation on November 3rd to help a Seattle veteran in need as part of the Celebration of Service Campaign!

“Being selected for the Aprons in Action Program is an honor, and we are so thankful for the recognition,” said Margie Thirlby, Executive Director of Rebuilding Together Seattle. “If we win the $25,000 The Home Depot gift card, we will be able to help improve the lives of the veterans we serve by providing free home repairs to veterans in our community who are in great need of home improvements. Rebuilding Together Seattle believes that everyone deserves to live in a warm and safe home, including veterans who have served our country and their families. We encourage everyone to go to Facebook and vote for us!”

Be sure to vote for RTS on Facebook every day this month to see your favorite Seattle non-profit grow it's scope and help more local veterans live in warmth, safety and independence!

Home Depot Volunteers hard at work at RTS Veterans Rebuilding Day 2011

Veteran, Lawrence, with project leaders, Mike Gregoire (also a veteran), and the Director of the WA Department of Veterans Affairs, John Lee during RTS Veteran Rebuilding Day 2011


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Thank you, Beer and Wine Tasting Volunteers!

RTS sends a BIG THANKS to our incredible volunteers who helped make our Beer and Wine Tasting fundraiser possible!

A special thanks goes to Dean Backholm and Tony Ventrella for donating their time and talents to our event. RTS also thanks our Development Committee members for their help planning for our event!

Mary Herche
Pam Madden

Kyle Weeks

Charlie Foushee