Thursday, January 26, 2012

Meet the RTS Staff: Sarah Ihrie

Introducing Sarah Ihrie, Rebuilding Together Seattle's Director of Programs!

Sarah joined Rebuilding Together Seattle in February 2010, assisting with RTS's Program and Development efforts. Sarah became the new Director of Programs (formerly Program & Marketing Manager) in August 2010. At RTS, Sarah manages the RTS Programs (Safe at Home, Team Build, and Spring Rebuilding Day), Site Preview Team, Outreach activities, and helps with various Marketing and Development efforts.

RTS is grateful for the big impact Sarah has made to the RTS programs during her time here. In addition to helping launch and expand the Safe at Home Program, Sarah has significantly increased the Seattle community's awareness about RTS, helping double the number of applications received during the past fiscal year.

Let's hear from Sarah!

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

I first heard about RTS through the current Executive Director, Margie Thirlby. Margie and I became friends when I moved to Seattle almost 6 years ago.

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

I feel like there are always more homeowners who need our help, so there's always an urgency to improve our systems and expand our programs. I enjoy this challenge because I believe we can constantly be making improvements and growing the organization. I have enjoyed being a part of the growth that RTS has experienced over the last few years, and look forward to building the organization even more by increasing the number of volunteers and community partners who can help complete the critical repairs needed by so many homeowners.

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

I believe in the RTS mission because as our population ages and our economy struggles, our services will be more and more needed- not just by the homeowners but also by the neighborhoods, cities and counties in which they live. Keeping our aging citizens independent in their homes will relieve society of a burden that will be increasingly felt as the years progress. Beyond these very practical applications of our mission, I like providing a service that can give a person hope and restore their pride in homeownership and in the process of this transformation it's really amazing to see communities come together to help a neighbor in need.

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

My favorite memory with RTS has to be my relationship with an elderly homeowner named James. He needed a new roof, which we don't currently do at RTS, but he would call me like clockwork to check in on how everything was in my life, including asking about my husband, my family, friends, you name it. In exchange, he told me stories about his life and family. At one point he needed someone to help him mow his lawn. My husband and I took a Saturday and spent it mowing and trimming and pruning up his yard. The three of us had ice cream together afterward. I don't develop this type of relationship with every homeowner, but it is these interactions that keep me invigorated about my work at RTS.

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

I love to write. I am currently taking a class in creative nonfiction and maintain a personal blog. I am also a licensed attorney, so I spend time volunteering for various King County Bar Association legal clinics. I also take pride in staying active and regularly attend yoga classes, go for jogs, and occasionally take on a Crossfit workout. These activities, along with balancing marriage and being the proud owner of a crazy Labrador named Tonka, keep me very busy!

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

I hope that the greater Seattle community becomes more familiar with who we are and what we do. I want us to become the household name that pops into a person's head when they think of free home repairs!

Thank you, Sarah, for all you do for Rebuilding Together Seattle! Thank you for making our mission possible.

Sarah and her dog, Tonka (one of the most special members of the RTS Staff!)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Spring Rebuilding Day 2012 planning underway!


Spring Rebuilding Day 2012 is on Saturday, April 28th!

This year, Rebuilding Together Seattle (along with our Event Sponsors and volunteers) will celebrate our 22nd Annual Spring Rebuilding Day, where approximately 1,000 volunteers will restore 25 homes in one day!

We are excited for Greenpoint Technologies to return as our top Sponsor for the third year in a row. The Center for Spiritual Living will also serve as a top Sponsor and celebrate their 16th year of participation, along with the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), who will celebrate 12 years of participation.

Stay tuned for more updates on the BIG DAY! To learn more about Spring Rebuilding Day and how you or your company can get involved, please email Sarah Ihrie at



Vulcan Inc. and AGC

Gonzaga University Alumni association (Seattle Chapter)

Perkins Coie & Intellectual Ventures

The Center for Spiritual Living (impressive photo by YPS member, Ray Loyola!)

Emmanuel Episcopal Church (Mercer Island)

American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)

Greenpoint Technologies

Wright Runstad & Company

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hearts Rebuilding Homes 2012 starts on February 1st!

Looking for a creative and meaningful Valentine's Day gift idea this year?

Last year, Rebuilding Together Seattle started an inaugural Valentine's Day campaign called Hearts Rebuilding Homes. From February 1st through February 14th, we asked our supporters to make a difference in the lives of homeowners in need by making a donation to our organization, in honor of their loved ones.

Our first Hearts Rebuilding Homes campaign was a big success last year.
Over 42 donors contributed over $2,400 in just 14 days! Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we were able to help four homeowners in need.

This year, Rebuilding Together Seattle is excited to celebrate the second year of
Hearts Rebuilding Homes, starting on Wednesday, February 1st. Our supporters will have fourteen days to make a donation online (or by mail) to Rebuilding Together Seattle in honor of their loved ones.

After receiving confirmation of your donation, Rebuilding Together Seattle will mail a special card to your Valentine, notifying him/her of your donation. Later in the year, we'll send an email greeting to all donors and card recipients to let them know about the families we were able to help with your support.

Here are three families on our waiting list who need your support this Valentine's Day:

is an elderly homeowner who lives with her daughter and two grandchildren in South Seattle. She is a widow of a veteran. She needs new flooring, security improvements, bathroom updates including grab bars, new appliances and yard work.

John and Rosalinda have four children - two who are foster children. they live in Beacon Hill and need a new furnace, porch step repairs, grab bars and handrails, yard cleaning, plumbing fixes, and new windows.

Shawn and Katy are a younger couple living in West Seattle. Shawn has MS and Ankylosis Spondylitis. They have very high medical bills and need a lot of home repairs including windows, security improvements, bathroom updates for accessibility/mobility, new stove, and new windows.

Give the gift of a warm and safe home to a homeowner in need this Valentine's Day.

Questions? Please visit or email

Please note: RTS will encourage everyone to make their donations by February 11th in order to ensure that your Valentine gets his/her card or e-greeting in time!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Internship Opportunity at RTS!

Rebuilding Together Seattle has a new internship opportunity available at our organization! Please read the information below, and pass this Blog post onto anyone who might be interested in applying for the position!

Rebuilding Together Seattle ( is a nonprofit organization (located in South Lake Union) that provides free home repairs to low income homeowners and nonprofit facilities living from Tukwila to Everett. We serve the elderly, disabled, families with children, and veterans in need. Our mission is to bring volunteers and communities together to help low income homeowners live in warmth, safety, and independence.

Rebuilding Together Seattle has an ongoing Internship Program geared toward current college students (or recent graduates) looking to acquire experience in the nonprofit industry and other relevant fields. The intern is supervised by the RTS Director of Programs, and works on various projects, including Program, Development, Marketing/Social Media, and Outreach related tasks. Over the past three years, Rebuilding Together Seattle has worked with eight student interns who have made outstanding contributions to our organization. The Internship Program enables students to acquire significant experience in the nonprofit industry while greatly enhancing their professional skills, including (but not limited to): writing, reading, communication, project management, and computer skills. RTS Interns are given rewarding and challenging projects, and a chance to interact with hundreds of volunteers, donors, clients, and community leaders each month. Please read below to hear from a few of our former interns about their experiences!

Rebuilding Together Seattle is looking for a new intern who is interested in working at our office starting in late January or early February. Most interns have made a 3-4 month commitment to the organization, while others have extended their internship to a second term. In February, Rebuilding Together Seattle will start preparing for our 22nd Annual Spring Rebuilding Day, our largest program event of the year where over 1,000 volunteers restore approximately 25 homes in one day. The intern will have an opportunity to work with the Director of Programs in helping plan for the event. In addition, Rebuilding Together Seattle will start planning for our annual fundraiser, which will require all hands on deck!

Interested candidates should first review our Internship description, and then email a cover letter and resume to as soon as possible.


"My internship with RTS was an experience I have found to be invaluable. The Staff at RTS is truly dedicated to creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere but is serious when it comes to getting work done. I have always marveled at the amount of work such a small team can produce and as an intern, I was given the opportunity to contribute in a way that was meaningful and valued, something that may not happen at a larger organization. I was able to take a leading role in the annual fundraiser, providing me with buckets of experience not only with event planning but with development and fundraising in general. My resume is much stronger from my time at RTS experience and I now have some allies in my job search, great references and great connections. I was also able to reach out to the community and see real work being done in our city, by a great group of volunteers and sponsors. Interning at RTS will provide you with a invaluable skill set and a leg up on the competition when it comes to entering the job market, as well as giving you an experience you can look back on and smile." –Paige

The RTS Internship was a very rewarding experience. It allowed me to gain professional experience and help families in need all at the same time. The RTS Internship has given me experience in many different areas such as communication, marketing, community outreach, administrative support and volunteer coordination. This internship has strengthened my resume immensely and given me so many transferable skills that employers are searching for. I really enjoyed working with Margie and Sarah. They are very nice, helpful, fun and caring people. Margie and Sarah make have created a very professional and fun work environment to be a part of. We are all very productive and able to meet deadlines but are also able have lots of fun while doing so. It is a great office to be a part of. My favorite part about the RTS Internship is that all of the work, coordination and planning that we do goes towards helping families in need. RTS makes such a big difference in the lives of so many families in the Seattle area and I am very proud to say that I was a part of it.” – Evan

"Rebuilding Together Seattle Internship allowed me to have a smooth transition out of college and into the working world. I was privileged to work with a diverse group of people at various levels and gain new experiences. I was given the opportunity to utilize my strengths and expand on my role. I was able to explore research initiatives and generate leads, educate, and expand the organizations brand. Most importantly, it was a humbling experience to work with a team that was passionate for the community. I've learned that work should always be fun and I still believe in that same philosophy." – Shawn

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Safe at Home in South Park

The RTS Safe at Home program did not slow down with the winter weather (maybe because our winter has been so great??), and we are so excited about all the projects going on thanks to our individual volunteers and our Safe at Home partners.  Visit soon to visit the new programs page that will list all of our Safe at Home volunteers and partners.

Bill is a veteran who lives in a houseboat in South Park, just a quick walk away from the bridge that is undergoing reconstruction.  One of the RTS Board Members, Tim Lane, is an engineer working on the bridge project and wanted to get the workers involved more in the South Park community.  He and the South Park Bridge Construction Management team set to work on helping Bill with some much needed home repairs, funded by the Home Depot Foundation grant RTS received to help veterans in need.

The first project was covering Bill's roof with a tarp to get him through winter, with plans to return in the spring when they are able to replace the roof properly under good weather.  The next projects will include re-constructing the porch stairs with railing and weatherproof his doors and windows. 

Thank You Home Depot Foundation and the Bridge Construction Management Team! 

RT on Extreme Makeover Home Edition!

Series Finale: Extreme Makeover Home Edition!

Extreme Makeover Home Edition RT logo small

This Friday, January 13 at 8:00pm EST, ABC will be airing its two-hour episode finale of Extreme Makeover Home Edition! The series finale will highlight a Joplin, MO family whose home and lives have been devastated by a natural disaster.

Rebuilding Together Clay County and President's Circle Sponsor, Sears, were featured as part of this special series' finale, as they helped to rebuild Cunningham Park.

Here's a sneak peek at some of the work Rebuilding Together Clay County and Sears accomplished during their week in Joplin, as part of Extreme Makeover Home Edition:

- Constructed a new multi-purpose that accommodates various sports

- Installed a new playground for small children

- Demolished restroom buildings to transform into an open picnic pavilion

- Rolled out new sod for most of the park, planted trees, plants and flowers

Make sure to watch this Friday, and support Rebuilding Together Clay County and Sears!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Thank you, Annual Giving Campaign Donors!

RTS thanks our 2011-2012 Annual Giving Campaign donors for giving us a great start to the new year. Thank you for your generosity!


Pam and Vince Madden
Tracey and Elizabeth Steig
Mary and Tom Herche
Wilson Construction Company
Monte and Nan Szendre
Anne Quigg
Ryan, Swanson, Cleveland, PLLC
Alan, Chris, and Paarl Newstead
Dean Backholm
Jim and Debbie Bevier
Rick and Pat Thirlby
Scott and Cathleen Brueske


Rick and Teresa Jones
Audrey Hancock
Mary Jo Dedomenico
Charlie and Becky Johnson
Kathleen Kennedy
Larry and Tobey Dickson
Dan Blott
Barrett Johnston & Cadence Builds LLC
Tom Kelly
Stephan and Wendy Sefcik
Hilary Stephens
Mark Cramer and Trudi Mueller
Larry and Michell Pihl
Doug Gray
Eric Kinyon
Michael and Dorothy Urban
Danny Jayne
Kwinn Uno
Paul and Debbie Slatt
Alexander and Elizabeth McKallor
Illis and Daryl Burke
Bud and Korene Schultz
Kelle A. Jones
Chris Tudor
Allison Spielman Advisors
John and Marie Cain
Danielle Riordan

The RTS Staff & Board

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