Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Washington, D.C. – July 30, 2013 – The Board of Directors of Rebuilding Together today announced that after an extensive nationwide search it has elected Charles S. Shimanski as president and chief executive officer (CEO). Shimanski will join Rebuilding Together on August 26, 2013.

As president and CEO, Shimanski will have responsibility for the overall management of Rebuilding Together, a national non-profit organization of nearly 200 affiliates and close to 200,000 volunteers that provide $160 million in critical repairs and renovations for low-income homeowners and communities annually. He will be responsible for developing, establishing and implementing strategic goals for the organization. Additionally, Shimanski will be the key liaison to the Rebuilding Together affiliates across the nation, working with them to develop resources and services to help them better serve their communities through safe and healthy housing. He also will serve as the primary spokesperson and national fundraiser for Rebuilding Together.

“Charley’s strong experience and knowledge of nonprofits, fundraising, and affiliate relationships will help guide Rebuilding Together to best serve its vision of a safe and healthy home for every person,” said Brad Segal, chairman of the Board of Rebuilding Together. “Charley has the leadership and relationship-building skills necessary to engage with stakeholders to best steward the needs of our affiliate network, and bring volunteers and communities together to improve the homes and lives of low-income homeowners in need.”

Shimanski joins Rebuilding Together from the American Red Cross, where he has served since 2008. Shimanski worked at Red Cross national headquarters since 2010, most recently as a senior vice president of Development and as senior vice president of Disaster Services. Prior to that, he was CEO of the Red Cross regional office in Denver. During Shimanski’s tenure at the Red Cross, he created and implemented fundraising campaigns, led major disaster relief programs and worked closely with affiliate organizations.

“It will be an honor to lead Rebuilding Together and to deliver to our most vulnerable populations the foundation they deserve,” said Shimanski. “I look forward to engaging with Rebuilding Together’s stakeholders, especially the affiliate network, and to developing a plan for future growth.”
Previously, Shimanski was president and CEO of the Colorado Nonprofit Association from 2004-2008, and served as the executive director of The American Alpine Club in Colorado from 1993-2004.

“Building successful relationships with affiliate organizations is an essential talent of our new Rebuilding Together CEO,” said Kathy Greiner, Rebuilding Together national board member and National Affiliate Council chair. “We are confident in Charley’s ability to effectively engage with our network and we look forward to working with him.”

Shimanski is the author of several guidebooks on nonprofit excellence and individual giving. He has served on the National Advisory Council for the Department of Homeland Security/FEMA, and on the National Advisory Council for the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative at Harvard University. Shimanski received his B.A. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin.

Rebuilding Together is a Safe and Healthy Housing organization that believes Community Starts at Home. Our focus provides critical repairs, accessibility modifications and energy efficient upgrades to low-income homes and community centers at no cost to service recipients. Our impact extends beyond the individuals served to revitalize and stabilize vulnerable neighborhoods and communities across the country. Our close to 200 local affiliates complete nearly 10,000 rebuild projects a year thanks to the efforts of nearly 200,000 volunteers from corporate partners, skilled trades professionals and everyday good citizens. Join us — visit www.RebuildingTogether.org.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

RTS Thanks Ryan, Swanson and Cleveland for serving as our first Safe at Home Program Sponsor

In August 2010, Rebuilding Together Seattle launched its year-round maintenance program, Safe at Home, in order to better serve clients with critical home repair needs.  Upon the completion of the 2012-2013 fiscal year (June 30), Safe at Home volunteers were able to help 51 families who qualified for the program - 25 more families compared to the previous year and 52% of Rebuilding Together Seattle's total projects for the year.  

The significant growth of the Safe at Home Program was due to multiple factors, including new funding support.  In July 2012, Rebuilding Together Seattle announced our first ever Safe at Home Sponsor, Ryan, Swanson and Cleveland PLLC.  "It was one of our most exciting memories of the year," said Margie Thirlby, RTS Executive Director.  "Ryan Swanson was our organization's first corporate sponsor, and we couldn't have been happier to bring them on as our first official partner of such an important program.  They've witnessed our growth for over 20 years, and truly believe in our ability to serve more homeowners in our community.  This year we were able to help 25 more families through Safe at Home - in short, we are eternally grateful for Ryan Swanson's support!"

Let's hear from Jason Miller (Director of Marketing and Business Development) at Ryan Swanson!

Why does Ryan Swanson support the mission of Rebuilding Together Seattle?

Service to others and more broadly, to the community is of great importance to both RTS and Ryan Swanson.  Our Credo states how we “recognize our obligations to our families and to the community in which we live and work” and support participation in civic activities by our employees.  We see RTS as an organization that understands the value of this statement and these actions through the care that you provide every day to help homeowners live in warmth, safety and independence. 

Tell us a bit about  Ryan Swanson and your commitment to the community.  What types of organizations do you support, and how does Rebuilding Together Seattle serve as a valuable partner?

Giving back to our community where we live and work is an integral part of Ryan Swanson’s culture. The support of civic activities and the encouragement of the firm’s employees to participate in them is not only a stated tenet of the Firm Credo, it is a part of who we are. We are as dedicated to making our community a better place as we are to providing quality legal services.

Striving to be an active corporate citizen through the participation and support of firm management, attorneys and staff is what makes Ryan Swanson a “human” firm.  Teaming with RTS and others in the community where we live and work exemplifies our corporate presence as a caring and giving company.  This is a benefit we value greatly.

Our firm’s focus on supporting organizations and people in our local community who are determined to make a difference makes RTS a great partner within our charitable activities.  Nearly all of our charitable giving is the result of personal involvement, be it from an organization which the referring employee supports financially or with his or her time.  RTS has, for years, always been close to the heart of our employees and an organization that is enjoyable, fulfilling and easy to partner with.

Why did Ryan Swanson choose to participate as (the first) Safe at Home Program Sponsor?

Ryan Swanson was the first corporate sponsor for Rebuilding Together Seattle (Christmas in April) and has seen the positive impact of our continuing sponsorship for both the community and our organization.  It is a privilege and natural course for us to be the first Safe at Home Program Sponsor as Rebuilding Together Seattle changes with the times and supports those in need.  

What is Ryan Swanson’s hope for Rebuilding Together Seattle in years to come?

Ryan Swanson hopes are that Rebuilding Together Seattle continues to focus on the needs of the community one family at a time.  It is that focus which has the greatest impact for those families and the reward of knowing that we can make a difference in our own community.  

Thank you, Ryan Swanson, for another fantastic year of partnership!

To learn about how you or your company can become a Safe at Home Sponsor, please contact Margie Thirlby at mthirlby@rtseattle.org.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

RTS welcomes new Program Associate, Mike Lahoda!

Rebuilding Together Seattle is excited to welcome our new Program Associate, Mike Lahoda, during his first week at RTS!  At RTS, Mike will manage our Safe at Home Program, help with volunteer outreach, and coordinate key rebuilding days with our local and national sponsors.  RTS is thrilled to have Mike join our team and help expand our programs to better serve low income homeowners in our community.

Let's hear from Mike:

How did you first hear about Rebuilding Together Seattle?

I first found out about Rebuilding Together Seattle when I was researching non-profits in the Seattle area. When I came across Rebuilding Together I was really inspired by the work they were doing in Seattle and across the country to provide an outstanding community resource for individuals that can greatly benefit from additional support.

What interested in you in working for Rebuilding Together Seattle?  Why do you support our mission?

I am interested in working with Rebuilding Together Seattle because I am passionate about working on a team that is dedicated to harnessing the power of community and volunteer efforts in order to empower our residents in need of support. I support the mission of RTS because it is centered around the idea of bringing diverse community members together to reach a shared goal of warmth, safety, and independence. RTS really embodies what motivated and compassionate communities can accomplish together to improve the lives of others.

What are you looking forward to most in regard to your role at RTS as Programs Associate?  What are your hopes for RTS in years to come?

I am really looking forward to meeting and working with clients, collaborating with volunteers, and getting to know the RTS staff. I have already been fortunate to meet some of the dedicated Project Managers with RTS and their enthusiastic and appreciative spirits have really motivated me to dive right into work with RTS. The staff has also been incredibly welcoming and I am so thankful to have a great team to work with and learn from. My hope for the future of RTS is that we are able to continue to grow so that we can have a greater impact on the Seattle community.

Tell us a bit about yourself – how do you like to spend your time outside of work?

I am originally from Southern New Jersey and have been living in Seattle for the past two years. I love the culture and climate of Seattle and look forward to exploring more of the Northwest. Biking and music are two big passions of mine. When I am not working, I am usually playing guitar, banjo, or riding my bike. I also love to travel, read, and hike whenever I can. 


Friday, July 12, 2013

Gearing up for the 4th Annual Beer and Wine Tasting (Oct 4th)!

Rebuilding Together Seattle staff and volunteers are already hard at work planning for our largest fundraiser of the year, the 4th Annual Beer and Wine Tasting! On October 4th,  RTS friends and  supporters will be gathering at the new Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) in the South Lake Union neighborhood.  Mark your calendars, spread the word to your friends, and join us for a fun evening benefiting low income homeowners in need of critical home repairs. 

Event Details

Date:   Friday, October 4, 2013

Time:   7:00 PM

Location:   866 Terry Avenue
                   Seattle, WA 98109

Attire:   Dressy Casual

Cost:    $75.00 per ticket

This year, we look forward to presenting new and unique auction items, a wide variety of local beer and wine, and a distinctively Northwest menu.  Leading up to the event, we'll post blog features on the wine and beer sponsors, the silent and live auction items, and the amazing community sponsors who make this event possible. Stay up to date with the RTS Blog and Facebook page for the most current information.

Another exciting new change is the venue!  The RTS staff are beyond excited to introduce our guests to the new Museum of History and Industry. Since taking over the old Naval Armory Building in late 2012, MOHAI has become the most talked about Seattle icon for locals and tourists alike. With planes flying overhead, and a Toe Truck to trip you up, the MOHAI Grand Atrium could become the main attraction of the evening!

The Boeing B-1 on display in the museum's Grand Atrium
An interactive display featuring growling cougars, a bicycling clam, and the famous Rainer "R"
To request an invitation to the Beer and Wine Tasting 2013, please email Paige Schultz at pschultz@rtseattle.org!  Invitations and registration will be available starting mid-August.

To learn about sponsorship opportunities or how to donate to our auction, to request an invitation or sign up to volunteer, please email Paige Schultz at pschultz@rtseattle.org.



Volunteer of the Month: Danielle Hunt (Miller Nash)

Rebuilding Together Seattle is thrilled to recognize our July Volunteer of the Month, Danielle Hunt!  For the past two years, Danielle (an attorney at Miller Nash) has been lending her legal expertise to RTS as we serve the community.  Danielle has been an immense help to RTS as we fine tune our policies and procedures and troubleshoot various issues.

"Rebuilding Together Seattle is beyond grateful for Danielle's countless contributions to our organization.  Through a connection with our former Director of Programs, Sarah Ihrie, RTS was selected by Miller Nash as a pro bono client so we could utilize the firm's legal expertise when needed.  Danielle has been or go-to attorney, volunteering her time to help us better run our organization and navigate through questions or challenges we encounter.  Danielle is always incredibly kind, patient, and professional, and goes above and beyond to find us the right answers through consulting her team at Miller Nash.

In addition to serving as a legal volunteer, Danielle has also attended our annual fundraiser and is a sincere supporter of our mission.  We are so grateful for Danielle and our partnership with Miller Nash.  It is really rewarding to recognize someone like Danielle as our Volunteer of the Month, because it's a great example of meaningful volunteer work outside of direct program services - all of our volunteers are critical to our mission and collectively enable us to run an effective organization."
-Margie Thirlby, RTS Executive Director

Let's hear from Danielle!

How did you first get involved with Rebuilding Together Seattle?

A good friend of mine who was very involved in the organization introduced me to Rebuilding Together Seattle.  Once I learned about the organization and its mission, I wanted to help.

Describe your volunteer involvement with Rebuilding Together Seattle (through Miller Nash, and the pro bono program).

Pro bono activities are very important to Miller Nash LLP.  When I learned that Rebuilding Together Seattle could use legal assistance, I knew that it would be a perfect fit for our pro bono program and for me personally.  I have had the privilege to assist Rebuilding Together Seattle with everything from preparing applications for services to answering day-to-day management questions. 

What do you enjoy the most about working with our organization?

The people and the mission.  I work most closely with Rebuilding Together Seattle's staff and management.   This is a fantastic group of people whose commitment to RTS and its mission is inspiring.

What about the RTS mission are you most drawn to?

There are two aspects to RTS that I have been especially impressed with.  First, the services that RTS provides.  Having elderly family members myself, I cannot express how important their safety is to me.  I am so proud to work with an organization that not only helps to ensure the safety of individuals in their own homes, but also that provides a level of independence to those same individuals.  Second, the community building that RTS provides.  By using volunteers throughout our community to assist in rebuilding day projects, RTS does a fantastic job of strengthening the community here in Seattle.

Thank you, Danielle (and Miller Nash) for your support!  Congratulations!