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The Rebuilding Together Story

In 1973, caring people in Midland, Texas saw that many of their low- and fixed-income neighbors were living in homes with no hot water, electricity or indoor plumbing and holes in their walls large enough to walk through. When they discovered that there weren’t any programs to help these homeowners, they took action. Taking their cue from the old idea of barn-raising, they recruited volunteers to rehabilitate deteriorating homes in their community. The program got its name when one of the early recipients likened the help to having "Christmas in April."

By 1988, there were 13 loosely affiliated Christmas in April operations across the United States, including one in Washington, DC. Patty Johnson, then Executive Director of the Washington, DC program, recalls an increasing deluge of calls from people across the nation interested in bringing the program to their own communities. The need for this program existed in every city in America, so a national office was officially launched. Christmas in April USA provided a focus for replicating the soon-to-be trademarked program and assisted in the planning, development and execution of affiliate services. Johnson became the first president and CEO of Christmas in April USA in 1988, and she has been there ever since. Seventeen years later, there are more than 250 programs operating in more than 900 cities and towns across America.

In early 2001, the organization became “Rebuilding Together”, a name which reflects its expanded mission and additional year-round services. For seventeen years, the organization has been rebuilding America, one house at a time. As part of the expanded mission, Rebuilding Together is tackling several new projects, including rehabbing more non-profit community centers and providing home modifications to aging and disabled homeowners.

National activities include Kick-off to Rebuild, in cooperation with the National Football League in the host city for the Super Bowl, NBA Cares, in cooperation with the National Basketball Association in the host city for the All-Star Game and a building program in cooperation with Major League Baseball in the host city for the All-Star Game. In addition following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Rebuilding Together initiated Rebuild 1000! to rebuilding 1000 homes in the city. It will complete this program in 2012.

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