When Rebuilding Together was founded in 1973, the original goal was to bring communities together by having neighbors help neighbors rebuild their homes.
Today, we have broadened our scope to include making life-changing impacts on neighborhoods and their small businesses across the U.S. In fact, our local affiliates and nearly 100,000 volunteers complete about 10,000 rebuild projects nationwide each year.
Local businesses are the foundation of healthy communities
For many Americans, a typical weekend consists of running into friends at the local farmers market, having dinner at a great little restaurant not far from home, or getting helpful advice from the neighborhood hardware store for that long-procrastinated home repair project.
At the heart of many of these experiences is a local small business.
Small businesses are an integral part of every town and community. They are gathering places where neighbors meet neighbors and people get to know one another and spend time together. In other words, they are an important part of every community’s culture.
Small businesses also play a crucial role in the economy of every community. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses employ 56.8 million people across the country (PDF) — creating 65 percent of net new jobs since 1995.
By employing, sourcing, and redistributing wealth locally, small businesses are the backbones of communities throughout our country.
Understanding each community’s unique needs
Our affiliate network works closely with local governments and other nonprofit organizations to meet the needs of local residents and business owners and help them build stronger, more resilient communities.
We connect homeowners with financial literacy programs, establish food pantries and community gardens, teach trade skills and help residents gain employment, and rebuild many community centers and institutions, including libraries, parks, schools, and homeless shelters.
One program helping Rebuilding Together achieve its goal is the Wells Fargo Works for Small Business® Neighborhood Renovation Program Contest. Last year, small business owners in Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, and Minneapolis were invited to enter the contest to win up to $25,000 in business renovations.
In each of these five cities, four different small businesses were awarded business renovations through a monetary budget and access to a Rebuilding Together team that helped identify and address business challenges and opportunities.
Grand prize winner Marques Armstrong started Hope & Healing Counseling Services to meet the specific needs of underserved African Americans in Minneapolis. Grand prizewinner Deepak Doshi runs Doshi House, a coffeehouse in Houston’s Third Ward that also offers vegetarian and vegan dishes. Grand prizewinner Master Renard Beaty uses martial arts to teach leadership skills to a diverse group of Atlanta’s youth at Kick Start Martial ArtsTM. Grand prizewinner Cary Jordan continues his grandmother’s legacy of serving affordable, quality food at Jordan’s Hot Dogs in the Crenshaw/Hyde Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. Grand prizewinner and author Jan Mapou opened his bookstore, Libreri Mapou, in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood to promote Haitian culture and literature. Grand prizewinner Marques Armstrong started Hope & Healing Counseling Services to meet the specific needs of underserved African Americans in Minneapolis. Grand prizewinner Deepak Doshi runs Doshi House, a coffeehouse in Houston’s Third Ward that also offers vegetarian and vegan dishes.