Rebuild Upstate celebrating 10th Anniversary

GREENVILLE, S.C. – An Upstate non-profit that has repaired and rehabilitated more than 600 homes of low-income residents is celebrating 10 years of serving families in the Upstate.

“We have done some amazing things in the past decade,” said Chris Manley, Rebuild Upstate’s executive director and founder. “We look forward to continuing to repair homes of local families in need over the coming decade.”

Rebuild Upstate traces its roots to the fall of 2006 as Tigers Go, which consisted of college students and community members making disaster relief trips to the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina. By January 2007, the group was asked about their ability to replace a roof for a low­income family in Clemson. As a result of this experience, the organization officially incorporated and began exploring what need there was in their own community for home repairs in addition to what they were doing in New Orleans. Thus, Tigers Go officially became an agency serving the Upstate.

The name was changed to ReWiGo Ministries in August 2010 to reflect a growing number of "non-Tigers" participating in repair and rebuild projects. In the summer of 2011, ReWiGo transitioned its service in the New Orleans area to local organizations. This paved the way to focus its attention on one geographic location and a growing waiting list of families to serve in the Upstate.

A new mission statement was adopted to center the organization’s focus on Anderson, Greenville, Oconee, and Pickens counties. In early 2012, ReWiGo established its primary office in Greenville. The organization created its’ first strategic plan in 2013 and the results have been very impressive. By strategically focusing on messaging and marketing, metrics, grassroots relationships, board leadership, and fiscal stability, it has strengthened its capacity to address the growing home repair needs of low income Upstate Families.

The organization has grown its presence and impact in the Upstate from serving 26 homes in 2012, to 141 homes in 2016. This growth also had a major impact on annual revenues increasing 1,225 percent during the four­year period. The number of projects also increased – from 26 to 283 – as a result of focusing on holistically improving each home to a safe and healthy place to live.

In April 2016, the organization formally adopted a new name, Rebuild Upstate, to accurately reflect the organization’s mission and to enhance visibility and name recognition.

“As the organization’s visibility improved in the community, word of mouth increased the volume of work requests,” said Burgess Metcalf, the agency’s board chair. “This stretched the organization to its capacity and allowed it to address only a fraction of the home repair requests received. Because the needs exceeded both the resource capacity and the human capacity of the organization, a new plan was needed.”

In 2017, with key input from stakeholders, partners, the Board of Directors and staff, a new strategic planning document was created to plan the organization’s path forward for the next three calendar years.

“By focusing on strengthening the organizational structure, increasing funding streams, enhancing visibility, sustaining operational excellence and facilitating a strategic growth plan, Rebuild Upstate will continue to lead the way in the elimination of substandard housing in the Upstate for many years to come,” Manley said.

Community members seeking to learn more about Rebuild Upstate are invited to attend Wake Up with Rebuild on Nov. 14, from 7:30-9:00am, at the Warehouse Theatre. Registration is free and available at wakeup2017.eventbrite.com.

About Rebuild Upstate:
Rebuild Upstate is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization serving Upstate South Carolina low-income homeowners with home repairs and accessibility improvements to create safe, livable housing in existing homes and neighborhoods. Learn more at www.rebuildupstate.org.