GREENVILLE, S.C. – Thirteen years after the first nail was hammered into the roof of a home near Clemson University, Rebuild Upstate recently completed repairs on its 1,000 home.
Rebuild Upstate serves low-income homeowners with repairs and accessibility improvements to create safe, livable housing in existing homes and neighborhoods in Greenville, Anderson, Pickens and Oconee counties.
The agency has done repairs on 1,000 Upstate homes, but the actual number of projects is closer to 2,500, said Chris Manley, Rebuild Upstate’s President/CEO and founder. The reason is because the agency has focused more and more on doing multiple projects on each home.
“We realized several years ago that fixing one thing in a house that needed numerous repairs was only putting a temporary bandage on the problem,” Manley said. “We decided to make a more fulsome approach to these projects by doing more at each site.”
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 low income family in Clemson. As a result of this experience, the organization officially incorporated and began exploring the need in its 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.
In April 2015, the organization formally adopted a new name, Rebuild Upstate, to accurately reflect the organization’s mission and to enhance visibility and name recognition. 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.
“Rebuild Upstate has dedicated itself to changing lives by helping our neighbors in need,” said Chip Reaves, the agency’s board chair.
In the past 13 years, Rebuild Upstate has been honored with numerous awards including Max Heller Neighborhood Improvement Award from the Greenville Chamber in 2019; Fred R. Sheheen Award for Excellence in Non-Profit Leadership from TogetherSC in 2018; and a three-time winner of the Best Practices Award from the ReFrame Association, the national association of nonprofit home repair organizations.
“Reaching 1,000 homes wasn’t even on our radar when we repaired our first home in the Upstate back in 2007,” Manley said. “But now that we have reached it, we already are thinking about 2,000.”
About Rebuild Upstate:
Rebuild Upstate serves low-income homeowners with repairs and accessibility improvements to create safe, livable housing in existing homes and neighborhoods in Greenville, Anderson, Pickens and Oconee counties. Its team envisions a community where everyone has the opportunity to live a life of dignity in a safe home environment in order to maintain and foster strong, sustainable communities. Learn more at www.rebuildupstate.org.
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