Rebuilding Together History

Rebuilding Together started over 30 years ago, as Christmas in April, with an act of grassroots activism and community engagement in Midland, Texas.

A small group of good people realized a growing need in their community. Their neighbors’ homes had fallen into disrepair and the homeowners could not afford to fix them. The founding affiliates volunteered their time and skill to rehabilitate the homes of their neighbors.

This simple act of neighbors helping neighbors inspired others, spreading slowly at first, then across the country. Our mission spread beyond the idea of providing service once a year in April to bringing together partners from all walks of life to our help our neighbors year-round. We became Rebuilding Together and opened the National Headquarters in 1988.


Today, the Rebuilding Together Affiliate Network consists of 132 chapters, located throughout the United States. Collectively, Rebuilding Together has completed work on more than 100,000 homes across the nation. With the help of 3.4 million volunteers, Rebuilding Together has delivered over $1.3 billion in market value since its founding.

Local History


Rebuilding Together Fox Valley was formed between 1999 and 2000 by founder John Vandenberg. He recruited a board of directors, applied for non-profit status, began raising funds, and the mission to help neighbors in need began. The first National Rebuilding Day was in May of 2001. Seven houses were successfully rehabbed with about 250 volunteers.  Three months later, John unexpectedly passed away, however, his dream didn’t. The mission was important to many and it continued to thrive and grow.


Today, 22 years later, his dream and legacy continue with the help of volunteers, skilled tradespeople, and the support of local businesses and major corporate partners.


Rebuilding Together Fox Valley makes life better for income-qualified neighbors in need, primarily older adults, persons with a disability, and veteran homeowners, every year. Our work positively impacts the living conditions of homeowners to help them live in warmth, safety, and independence. Critical home modifications and repairs are made at no cost to the homeowner allowing them to live safely and divert limited funds to other critical family budget items.

Interview with Joe Truehart, Vice-President Rebuilding Together Fox Valley Board of Directors