Rebuilding Together San Francisco

A safe and healthy home for every person.

San Francisco, CA   |


Repairing homes, revitalizing communities, rebuilding lives.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Karen Nemsick

Main address

Pier 28, The Embarcadero

San Francisco, CA 94105 USA

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Formerly known as

Christmas In April



NTEE code info

Housing Rehabilitation (L25)

Home Improvement/Repairs (L81)

Community, Neighborhood Development, Improvement (S20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

National Rebuilding Day

Each year on the last Saturday in April, Rebuilding Together San Francisco mobilizes thousands of volunteers to provide repair and renovation services for low-income homeowners and nonprofit facilities and schools.  Local businesses and organizations provide the financial and volunteer support to complete 30 rebuilding projects each April.

Population(s) Served

Through the Safe at Home program, skilled RTSF volunteers and staff work to prevent falls and improve the quality of life for people who—due to age, financial limitations, or disability—cannot do the repairs or renovations necessary to keep them safe and healthy in their homes.

The range of safety modifications that RTSF staff and volunteers provide at no cost to the homeowner include:
Installing supportive features throughout the house such as handrails, bath tub grab bars, double-sided tape on rugs, and non-slip mats or strips in the bathtub/shower.
Adding lighting to hallways and corners and replacing light bulbs.
Fixing or replacing loose/uneven steps, firmly attaching carpet to stairs or replacing it with non-stick rubber treads, painting a contrasting color at the top of each step.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of homeowners/tenants rating their feeling of safety in and around their homes as satisfactory

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Safe at Home

Context Notes

A recent study found that our home repairs reduce the frequency of falls among older people. 67% of respondents overall had 3+ falls/year. Only 33% of repair recipients had 3 or more falls annually.

Number of facilities improved

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

National Rebuilding Day

Context Notes

Our repair programs allow nonprofits to direct limited funds to program services instead of repairs and maintenance.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Rebuilding Together San Francisco (RTSF) mobilizes teams of volunteers to revitalize communities by repairing and renovating homes and nonprofit facilities and schools. RTSF focuses its resources on predominantly low-income neighborhoods, serving a wide array of community members with a particular focus on San Francisco's senior citizens. RTSF also improves nonprofit facilities and schools that anchor their communities, and provides technical assistance to motivated community members and organizations that want to perform their own revitalization efforts.

Our immediate goals are to increase the safety, comfort, and disaster preparedness of San Francisco homes and nonprofit facilities, satisfying critical needs that would otherwise go unmet. In this regard, RTSF's work supplements government programs and existing community services that seek to provide safe, affordable housing for San Francisco's low-income communities. In the near-term, RTSF works to contribute to healthy and safe neighborhoods and helps preserve the integrity of San Francisco's neighborhoods by easing the burden of home maintenance on low-income and elderly homeowners.

In the long-term, success for RTSF means:
Providing institutional knowledge and resources to community organizations to support their self-sustaining community revitalization
300 seniors and low-income homeowners annually living more safely and comfortably in their homes
25 nonprofit facilities and schools annually become cleaner, safer and healthier community resources
RTSF's close partnership with the city of San Francisco provides sufficient funding and administrative support to renovate 20 schools and community centers annually so they can focus their resources on core objectives
Increased participation by local companies through employee volunteerism and financial support to provide sufficient resources to cover the National Rebuilding Days budgets
Closer community connectedness as a result of volunteers interacting with homeowners, working in neighborhoods and focusing on the shared goal of community revitalization
Preserving affordable housing in San Francisco's neighborhoods by maintaining existing affordable homes that can be passed on to future generations

RTSF organizes, promotes and executes a core program , Rebuilding Day, as well as two year-round programs that serve its immediate and long-term goals. Rebuilding Days are large-scale revitalization efforts that mobilize thousands of volunteers to provide a concentrated impact on 20 homes and 20 nonprofit community centers and schools each spring and fall.

Recently, RTSF has sought to increase the lasting impact of Rebuilding Days through its Rebuilding Neighborhoods initiative. Rebuilding Neighborhoods focuses on identifying and building relationships with motivated community stakeholders, assisting them with initiating and maintaining revitalization efforts after Rebuilding Days. Our partnership with the Mayor's Office of Housing to administer neighborhood based Community Action Grants is initial evidence of the success of the Rebuilding Neighborhoods initiative.

RTSF's year-round programs is Safe at Home. This program also engages volunteers all year, and offers critical support for San Francisco's under-served communities in between Rebuilding Day efforts. The Safe at Home program addresses common home safety hazards and provides vital modifications for the elderly and disabled, including fall prevention, earthquake safety and light repairs.

Rebuilding Days and Safe at Home provide a broad-based strategy for achieving RTSF's revitalization goals by strengthening community networks and building partnerships among organizations to increase the impact on San Francisco's underserved neighborhoods.

RTSF maintains a dedicated staff of five, focused on designated management responsibilities as well as the long-term goals of the organization. The Executive Director manages fundraising, strategic and financial planning, and business development. The Outreach Manager is focused on fostering and improving community and client relationships. Our Rebuilding Days Program Manager is responsible for all apsects of our Rebuilding Day and year-round team builds. Our Resource Manager is in charge of all events as well ask volunteer recruitment.

RTSF's long-term success is supported by a Board of Directors which oversees operations and serves as a capacity building resource. RTSF's greatest external resources are the funders, City agencies, building and construction industry organizations and professionals, and local, regional, national and multinational companies that provide monetary and in-kind donations and volunteer time to support RTSF's mission. RTSF provides the organizational and management expertise necessary to create efficient networks between these varied stakeholders to achieve its revitalization goals. The following are some examples of RTSF's external resources:
City Partnerships: The Mayor's Office of Housing - Community Action Grants and Community Development Block Grants; The Dept of Public Health - Community Home Injury Prevention Program to provide home safety modifications; City Administrator's office - seismic retrofits to low income homeowners to increase structural safety of their homes.
Professional Partnerships & In-Kind Donation Resources: The IBEW Local 6 - pro bono electrical work for our projects via volunteer electricians and apprentices; Local construction companies - Webcor, Swinerton, DPR and Clark contribute in-kind constructions services and materials; Recology provides pro bono debris boxes for projects that need extra disposal and waste/recycling pickups at each Rebuilding Day site.
Local and National Rebuilding Day Sponsors include: Union Bank, SAP , Prologis, Arnold & Porter, Sephora, Ernst & Young, Federal Home Loan Bank, Farella Braun & Martel, Morrison & Foerster, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliff, Lick Wilmerding High School, Real Management Company, Related CA.

RTSF understands that leveraging monetary and in-kind donations is key to its continued success in achieving its goals. We maintain a focus on low overhead costs and have consistently demonstrated our ability to produce significant improvement value from relatively modest budgets. Tying together its ground-level knowledge of target communities and efficient systems for managing relationships, programs and budgets, RTSF is able to substantially lower the transaction costs for stakeholders in order to achieve its revitalization goals in San Francisco's underserved neighborhoods.

Notwithstanding the widespread decrease in nonprofit funding during the economic downturn, RTSF has continued to provide pre-recession levels of service to San Francisco's low-income, disabled and elderly community members. By looking critically at internal organizational systems and structure, as well as its strategy for developing external networks and resources, RTSF also has expanded its reputation as a community revitalization resource and increased partner efforts with City agencies and community organizations. RTSF's ability to maintain its level of service is due in large part to these institutional systems and creative strategies to reduce costs and increase efficiencies. For example, RTSF has engaged AmeriCorps members to build staff capacity without significantly increasing the salary line item in its budget. RTSF's continued successes demonstrate the consistent value of its core Rebuilding Day program and its project management assets. While RTSF's strategies have been effective at maintaining current programs and initiatives, they are not sufficient standing alone to achieve RTSF's long-term goals. In particular, RTSF is working to achieve a better balance in its funding model to provide more consistent funds for fixed costs and to build reserves that give it flexibility to pursue new opportunities during difficult economic times. Key aspects of this strategy are increasing the proportion of unrestricted funds obtained from individual giving and diversifying its Board Members to involve more industry and market leaders. RTSF's continued focus on its core Rebuilding Day program, while implementing new year-round initiatives, are helping it expand and strengthen its partner networks as well as continuing to provide media visibility and deliver results for homeowners and donors alike.


Rebuilding Together San Francisco

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Rebuilding Together San Francisco

Board of directors
as of 06/18/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Michael Sevy


Term: 2016 - 2018

Board co-chair

J.J. Panzer

Real Management Company

Term: 2015 - 2017

Ryan Bjorkquist

Environmental Sustainability

Ken Rakestraw

Sares Regis

Terry McKellips

Swinerton Builders

Karen Frock


Jaclyn Carpenter

Ideal Restoration

Zoe Hyatt

Uber Inc.

Katie Booth

Clark Construction

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes