In early 2000, two leading and community-minded companies in Broward County, AutoNation and JM Family Enterprises, asked Leadership Broward Foundation (LBF) to introduce and lead the National Rebuilding Together Day in Broward County starting in April 2000. In addition, AutoNation and JM Family Enterprises provided seed money to support the development of this project. The Executive Director of LBF, Anne Hotte, and the Board of Directors accepted that request. Considering that Rebuilding Together, Inc. recommends a planning process of five months to support this annual event, it is exceptional to note that LBF had only seven weeks to select the homes & identify the repairs and then bring together sponsors, suppliers, house captains and 100 volunteers to rejuvenate six homes.
The mission of LBF is “To inspire excellence in leadership in Broward County by developing leaders and encouraging community trusteeship.” Over the next four years, LBF led the effort to make the Annual Rebuilding Together Day a successful community project. The sponsorship of this annual event is a practical demonstration of servant leadership, community service and leading by example.
Each year 6-7 homes were revitalized through the involvement of 120 volunteers, 6 house sponsors and 15-20 project sponsors. (Multiply this by four years and one sees the power of community outreach.) Those four annual projects received a total of $80,000 in donations (cash, credits and in-kind) and approximately 3,200 hours in volunteer labor. Partnerships were formed with the Broward County Community Development Division to identify low-income neighborhoods and to work with community leaders to further empower neighborhood associations. Ongoing relationships were also established with private sector and non-profit organizations to fund the expenses and to secure skilled and willing volunteers.
House sponsors, suppliers, supporters and volunteers demonstrated in concrete action of how to respond to those who need help. This broad support, (from the public, private and non-profit sectors) shows that caring for our community is widely endorsed and that home repairs are effective actions to address quality of life issues like comfort, security and independence in addition to supporting the common needs of hope, integrity, pride of home ownership and community development.
In early 2003, executives within Leadership Broward Foundation had decided that Rebuilding Together in Broward County could and should become more than a once a year event. This mission had the potential to become a stand-alone affiliate and provide year-round assistance to low-income homeowners and to needy non-profit facilities.
Starting in early June 2003, steps were taken by Anne Hotte and Kevin Leonard to request that Dave Reierson assume the function of Executive Director and establish Rebuilding Together Broward County, Inc. as an independent 501(c)(3) affiliate of Rebuilding Together, Inc.