May 2017 Workbench

May 2017 Issue

Homeowner Spotlight :

Carol came to the Rebuilding Together in April of this year in need of help in replacing the leaking water heater in her home. Carol  grew up in the same Moorhead residence she resides in today. She inherited her home from her parents upon their death. Her house means the world to her, it is the only place she wants to live. She has needed help keeping up her home for some time as her social security income does not allow for expensive home repairs. She was very worried that the water damage caused by the leaking water heater would create mold and urgently needed a new one. She also had no idea how to find a replacement for her 1975 under the sink water heater. She was so relieved to hear that Rebuilding Together would be able to help her with this. Much to her surprise Rebuilding Together was able to find an appropriate updated version that would work in Carols home. With the help of  a few great volunteers  this new water heater will help keep this area senior in the  safe and healthy home she loves.


2017 projects are in full swing. We are in need of home sponsors and volunteers to meet the needs of the 35 plus homeowners who are currently awaiting safe and healthy home repairs. If you are interested in making a difference in  the lives of others  call our office and   find out how you can help  in 2017 701-356-7836.



April Workbench

 April 2017 Issue

Volunteer Spotlight :

I was raised in a town of 900 people and have now been a part of the Fargo-Moorhead community for over 25 years.  Since moving to Fargo I have evolved from what most would classify as a punk teenager with a bullet proof attitude (my wife would argue that the bullet proof attitude still exists), to someone who is only just starting to realize the value of life and people.  I am also extremely fortunate to work for  a company such as Showplace Kitchens that not only supports but encourages  my endeavors.

Growing up in a small town the “talk around town” is that everyone pretty much knows what you had for dinner last night and every other nugget of information you thought was private.  That being said “sense of community” was looked upon as a negative.  As I have grown, I have started to understand the positives of it all.  We didn’t have the good fortune of a Rotary Club, United Way, Rebuilding Together or any other worthy organization on a direct level.  We were a small town and what came with that affiliation was the simple fact that if you needed a helping hand – there was always someone to step up and help out.  If the help needed was monetary – a well-attended spaghetti feed at the city hall was always an option.

As I have grown in the last 25 years I have had a great deal to do with the United Way.   I have also been involved on several committees with the HBA, joined the Rotary club and taken various other volunteer opportunities.  A little over a year ago, while attending an HBA function.  I was introduced to  Rebuilding Together.  I was asked if I was interested in volunteering.  While I have witnessed the variety and multitude of volunteer opportunities in our community and quite honestly have not found a bad one.  I was in the middle of preparation for the booth that Showplace Kitchens hosts at the Red River Valley Home & Garden Show.  My response “contact me after the Home Show”…

I was sitting at my desk one day and Rebuilding Together came to mind.   I did a google search and pulled up their website & Facebook page.  At first glance I was a little disappointed at the newsletter on their website not being current and a few other things that seemed like they could use some attention.  I then started to dig a little deeper and realized their size and longevity locally. Rebuilding Together was just five years old and employed only 3 part time people.  It occurred to me that their mission to help low income, elderly and veterans with home repairs was one that I had seen first-hand in the small town community in which I grew up. All Rebuilding Together Really needed from me or anyone else was a helping hand, that helping hand would pay it forward to folks that didn’t have the good fortune of experiencing   the sense of community found in a small town.  So, to take it one step further… when you have a larger community you don’t have the luxury of knowing everyone or knowing anyone’s trials & tribulations.  Consequently, that is why it is amazing to see the plethora of options in which one can volunteer & contribute right here in the Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo Community and I couldn’t be any more pleased with the ones I am able to contribute to. Rebuilding Together is right at the top for me!

Jamie Stenseth, Showplace Kitchens


Our 2017 “Neighbors Helping Neighbors”  breakfast  held on April  12th created  several new relationships and 22 new volunteers a BIG THANK YOU to all who attended!  We are gearing up for our 2017 build season and always in need of project volunteers., house sponsors, and general volunteers to ensure we meet as many needs in our community as possible . To get involved and help out your neighbors in need contact Lisa Graalum at 701-356-7836 or email her at


Our Impact in 2016

Summary of 2016 Projects

We completed 35 projects for 26 families. Of the homeowners we helped, 54 % were over 65 years of age, 24% of the homeowners live with a disability, and 16 % of  homeowners are Veterans or widows of Veterans. Most of the homeowners are living on Social Security as their only source of income making it difficult to afford  the repairs needed to provide a safe and healthy home.

We are grateful for our 180 volunteers who gave over 1800 hours of their time to ensure our  neighbors have a safe and healthy home.



Meet Hank and his wife just one of the many veterans we serve each year!

Hank a 95 year young WWII veteran has seen a lot in his lifetime. He was there when the Americans stormed Normandy and liberated prison camps, he watched man land on the moon, and celebrated entering a new millennium. Hank and his wife have lived in their little old south Fargo home for 58 years.  Living, working, and raising their children in the Fargo community. As with many senior citizens Hank and his wife struggle with making ends meet on social security and a small pension. One of their children found out about the work Rebuilding Together does and filled out an application for her parents to try and get the roof of their aging home repaired writing” (mom and dads) biggest hope is getting help with their roof”.  In March of this year that hope was made a reality with the generous support of the Fargo-Moorhead community.

Meet Tracy Green one of our Generous NEW donors

Tracy Green is an experienced Real-estate agent/broker in the FM area with an extensive background in banking advertising and marketing. Tracy opened Green Team Reality Inc. in 2012. Tracy has a passion for people and strives to make the transition from house to home as hassle free as possible.

Tracy believes in giving back to her community and supports several area non-profits in many ways. Tracy has served on the FM Area Foundation and Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity Board of directors along with Homeward Bound Animal Shelter and Chamber of Commerce committees.  She believes in giving back both professionally and personally. Tracy was introduced to Rebuilding Together Fargo Moorhead Area through her friends in the Fargo-Moorhead Area Realtor Association and began supporting us in 2016. Tracey’s gracious support helped to kick off our Hope Builders Campaign in late September! Tracy’s upbeat and positive personality is a wonderful asset to any event. Thank You Tracy!!

Meet Ray Perhus one of our Amazing Volunteer’s

Ray began a relationship with Rebuilding Together Fargo- Moorhead Area in October of 2013. A coworker of his was involved with the organization, interested in giving back to the community Ray asked for more information . After researching RTFMA’s mission he felt it would be good fit. Ray already possessed a background in construction and saw us as a good way to  put those skills to use helping low –income homeowners  in his community. Ray has helped on several projects over the last three years including repairing a deck and landing, repairing gutters, tub repair, and installing handrails. With a busy life and career Ray finds volunteering with Rebuilding Together a perfect fit, he is able to improve the lives of others and sqeeze it in to his busy schedule. In appreciation of his generosity and support for our mission Ray was awarded a 2016 “Builders Award” at our Nov 8th Building Change Breakfast! THANK FOR ALL YOU DO RAY!!

Meet Our Board President and Founding Member Tom Newberger


Tom became involved with Rebuilding Together before it was even a local organization.  He has known Russ Richards (our executive director) for years. While Russ was working for Habitat for Humanity, the two started brainstorming on how to keep people in their homes rather than building them new ones.   Many discussions where held while kayaking and over lunches.  Russ did some research and found Rebuilding Together.  In 2010 they  processed all the paper work with the IRS and State of North Dakota to become a legal entity.  They raised funds, assembled the Board of Directors, worked on many projects together, and really got the organization off the ground.  During this time frame, few funds were available and all the money RT had went to projects to support people and to keep them in their homes.  No pay was given to Russ at first.  Through Russ’s contacts and commitment Rebuilding Together today has three staff, many volunteers, and has kept over 120 area residents in their homes by making them livable.  The impact we have on people’s lives is huge and we need to keep expanding our services ; too many people in the Fargo-Moorhead area and beyond need our help.


December Work Bench

The holiday season is a time to spend with family and friends, counting our blessings in the warmth and comfort of our homes. Unfortunately for many of the people we serve this time of year warmth and comfort are almost impossible to obtain. A family in Moorhead is just one example of the needs we see in our community.

A single mom of three young children came to us this summer hoping we could help her make critical repairs to her mobile home.  After being homeless for three months in 2015 she managed to scrap together the funds to purchase an older mobile home in attempts to provide for her kids. She suffered a potentially disabling injury shortly after purchasing the home that was then compounded through injuries inflicted by her estranged husband.  With the help of “Masters Heart Ministry’s” the most critical and dangerous repairs were made. However the roof she so badly needed was placed on hold until a wonderful house sponsor stepped up  “Bethel Church”.  Unfortunately when assessing the property and preparing to get the roof completed it was determined the mobile home was in such disrepair it was not worth fixing.   Rebuilding Together entered into the mobile home buying business; we were able to purchase a small home in much better condition. The new house still needs minor repairs and we would like to  demolish the old home to ensure it is not sold to another unsuspecting family in the future. WE NEED YOUR HELP  to make those repairs and  to continue to give our neighbors in the FM community a hand up! Help us  create a safe and healthy home for this family  for 2017!



RTFMA  transformed the live of  26 area homeowners in 2016. We are now working hard to increase this impact in 2017 . “ Claws for a Cause” planning is in full swing  Mark the date , 3-7-17 and order tickets now . A new development team had their first meeting on December 7th and will be a wonderful asset to the organization. If you are interested in making a difference in  the lives of others  by giving back of your time call  Lisa at  find out about our many volunteer opportunities in 2017 701-356-7836.

A Big Thank You To!

  • The Consensus Counsel and Bush Foundation for a $10,000  community innovation grant !
  • Jeff’s Plumbing  for their generous end of the year Foundation Builder gift!
  • The Iseminger children in honor of their parents, Gordon and Trudy  Iseminger for their generous end of the year Foundation Builder gift matched by Sammons Financial Group!
  • Our Amazing donors, volunteers, and partners who helped transform the lives of their neighbors in the Fargo-Moorhead community in 2016!!!!
  • Sammons Financial Group for their commitment to another year of giving back to Veterans in our community for 2017!




Thank You! the Consensus Counsel and Bush Foundation


Rebuilding Together Fargo-Moorhead Area has received a $10,000 Community Innovation Grant from the Consensus Council in Partnership with the Bush Foundation  to transform the lives and homes of area residents. The community innovation grant will allow Rebuilding Together to educate our community on the issues surrounding safe, healthy, and affordable housing . Thank You!!