Rebuilding Philadelphia … Together, for 25 Years

Twenty-five years from now, when I look back on two years as a Wharton MBA student, I will fondly and vividly recall the time I dedicated to Rebuilding Together Philadelphia. During my first build day, in the fall of 2012, I tore down a porch roof dangling precariously over a back door, rebuilt a fence that had more holes than closures, and felt I had contributed something tangible to someone else’s well-being.

Robert Bellinger (WG’89) and a team of Wharton students, started Rebuilding Together Philadelphia (RTP) 25 years ago with the goal of better connecting the school with the West Philadelphia community. Therefore, for the last 25 years, Wharton MBAs have been an integral part of RTP projects each spring. This year, in just a few weeks, hundreds of Wharton and Penn graduate students will carry out repairs to twenty houses in Mantua, a West Philadelphia neighborhood that President Obama has recently designated a Promise Zone.

The ‘block build’ will occur on March 28th and 29th and on April 4th and 5th, and we will be right around the corner from where we “rebuilt” last year. We will focus our efforts on a cluster of houses to revitalize entire blocks of a low-income neighborhood. The rhythms of our daily lives often consume us, and for Wharton students, it can be easy to stay within the microcosm of our business school journey, and in Center City. The annual RTP event will push one to venture beyond, and to connect with the surrounding community. Graduate school focuses on personal improvement and learning, and RTP creates a refreshing opportunity to focus on improving someone else’s life for a day. Therefore, we would like to invite the entire Wharton MBA community to spend a day or a few hours giving back to a Philadelphia neighborhood just a few blocks north of JMHH.

Volunteers do not need previous training in home rebuilding as technical training will be on build dates, and conducted by skilled volunteer contractors. I was, and continue to be, surprised by the amount one can learn within a few days of volunteering!

Gain Cluster Cup Points through Volunteering and Fundraising

This year, RTP is a WGA partner and highlighted on WGA Impact Day on March 28th. Thus, Cluster Cup points will be awarded for volunteer sign ups! RTP also partnered with many student clubs who, through sponsorship, are forming teams to work on a house together for a day. Students interested in joining their club teams can sign up using the volunteer registration form at http://tinyurl.com/rtpbuildday.

Cluster Cup points will also be awarded to the cluster that raises the most money for RTP. RTP has set an ambitious $25,000 fundraising goal to celebrate its 25th anniversary, and we are 60% of the way there!

Note: This year’s sponsoring clubs include African Students Association (WASA), Consulting Club, Energy Club, E Club, Finance Club, Marketing Club, Private Equity & Venture Capital, Real Estate Club, Ski and Snowboard Club, and Wharton Wildmen. The event is also made possible by contributions from WGA, GAPSA, and Penn Design Student Council.

RTP is a member of the national Rebuilding Together non-profit, a network of local organizations that provide critical home repairs, modifications, and improvements for low-income homeowners. For additional information or questions, please contact Chris Burns (WG ’14).

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