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Rebuild FAQ

Q: Who manages Rebuild?

Rebuild is part of the Managing Director’s Office at the City of Philadelphia and works closely with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and the Free Library of Philadelphia. A list of current staff members can be found on the Rebuild website.

Q: How many Rebuild sites will receive investments?

There are over 400 sites that could receive Rebuild investments. Visit the Rebuild website to see all of them. Rebuild will improve as many sites as possible, which could be up to 100 or more sites – every dollar raised can help Rebuild reach more sites. 

Most Rebuild sites will be in communities with high need as exhibited by relatively high rates of poverty, drug crimes, or health risks. The Rebuild Team will work with City Council to select sites.

Q: Where will the money come from for Rebuild?

Rebuild will be funded through several sources: bonds which will be repaid using revenue from the Philadelphia Beverage Tax; a grant commitment of up to $100 million from the William Penn Foundation; and $48 million from the City’s capital budget. To maximize Rebuild’s impact and the number of sites that will be fixed, Rebuild is seeking to raise up to $52 million from foundations, individual donors, as well as federal and state grants.

Q: What are Rebuild’s community engagement goals? 

Communities receiving Rebuild investment will participate in a tailored engagement process for their facility, creating opportunities to:

• Allow for community input, with an emphasis on reaching residents whose voices are often not heard
• Document the priorities of the community and people who use the space
• Raise expectations for how the space can be improved to serve the neighborhood

These activities will be designed to ensure that residents can inform and shape the improvements at their facility and reinforce and strengthen the sense of pride and ownership of the site.

Rebuild will also invest in building the capacity of the volunteer groups that support their neighborhood park, recreation center or library. These groups, such as friends groups or recreation advisory councils, play an integral role in ensuring their facility continues to the community over the long term through things activities like fundraisers, programs, and clean ups.

Q: How will Rebuild grow minority, women and disabled-owned businesses? 

Rebuild will provide a set of supports and services to support minority, women and disabled-owned businesses to help them become more competitive for professional service or construction contracts, starting with Rebuild projects. This program will help small, local businesses become “Rebuild Ready” by helping to connect them to contract opportunities and overcome challenges that may have prevented them from getting work and growing in the past.  

Q: How will Rebuild provide more opportunities for minorities and women to join the building trades and construction industry?

Rebuild will launch two workforce programs as part of the initiative.

PHL Pipeline, which Rebuild is developing in partnership with Philadelphia Works, will be a workforce program designed to help minorities and women in Philadelphia neighborhoods start a family-sustaining career. This program will provide paid work experience, test preparation and other supports to individuals who want to work in the construction industry. 

Rebuild is also working with local construction unions and the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) to create pathways for individuals who have experience in construction but are not part of a union and would like to join. These individuals can be hired by PRA to complete Rebuild projects and, after about 1.5 years of work on Rebuild, can become card-carrying union members.

Q: What is the process for site selection?

Rebuild will take a data-informed approach to selecting sites. Each year, Rebuild will propose a list of sites to be approved by City Council giving priority to areas dealing with relatively high rates of poverty, drug offenses, and health risks. Rebuild is also seeking to select sites where investment could help to stabilize or revitalize a community as well as sites that have urgent physical needs. Learn more about Rebuild’s data, the selection criteria, and which sites have already been proposed or selected here.

Q: When will Rebuild projects start?

An initial set of Rebuild projects are expected to launch in 2018. However, most projects will not begin until the Philadelphia Beverage Tax has been upheld by the courts.

Q: What about sustainability? How will sites be maintained once Rebuild projects are complete?

The work of Rebuild will modernize facilities which will in turn reduce the maintenance burden.  The beverage tax will also enable the Parks and Recreation Department to bring on additional permanent skilled trades staff who will increase their capacity to maintain sites.  Finally, Rebuild is exploring the possibility of fundraising for a maintenance endowment to help fund ongoing costs related to maintenance of Rebuild sites.

Q: How will nonprofits be involved in Rebuild?

Pre-qualified nonprofits, called Project Users, will manage most Rebuild projects from community engagement through design and construction. To be eligible to serve in this role, interested local nonprofits must become pre-qualified through a Request for Qualifications process. The RFQ process will be re-opened every one to two years. You can see the current list of qualified Project Users here.

Once qualified, nonprofits Project Users will be eligible to apply for grants, subject to approval by the City, to work on selected Rebuild projects. Under the Rebuild Team’s oversight, Project Users will use the grant money to subcontract to partners as needed, which could include partners focused on everything from community engagement to design and construction for Rebuild projects.

There is no set number of nonprofits to be qualified as Project Users.  RFQ’s will continue to be issued every one to two years to ensure that a wide range of nonprofits serving diverse communities across the city can manage projects in the neighborhoods they serve.

Q: How should I respond to nonprofits requesting funding for work related to Rebuild?

Funders should direct any inquiries from nonprofits to the Rebuild team. The strong preference is that all fundraising go through the National Philanthropic Trust for accounting, oversight, and accountability purposes. Money going through the National Philanthropic Trust can still be directed to a specific nonprofit or project.

Q: My foundation doesn’t usually make grants to “intermediaries.”  Why aren't grants being made directly to nonprofits working on Rebuild projects? 

Rebuild is a large public/private effort that provides funders the opportunity to streamline processes and work collectively toward shared goals. For financial oversight and auditing purposes, funds going directly to nonprofits, and not through the donor advised fund, cannot be comingled with Rebuild funds. However, funders can direct their grant to the nonprofit or project of their choice using the donor advised fund. The William Penn Foundation will help facilitate this and has also agreed to cover all fees related to administration of the donor advised fund, so donors can be confident that 100% of their dollars will be exclusively directed to their nonprofit and area of interest.

While this may be different from typical practice for some funders, our hope is that the value of being a part of a larger effort that promises collective impact will outweigh any concerns.

Q: What kind of reporting and accountability can funders expect?

Rebuild will provide standardized financial reports to individual funders so they can see how their funds are have been spent.  Rebuild will also produce an annual report, which will be provided to funders, articulating the progress of each project as well as Rebuild’s community engagement, workforce, and business supports programs. 

Additionally, on a quarterly basis, Rebuild will report to an Oversight Board, which includes a mix of City and private sector representatives.  The role of the Oversight Board is to:

• Increase public access to information about Rebuild
• Oversee and evaluate Rebuild progress relative to goals
• Recommend course corrections to the Administration 

At these meetings, the Rebuild team will provide financial and progress reports that will also be posted on the Rebuild website.  The Rebuild office will produce an annual report that will be provided to Rebuild funders.  In addition to these reports Rebuild will also provide financial reports to individual funders so they can see how their funds are have been spent. 

Q: What opportunities will there be for foundations to learn more about Rebuild? 

Philanthropy Network will host periodic meetings with Philanthropy Network members to share updates about the effort.  Please check back for further information or look for updates in the Philanthropy Network newsletter. 

To learn about Rebuild’s progress and opportunities to get involved, visit the Rebuild website and enter your email address to receive periodic updates.

If your foundation would like a member of the Rebuild Team to speak directly to your board or staff about investment opportunities, please contact David Gould at