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Liberty Lake startup founder launches nonprofit to help communities rebuild after natural disasters

UPDATED: Tue., March 2, 2021

Homebuilder Todd Sullivan, shown in April 2018, is launching the nonprofit Rebuild Homes to help communities prepare for disasters and rebuild afterward.  (KATHY PLONKA/The Spokesman-Review)
Homebuilder Todd Sullivan, shown in April 2018, is launching the nonprofit Rebuild Homes to help communities prepare for disasters and rebuild afterward. (KATHY PLONKA/The Spokesman-Review)

After a wildfire devastated the town of Malden in September, NewHomes.House founder Todd Sullivan knew he wanted to help the community rebuild.

Visiting Malden and meeting with a team managing the town’s recovery, Sullivan noticed the community lacked a technology solution to help with rebuilding efforts.

“I realized that the (construction project management) technology that NewHomes.House is developing could be used to build a disaster project management system that will have tremendous impact on all communities facing natural disasters,” Sullivan said in an email.

NewHomes.House is a Liberty Lake-based startup that matches homebuyers with land, certified builders, construction lenders, modifiable house plans and an online storefront for product selections.

Sullivan, along with NewHomes.House co-founder Steve Strom and Jan Ager of Spokane-based Ager Consulting, launched Rebuild Homes, a nonprofit that provides a free disaster project management system to help communities prepare for natural disasters and rebuild afterward.

The free disaster project management system would allow communities to create emergency evacuation plans; track financial and in-kind donations; and coordinate with nonprofits, government agencies and corporate donors to provide additional disaster relief.

The system, at Rebuildhomes.org, will provide users with online tools to schedule rebuilding efforts, manage vendors and subcontractors, and access financial assistance, among other things.

Users can also find information on where to find shelter, food and safety following natural disasters through the platform.

Rebuild Homes is partnering with Nagarro, a digital engineering company headquartered in Germany with offices in the U.S., to create and build the disaster project management system.

“To be able to do something for others like this is unique and wonderful, but the interesting thing is how many people and companies want to step up,” Sullivan said, adding Nagarro is building the system for free.

Rebuild Homes is also collaborating with the Pine Creek Community Long-Term Recovery Organization, which was formed by community members to learn about the impacts of the Babb Road fire that destroyed Malden, secure resources to help residents and map a pathway to recovery.

“Recovery and rebuilding efforts must be coordinated, organized and effective,” said Scott Hokonson, Pine Creek Community Long-Term Recovery Organization executive director, in a statement. “Disasters are chaos, and communications are paramount to a successful recovery. I am truly impressed with the efforts and product solution being created by Rebuild Homes. I believe Rebuild Homes nonprofit is absolutely crucial and necessary for effective recovery and rebuilding in any disaster environment.”

Sullivan is working with California-based law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati to obtain tax-exempt status for the nonprofit.

Rebuild Homes expects to launch its disaster project management system on the West Coast by August, Sullivan said.

“Our goal is to be able to get it in the hands of first responders and local communities that are really at the risk of fires in Washington, Oregon and California,” Sullivan said.

The disaster project management system is slated to roll out nationally by early 2022, with future plans to expand the platform globally by 2023, Sullivan said.

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