The mission of the Make It Right Foundation is to build safe, Cradle to Cradle inspired homes, buildings and communities for people in need. The members of the Make it Right team strive to build homes that are energy efficient and most importantly, healthy and safe for families to live in. The foundation uses methods that are sustainable and affordable (Make It Right, August 16th 2013, http://makeitright.org/where-we-work/new-orleans/).
A typical Make It Right home. Photo by Cameron Conklin
Make It Right aims to build 150 safe and sustainable homes in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward. As of April 2013, 90 homes are built, all having earned LEED Platinum ratings, the highest level of certification offered by the U.S. Green Building Council. These homes have been designed by renowned architects such as Frank Gehry, David Adjaye and Shigeru Ban (Architectural Digest,August 16th 2013, “Brad Pitt Makes It Right in New Orleans”, Gerald Clarke, Harry Benson, January 2009).
Homeowners choose from 21 innovative designs, including single-family and duplex houses. They are able to customize their homes by choosing the paint colors, flooring, cabinets and countertops that best suit their style and needs. The average single family home is 1,400 square feet. The foundation also employs lawyers, social workers, and loan workers to help the former residents of the Lower Ninth Ward. Many of these residents lost all documentation during Hurricane Katrina and need help getting through the mortgage application process. The income of the applicants does not affect the applicant’s ability to obtain a home. The unsubsidized mortgage is designed to be no more than one third of the applicant’s income (Make It Right, August 16th 2013, http://makeitright.org/where-we-work/new-orleans/).
More than 350 people are now living in Make It Right homes, transforming a desolate part of the neighborhood into a vibrant community. Make it Right is now working to attract other needed services and amenities to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Lower Nine.
Make It Right also significantly invests in hiring and training local businesses and tradespeople. They have helped train a local workforce in green collar jobs through their cutting-edge work in sustainable design, construction and solar power. This has helped position New Orleans and Louisiana as a leader in the green economy (Make It Right, August 16th 2013, http://makeitright.org/where-we-work/new-orleans/).
Community Beyond Housing
One of the Make It Right playgrounds. Photo by Cameron Conklin
Make It Right’s main goal in New Orleans is to rebuild 150 safe, sustainable and affordable homes. However, they have also worked on a number of neighborhood initiatives to supplement their construction plans.
Make It Right designed an eco-playground next to their homes, constructed with sustainable materials and landscaped with native plants. Equipment was provided by Kompan and the project was funded with a grant from the Kellogg Foundation. The playground is solar-powered and features digital, physically active games for children (Make It Right, August 16th 2013, http://makeitright.org/where-we-work/new-orleans/).
Make It Right and our homeowners have planted community gardens throughout the Lower 9th Ward. At the Martin Luther King Elementary School, they worked with various local organizations to plant the largest community garden in the neighborhood. The students and neighbors plant vegetables to sell at the Sankofa Community Market (Make It Right, August 16th 2013, http://makeitright.org/where-we-work/new-orleans/).
Make It Right worked with Mountain Dew, Lil’ Wayne and California Skateparks to design and build the neighborhoods first skate park at the Lower 9th Ward Village. Built with sustainable materials and landscaped with native plants, the skate park is a wonderful new addition to the neighborhood, promoting physical activity for local youth (Make It Right, August 16th 2013, http://makeitright.org/where-we-work/new-orleans/).
Make It Right poured a section of pervious concrete road to test the feasibility of using it on roads in our neighborhood. After holding up admirably to both regular traffic and the construction traffic, their experiment inspired the City of New Orleans to pour its first ever pervious roads throughout the Make It Right neighborhood. Pervious roads allow water to filtrate through the concrete, reducing stress on the stormwater management system and allowing groundwater to recharge as well as filtering pollutants from the water as it flows through the concrete (Make It Right, August 16th 2013, http://makeitright.org/where-we-work/new-orleans/).
Mapping Non-Profit Influence: The Case of the Lower Ninth Ward
Make It Right is one of many organizations that have worked to restore the Lower Ninth Ward after Hurricane Katrina. As part of a larger study of the impact and networks of of nonprofits in 2013 (please see Mapping Non-Profit Influence: The Case of the Lower Ninth Ward for more details), we can see that this organization excels in the following areas:
1. Access to Consumers regardless of ability to pay
While the Make It Right homes are not free, they are significantly modified for affordability. They are also targeted to previous residents of the Lower Ninth Ward making accessibility for low-income families much higher than homes sold on the market. No government or private institution is offering homes of this quality for this price in this area.
2. Provisions of Collective Goods
The Make It Right homes provide the collective good of raising the value of surrounding homes in the neighborhood. They also provide collective goods through their public playground, skate park and community garden work.
Participation in Information Sharing
When we analyze CAPSTONE based on its extent of participation in information sharing activities, we see they are active in 4 ways:
Make It Right is building a network of skilled workers in the Lower Ninth by training local tradespeople in green construction. This is benefiting locals by providing jobs and creating a group of “green collar” workers in new orleans.
Make It Right has researched a new road material, pervious concrete, in order to better the Lower Ninth Ward community by keeping it safe and reducing maintenance costs.
Make It Right networks with various local organizations and collaborates with them on community projects. They have connections with 5 other organizations in this study (CSED, Groundwork NOLA, Common Ground, The Village, and Global Green) and have good relationships with local leaders. For example, they most recently worked with CSED on Pam’s Place at Make It Right and they team up with organizations to help work on the Bayou Bienvenue.
4. Social Change
Make It Right engages in social change through its passion for sustainable building practices. They are working towards rebuilding communities while protecting the environment for future generations (Make It Right, August 16th 2013, http://makeitright.org/where-we-work/new-orleans/).