Make It Right Foundation New Orleans
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Founded by celebrity Brad Pitt and designer William McDonough in 2007, Make It Right builds healthy homes, buildings and communities for people in need. The organization began by rebuilding homes in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and is currently working in New Orleans, LA, Newark, NJ and Kansas City, MO.
In December 2006, Brad Pitt and William McDonough founded Make It Right to rebuild 150 safe, energy-efficient and affordable homes for families from New Orleans Lower 9th Ward who lost everything to Hurricane Katrina. As of April 2013, Make It Right has completed 90 homes and is working to finish the remaining 60 homes. The homes in New Orleans were designed by world-renowned architects like Frank Gehry, David Adjaye and Shigeru Ban and each home is LEED Platinum certified by the USGBC. These houses are not typical of New Orleans with their angular shapes and colors from of every shade. Make it Right also implements the Cradle to Cradle method which means using material that can be reused and that are safe, renewable energy is utilized, safe drinking water, and improvement is continuous.
The Make it Right website uses the idea of Laboratory and Library to show how the materials, the construction, and the data available are certifiably green and will ultimately benefit the homeowner.
Some of the topics include:
- Advanced Framing
- Electrical Systems
- Pervious Concrete
- Solar Panels
- Quality Control
These homes use 70% energy than a conventional home of the same size. It takes about $150,000 to build these homes with labor included. If the costs exceed the estimated price then the foundation covers the fee. Each home gives the builder an idea of how to make the homes more affordable and better constructed.
Make It Right partnered with HelpUSA in Newark, NJ to build a 56-unit multi-family building for disabled veterans. The LEED Platinum building opened on Memorial Day 2012.
In Kansas City, Make It Right is converting an historic school into 50 affordable rental units for veterans, seniors and people with special needs. The building will also include a community center featuring an auditorium, gymnasium, locker rooms, technology lab, job training center, medical clinic, grocery store and other retail space, along with community gardens, a playground, walking trail and police foot patrol office.
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 donors are giving people a safe place to live, promote sustainable living and solar energy, and help those in need of reconstruction after natural disaster. Some options of donation are green gifts which include: solar panels, paint, native plants, Energy Star appliances, and more.
Average energy bills have decreased for the homeowners because of the green technology installed in the Make it Right homes. The homes were initially only available to those whose homes were leveled from Hurricane Katrina but now the green homes are now accessible to teachers and first responders. Lower Nine residents are still eligible and but now the program is extending the offer of housing to others.
The foundation also employs lawyers, social workers, and loan workers to help the former residents of the Lower Ninth Ward whom many of which lost all documentation during Hurricane Katrina to get 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.
In addition to Brad Pitt, the following celebrities are also involved with the Make It Right Project:
Night To Make It Right
On March 10, 2012 at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans, Brad Pitt and Ellen DeGeneres hosted “A Night to Make It Right” with Drew Brees and Randy Jackson and performances by Rihanna, Sheryl Crow, Seal, Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Dr. John and other local favorites. Make It Right raised $5 million at this event, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Just over 1,200 attendees paid between $1,000 - $2,500 to dine on a four course meal created by celebrity chefs, Emeril Lagasse and John Besh. A silent auction also helped contribute to the funds of the Make it Right foundation.
- Architectural Digest, "Brad Pitt Makes It Right in New Orleans", Gerald Clarke, Harry Benson, January 2009
- Huffington Post, "Brad Pitt 'High' From New Orleans Project", 1 January 2009
- CNN, "Brad Pitt works to 'make it right' in New Orleans", 4 December 2008
- Huffington Post, "Brad Pitt On Today: Make It Right, Marriage, Adoption Fears (VIDEO)", 2 December 2008
- BusinessWeek, "Brad Pitt Aims to Make It Right", Alec Appelbaum, 17 December 2007
- New York Times, "Brad Pitt Commissions Designs for New Orleans", Robin Pogrebin, 3 December 2007
- Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com/arts/index.ssf/2012/03/brad_pitts_make_it_right_gala.html
- New York Times, "Brad Pitt's Gifts to New Orleans", Fred Bernstein, 29 November 2009
- Make It Right, http://makeitright.org/
- O Magazine, , Amanda Little, September 2010
- Times-Picayune,  Doug MacCash, 10 November 2012
- Times-Picayune,  Doug MacCash, 9 March 2012
- Official website: http://www.makeitright.org/
- inhabitat, "Brad Pitt Breaks Ground in Louisiana with ‘Make It Right’", Evelyn Lee, 09/11/08
- Housing.com "New Orleans: The Make It Right Project"