Key features of the project include:
- A functional neighborhood that is sustainable and replicable
- The Lower Ninth Ward community as an integral part of the process
- A commitment to build 150 houses in the Lower Ninth Ward
- An unparalleled commitment to sustainability demonstrated in part by internationally acknowledged environmental architect William McDonough as part of the core team
- A world-renowned team of 14 local, national, and international architects
- Financial assistance in the form of forgivable loans to assist former residents pay for the cost to rebuild
CGI's commitment to address global climate change is directly in line with the mission of Make It Right, Cherokee, and its non-profit entity, Cherokee Gives Back Foundation. Cherokee's mission is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the negative impacts of the built environment. As a private equity firm focused on reclaiming contaminated property, remediating them, and putting them back into productive use, Cherokee has made a long-standing commitment to sustainable business practices. Cherokee's commitment began in 1993 when Cherokee set out to address the industrial legacy of contaminated land. This year, Cherokee redoubled their commitment to serve as a leader in progressive, environmentally sound and socially responsible development while providing solid returns for its investors.
Homes will be made from the most sustainable materials possible and aim to exceed the baseline performance requirements outlined in each of the following building standards: LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for Homes and LEED for Neighborhood Development, Earthcraft House and Earthcraft Communities, NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) National Green Building Standard (currently in draft form).
Cherokee Gives Back Foundation oversees the day-to-day operations of the MIR project, taking on the responsibilities of project development in a non-profit capacity. This includes providing logistical and technical support to the MIR local team and development and financial expertise through many Cherokee employees who donate their time to the project. Cherokee also currently provides pro bono accounting services to MIR.
Anticipated Launch: September 2007
September 2007 - begin fundraising campaign
September 2007 - begin participant identification
January 2008 - anticipate first groundbreaking
The Make It Right Foundation was designated an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization incorporated in the state of Delaware on August 16, 2007. To date, MIR has been working to lay the groundwork for building a sustainable community of 150 homes in the Lower Ninth Ward. MIR has established partnerships with a coalition of community-based non-profit organizations that have assisted in identifying and contacting returning residents of the Lower Ninth Ward.
MIR will continue to work with these community groups to ensure that each resident choosing to rebuild receives the necessary support in terms of ongoing homeowner counseling, job training, and financial assistance. MIR has identified local builders interested in constructing homes for MIR, as well as experienced engineering firms currently engaged in infrastructure and soils testing of the MIR target rebuilding area.
Finally, thirteen award-winning architecture firms from around the world have assembled to design affordable and sustainable homes for the MIR project. With the designs currently in the final schematic design phase, MIR is seeking funding to transition into an execution phase for the construction of homes.
In December 2006, Brad Pitt convened a group of experts in New Orleans to brainstorm about building green affordable housing on a large scale to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. Having spent time with community leaders and displaced residents determined to return home, Pitt realized that an opportunity existed to build houses that were not only stronger and healthier, but that had less impact on the environment. Following this realization, Pitt enlisted Cherokee, a firm that specializes in remediation and sustainable redevelopment of environmentally impaired properties; William McDonough + Partners, leaders in sustainable architecture; and Graft, an innovative architecture firm, to turn his vision to reality.
To demonstrate replicability, Pitt determined to locate the project in one of the most devastated areas of New Orleans, proving that safe homes could and should be rebuilt across the city. Having listened to one former resident's plea to help 'make this right,' Pitt was inspired to name the project 'Make It Right' (MIR).
Pitt was first involved in the Lower Ninth Ward as the sponsor of an architecture competition created by Global Green in 2006. Make It Right was conceived by Brad Pitt to vastly expand upon what he had started with Global Green by creating a healthy, safe community of houses. The Make It Right team includes volunteer experts assembled by Pitt, all of whom have international expertise and a deep respect for the mission of this project.
We are looking for partners and donors to support our work building sustainable, solar-powered, affordable homes for people in need.