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Hammers and Nails for Happy Tails

Rescue Rebuild is a shelter renovation program that recruits volunteers from all over the country to help shelters in need. Our team travels to selected shelters to take construction projects from concept to completion to improve both the lives of humans and animals. We help animals in need in a variety of different settings: animal shelters, wildlife facilities, domestic violence shelters, and homeless and veterans housing.

Renovations Completed
Pets Helped to Date
Nights of Safety for Families in Crisis
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Greater Good Charities is proud to meet the 17 goals of the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda. Learn more about each goal and how programs like Rescue Rebuild is transforming the world.

Have Truck, Will Travel

Rescue Rebuild has traveled to selected shelters in 49 states and four countries. Rescue Rebuild isn’t afraid to hit the road with our tools in tow! We’ve traveled far and wide to help great shelters, families, and pets. Check out our shelter map (below) to see just some of the places we’ve been!

Is your organization in need of a visit from Rescue Rebuild? Apply for a renovation grant below!

Been There, Done That

Click to learn more about our past projects!

Stories from the Field
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How Can You Help?

Rescue Rebuild only exists with your involvement! Check out the ways you can help:

Read our Blog

Check out our tales from the road! Learn about our latest builds and what we're doing next.

Improving Pets’ Lives One Shelter at a Time

Since 2007, we’ve been working hard to improve the lives of animals and people through creative renovation projects. Rescue Rebuild has provided over 327,000 nights of safety for families in crisis and helped over 994,000 pets in need.
Over 6,000+ volunteers have helped us accomplish an amazing amount of work!

animal shelters & wildlife sanctuaries

Our goal is to make animal shelters more adoption-friendly by creating spaces that are engaging and enriching for pets and people alike. We work with shelters and wildlife sanctuaries to construct fun and welcoming environments alongside animal-loving volunteers. Some of our favorite projects include:

  • Play yards & agility
  • Kennel installations & repairs
  • Free-roaming cat rooms & outdoor enclosures
  • Shelter makeovers
  • Building & Repairing Wildlife Habitats/Enclosures
domestic violence shelters

Nearly 50% of pet-owning victims of domestic violence delay leaving their abuser because they are afraid to leave their pet behind. Rescue Rebuild renovates domestic violence shelters to make them pet-friendly so people in crisis can find safety with their pets. There are many creative ways to accommodate animals at existing domestic violence shelters:

  • Room conversions
  • Kennel facilities on-site
  • Facilitating partnerships with local animal shelters
  • For more information on how to start a pet program at your shelter, see our Don’t Forget the Pets training seminar and our supplemental training materials.
Housing for Veterans & Those facing homelessness

No one should have to make a decision between staying with their pet and finding a warm place to sleep. The therapeutic benefits of the human-animal bond are undeniable, and we strive to keep those families and their pets together. We change that by working with existing homeless shelters to provide pet-friendly solutions that keep families together. Pet-friendly accommodations can consist of:

  • Room conversions
  • Kennel facilities on-site
  • Facilitating partnerships with local animal shelters
  • For more information on how to start a pet program at your shelter, see our Don’t Forget the Pets training seminar and our supplemental training materials.

Along with volunteers across the country, Rescue Rebuild is operated by a bunch of hammer-swinging, animal lovers!
Meet the builders behind the reins...

Bryna Donnelly: Founder, Vice President of Family & Pet Projects

Dr. Bryna Donnelly, the Executive Vice President of Programs, founded Rescue Rebuild, our animal shelter renovation program, in 2006 while a college biology professor. Teaching is still her passion, and she now uses her knowledge of construction and animal welfare to help people by building pet spaces in domestic violence and homeless shelters. Bryna and her team have renovated over 190 facilities worldwide and consulted with countless others to help keep people and pets safe. As part of her work to help pets of people in crisis, she started the Don’t Forget the Pets initiative that helps human service shelters start, sustain and evolve their pet programs through training, consulting and funding opportunities.

Dog Person or Cat Person?: Woof!

Animals at Home: 3 Dogs (Tinkerbell, Teddy, and "the demon" Blue)

Favorite RR Memory: When I hired Zach!

Zach Baker: Vice President of Animal Shelter Projects, A.K.A. Bob the Builder

Zach Baker began working with Greater Good Charities’ Rescue Rebuild program in 2016, after having volunteered with the program for five years.  Zach came from his own construction business and has worked in various construction fields since 2006.  With Rescue Rebuild, he was able to combine his passion for animals with his construction experience. 

Zach now oversees Rescue Rebuild’s operations as it works to renovate and create pet spaces in animal shelters, domestic violence shelters, and homeless shelters.  Additionally, he works with the team to provides design consultations, plans, and conceptual renderings to aid shelters in their own construction projects.  

Zach lives near Nashville, TN with his wife, 5 dogs, and 3 cats.

Dog Person or Cat Person?: Don’t make me say!

Animals at Home: 3 Cats and 5 Dogs

Favorite RR Memory: That time I dropped a fence fitting into a drain pipe and Bryn had to fish it out barehanded, up to her shoulder in things that no one should have to touch!

Casey Paholski: Senior Program Manager, A.K.A. Dudley Do-Right

Casey started volunteering with Rescue Rebuild in 2013 while he was a freshman in college. Before Casey joined our team, he had already been on over 12 trips and his family had adopted 3 pups from Rescue Rebuild shelters! Lilly, Daisy, and Flint are happy to have forever homes thanks to him! He graduated from Delaware Valley University in 2017 with a B.S. in Conservation and Wildlife Management. Before coming on with Greater Good Charities, Casey worked as a Park Ranger after college and then did wildlife mitigation in Atlanta, Georgia. Now Casey splits his time with GGC's Global Discovery Expedition program, further Amplifying the Good and using his wildlife expertise. 

Dog Person or Cat Person?: Dog person!

Animals at Home: 1 dog (Lily), 2 crested geckos, and 1 flying gecko

Favorite RR Memory: The time I convinced my parents that I had already adopted Lilly and got the ok to bring her home from the shelter we were working at!

Nate Borger: Senior Program Manager

Nate is currently living outside of Los Angeles, CA but is from Bethlehem, PA. Nate first worked with the team in 2013 after transferring to Delaware Valley University. He went on almost every trip he could during school and picked up his construction knowledge along the way. Nate graduated with a degree in Wildlife and Conservation Management in 2016 and began work with GGC in 2020. Nate has 2 pets (1 dog and 1 cat) that keep him and his fiancé company. Nate is heavily involved in the Don't Forget the Pets program and all human service shelter projects. 

Dog Person or Cat Person?: Cat Person; Brains over Brawn

Animals at Home: 1 Cat -  Tyrone; 1 Dog - Moe

Favorite RR Memory: That time Bryna returned a Rototiller…and then had me till an entire yard in the Nashville sun.

Patrick Hilaire: Program Manager,
A.K.A. Dora The Explorer

Patrick joined the Rescue Rebuild team in early 2020 with a diverse work history but more importantly, a love for animals! He graduated in 2017 from East Stroudsburg University with a degree in Business Management and also has a background working with a general contractor, along with some logistics planning experience. He is excited to adapt and grow these skills into doing something meaningful for animals! Outside of work, Patrick loves to find solitude hiking and he hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2018.  He is always looking for new backpacking opportunities!

Dog Person or Cat Person?: Dog

Animals at Home: None yet, but we’re working on it! 

Favorite RR Memory: Making new ones every day!

Troy Penley: Program Manager

Troy became part of our team in 2021 and brings a ton of animal and construction experience with him. He worked in animal welfare in Tennessee for 8 years, is trained in animal search and rescue and has been swinging a hammer for 20 years!  He is excited to put his unique background to work in a job that takes advantage of both.  Troy lives in TN with his family and officially wins the award for most animals on our team!

Dog or Cat person: Both… and why isn’t cow an option?! 

Animals at home: 5 dogs, 4 cats, 3 cows, 2 horses, 2 ponies, 2 goats, 2 guinea pigs, 20 chickens 

Favorite RR Memory: When I realized that I was going to get to do two things that I love together: building things and helping animals!

Gabbie Vilanova: Assistant Program Manager

Gabbie started volunteering with Rescue Rebuild in 2019 when she was a freshman in college. After graduating with a B.S. in Animal Science, she realized that the animal welfare industry was where she belonged. After graduation she worked at a local SPCA as an animal behavior coordinator and completed an internship with the Don’t Forget the Pets program. She is excited to take her animal shelter experience and put it to good use while also learning the construction side of things. She currently resides in PA with her rescue guinea pig and spends her free time helping out around the farm and apprenticing with a dog trainer!

Dog Person or Cat Person?: Dog

Animals at Home: Pet parent to one guinea pig, but I live with 4 dogs, and a bunch of horses, donkeys, and various livestock!

Favorite RR Memory: Camping out in Colorado and building a bear enclosure!

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Sabrina Smith: Assistant Program Manager

Sabrina started working with Rescue Rebuild in November of 2023. She always knew she wanted to work with animals and pursued her passion through many different avenues. Throughout college, she worked at an animal shelter in PA, worked as an animal care technician in her college’s small animal science center, and interned at a zoo in their education and animal care departments. In 2021 she graduated from Delaware Valley University with a B.S in Zoo Science. After, she spent some time working in the laboratory animal science field but knew she wanted to get back into the non-profit space where she could make a difference in the lives of both animals and people! Now, at Rescue Rebuild, she is excited to put her multifaceted animal knowledge to use while learning new skills! She is currently living in CT with her many pets and spends her free time caring for them, going on hikes with her dog, and hanging out with friends and family.

Dog Person or Cat Person?: Changes everyday!

Animals at home: 1 dog (Minnow), 3 cats (Nova, Koala, Taz), 1 crested gecko (Cuja), 2 leopard geckos (Mimosa, Whiskey), and a California King Snake (Bane).

Favorite RR Memory: Ready to make lots of them!

2024-06- Humane Indiana Wildlife Rehabilitation Center- Valparaiso, IN- Phil leveling post
Philip Leister: Assistant Program Manager

Phil joined Greater Good Charities in May of 2024 after working at an equine vet as a technician for a couple of years. He graduated Delaware Valley University with an agribusiness degree and volunteered with Rescue Rebuild during his time there. Growing up on a farm, he grew a passion for animals and gained a ton of construction experience maintaining an old farmhouse. Outside of work he enjoys spending time with his many resident animals. He also enjoys using his technical skills to build and fly model airplanes.

Dog or Cat Person: Lizards

Animals at Home: Dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, goats, lizard, pigs.

Favorite RR Memory: Chicken nugget pocket.

Get Involved in our Upcoming Projects

Rescue Rebuild needs YOU! Our team is constantly traveling and renovating shelters, and we frequently use volunteers to help us
help more animals! For some non-animal shelter projects, we will require background checks for volunteers. 

Join Our Volunteer List

Join our volunteer list to stay current with our volunteer opportunities. 

Corporate Team Building

A great way to get involved with Rescue Rebuild is to ask your company about partnering with Rescue Rebuild! Contact us today to see how we can work together to serve animals in our community! Click to email Rescue Rebuild for more information.

Don't Forget The Pets

Looking to better support people in crisis by learning about starting and funding a pet program at your shelter? Join Greater Good Charities and RedRover virtually (in-person returning soon) for a FREE training seminar intended for helping domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, and animal shelters and achieve just that! We will explore:

  • The importance of the human-animal bond on recovery, child welfare, and PTSD sustainability
  • Ways to improve staff and board buy-in for your pet program
  • Examples of policies and procedures currently in use 
  • Ways to create and sustain pet programs
  • The best construction and design options for your pet program
  • How to apply for funds from Greater Good Charities and RedRover
Donate to Rescue Rebuild

Help us to keep doing what we do! Your donation goes toward amazing projects that better the lives of shelter animals and the humans who care for them, increases adoption rates, and accomodates housing for 

Upcoming Training Webinars

Explore ways to create and sustain pet-friendly housing programs through free trainings hosted by RedRover and Greater Good Charities. Attend the next Don't Forget the Pets virtual webinar to learn more!

How-to videos for your next project

The Rescue Rebuild team is always coming up with new ways to improve shelter spaces for animals — from cat bridges, to tire tunnels, to repairs, and more! Our how-to videos will walk you through how to bring these projects to life in your space.

Apply for coaching and grant opportunities

We help animals in need in a variety of different settings: Animal Shelters, Domestic Violence Shelters, Homeless & Veterans Housing, and Wildlife Sanctuaries. 

Animal Shelters - We'll Build With you

Complete our Build With You application to be considered for a renovation grant and to automatically be entered into our Build With You coaching program. 

  • We'll help you with renovation concerns and ideas in our coaching program. 
  • Our Build With You services give you access to our team of design and construction experts.
  • Applying for our Build With You Grant automatically makes eligible for a renovation grant.  
Human Service Shelters - We'll Build With you

We have both our grant and coaching applications below. We encourage you to sign up for our free coaching services as well as any grant your organization is eligible for. You remain eligible for all grants while in our coaching program.

  • Learn about the importance of preserving the Human-Animal Bond 
  • Learn about policies, getting staff and board buy-in, and  help with fundraising 
  • Free opportunity for renovation + facilities recommendations
  • Access to our team of experts (Including our Partners from RedRover)
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Wildlife Facilities

Complete our renovation grant application to be considered for one of our wildlife grants. We do not frequently renovate wildlife facilities but all applications are reviewed and held for the next opportunity. 

Temporary Housing at Animal Shelters

Are you an animal shelter trying to make a larger impact in your community? Apply here if your animal organization is trying to start or expand a temporary housing program to help keep people and pets together. Not all human service shelters have the ability to go pet-friendly, so some animal organizations help by housing pets for people and then returning them to their owners when it is possible. You are welcome to sign up for our coaching services so we can help you with your plans for free, even if you do not receive a renovation grant. 


If you have any issues or questions with your applications please reach out to us at