OWU alumnus Zack Rosenburg ’95 is featured on the cover of this month’s issue of U.S. News & World Report. In the magazine, he talks about the St. Bernard Project, which he co-founded to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. The organization is recognized as one of 10 service groups making a difference. Read the U.S. News article and then read Connect2 OWU’s September interview (reprinted below) with this amazing alumnus!
“I knew that we had to do something when I saw American families living in attics, cars, and garages,” says Zack Rosenburg ’95, co-founder and director of the St. Bernard Project.
The St. Bernard Project was founded in 2006 by Rosenburg and Liz McCartney after visiting St. Bernard Parish in New Orleans. Rosenburg volunteered to help after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city and was inspired to continue helping those in need. The St. Bernard Project uses donations and volunteers to help build new homes for the people who lost everything in the floods.
The Project has more than 20,000 volunteers who have reconstructed more than 300 homes during the past three years. Over time, the St. Bernard Project has expanded into three main programs: Rebuilding Program, Center for Wellness and Mental Health, and the Senior Housing Program.
“The best moments are when we complete a client’s house,” Rosenburg says. “The worst are when we do not have enough funds to rebuild a house for a deserving family who is still living in a FEMA trailer.”
Rosenburg’s new campaign is to help those affected by the oil spill in the Gulf Coast. The St. Bernard Project understands the impact on local fishermen and family members, including the potential for post traumatic stress disorder. Rosenburg continues to battle for victims of the oil spill and Hurricane Katrina, giving words of hope to all he meets.
“Problems are solvable and communities do not need to be defined by proximity,” Rosenburg says.
The St. Bernard Project helps raise awareness of needs yet to be met. With more than 1,000 families in New Orleans still living in FEMA trailers and 8,000 families in temporary housing, Rosenburg understands the obstacles in front of him.
“It feels like we have a lot of work left to do,” he says.
Because of the hard work and dedication of the St. Bernard Project, Rosenburg and McCartney won the 2008 New Orleanians of the Year Award. They also have been honored, jointly and separately, with the Manhattan Institute’s Award for Social Entrepreneurship, Friends of New Orleans Hero of the Storm Award, and CNN Hero of the Year.
The St. Bernard Project has been featured in various news outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Associated Press, Oprah Winfrey Show, Anderson Cooper 360°, CNN, and NPR.
“OWU taught me that results, rather than process, are what really matters,” Rosenburg says.
Visit the St. Bernard Project Web site for more information.