Meet Graham MacDonald!
Graham is Rebuilding Together’s research and policy specialist, working in the Government Affairs Department.
He grew up in a small rural community called Quincy in Illinois. Graham then went on to study public policy at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In fact, he’s one of a few UNC alumni in Rebuilding Together’s national office.
Graham currently lives in Washington, D.C. He said his favorite spot is Meridian Hill Park. But if he isn’t enjoying the views there, you can probably find this big music fan in his kitchen or listening to music through his favorite speakers.
Graham said that policy making has always been an interest of his. While never really knowing anyone who did policy work for a living, Graham’s family was very politically engaged.
Last summer, Graham started as Rebuilding Together’s research and policy intern. “I loved the internship,” Graham said. “It gave me great experience on The Hill. I got to taste everything Rebuilding Together does.”
Graham became the research and policy specialist just a few months ago. “I like it a lot,” said Graham. “I get the policy and research experience. I get to experience project planning and inviting elected officials to projects.” Graham was even able to sit down with Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and talk about Rebuilding Together’s mission.
His first time being a part of the revitalization side of Rebuilding Together happened this past National Rebuilding Day. Graham joined a few other Rebuilding Together national office staffers to help Rebuilding Together of Washington, D.C. “I had known we had a great mission, but it was great seeing a smiling face to it.” Graham helped paint, install energy efficient light bulbs, and repair a porch.
Graham said Matt de Ferranti, the senior director of government relations, has acted as a mentor for him. “He has been a large reason for being where I am,” said Graham. “He’s always imparting a little bit of wisdom.”
Graham doesn’t see his research in housing issues and poverty as just benefiting his department alone. “So much research has provided justification for our work. I think I could apply that to fundraising.”
One fact that Graham has found that sticks with him is that there are 25 million low income homeowners. “There’s a major focus in poverty and rental. People think that people who own a home are well off financially. Low-income homeowners struggle to meet day to day needs.”
Graham’s very excited about the opportunities Rebuilding Together affiliates will have when our 2014 conference meets in D.C. A “Hill Day” is planned for affiliates to go to Capitol Hill to tell their representative their story. “There are strong advocates in Congress for low-income homeowners,” said Graham. “We have champions fighting every day for programs that assist them.”