Who we are
ReFIT was founded in 1997 by a group of local, professional general contractors.
In 1996, Jess Markt - son of contractor, Bill Markt and his wife, Carol - was in a terrible car accident while attending the University of Oregon. Jess was left partially paralyzed and permanently confined to a wheelchair. The Markts were devastated.
Bill’s contractor friends wanted to find a way to help the family, so they worked together to modify the family home and make it handicap accessible by adding outdoor ramps, a handicap bathroom remodel, wider doorways, and anything else needed to accommodate Jess’s wheelchair.
Then these generous guys went even further, and with help from Jess’s fraternity brothers, they modified the fraternity house to make it handicap accessible, so that Jess could return to college and move on with his life.
This act of kindness had such a profound impact on the Markt’s lives, that Bill decided to pay it forward and helped start The Remodeler’s Heritage Foundation to provide the same home modification help at no-cost to others in the community facing mobility challenges.
In 2006, the Remodeler’s Heritage Foundation became ReFIT (Remodeling for Independence Together) and has helped individuals and families throughout Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties.
With the exception of our Executive Director, ReFIT is run entirely by volunteers. Our client projects are built by volunteer professional contractors (primarily from NARI Pacific Northwest, the local chapter of NARI – National Association of the Remodeling Industry) with the help of volunteer teams. All building materials are either donated outright or purchased with donated funds.
ReFIT is single minded in our mission. We are “making homes safer and lives easier for physically and financially challenged homeowners” regardless of age, gender, race, or reason for disability.
ReFIT, Remodeling For Independence Together, is a local Portland non-profit organization dedicated to helping people struggling with illness, injury, disability or the aging process to live independent lives… at home.
By providing no-cost essential modification services such as access ramps, bathroom modifications, widening doorways, and installing grab bars, we help homeowners who want to stay in their homes but lack the financial resources to make necessary changes.