It was about one month ago when I received the call from a local public relations firm. The voice on the other end of the line wanted me to write a column about their real estate agent client. They wanted to draw attention to the fact that their client started a program where they will be donating a portion of their commission to a charity chosen by the home buyer or seller.
Although I was pushed to commit to write the piece as well as provide a publication date, it seemed (at least for the moment) that seeking publicity about one’s altruism was ironic. In the ensuing weeks, I received follow up calls to write the piece. But rather than saying “No,” I told them it would most likely be a piece that is generally about real estate agents’ charitability. After all, we’re headed into the holiday season, and the timing seems right about bringing attention to those who give something back.
Not to give the short shrift to the PR firm and their client the Banner Team of Long and Foster, whose “Pay it Forward” initiative was announced in an October 19th press release; the Banner Team will donate a portion of each commission to a charity of their client’s choice. Although an amount or percentage to be donated was not specified in the press release that I received, they are committing a portion of every commission to charity throughout the year. The Banner Team’s plan of giving a portion of commission to charity is not their exclusive idea, nor is it a novel one; nonetheless, the Banner Team deserves kudos for the move – welcome to the fold!
It should come as no surprise that real estate and charitable giving goes hand-in-hand. Nationwide, real estate companies, franchises, and agents have sought to give back to their respective communities. In 2007, Gerald Leonard, then owner of Coastal Elite Real Estate in San Clemente CA, announced he was giving 50 percent of all commissions to charity. And in 2009 Laurie Loew of Give Realty (located in Austin TX) announced giving 25 percent of commissions to charity.
RE/MAX has supported the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals through year-round contributions from participating agents. Since 1992, RE/MAX agents have given an estimated $143 million, as reported by a recent post to the Children’s Hospital Foundation website (childrensnational.org/giving). Besides individual agent contributions, RE/MAX “also hosts a variety of fundraising events throughout the year.” Additionally, RE/MAX agents can designate specific homes as “Miracle Homes” – “those homes that have yard signs also indicating the agent’s commitment to improving local pediatric care.”
In addition to agent donations and national fundraising for the Children’s Miracle Network, local RE/MAX offices host fundraising events too. For example, RE/MAX Centre in Olney holds an annual Charity Gala, the tenth one recently raised more than $40,000. Last year, RE/MAX Gateway in Chantilly raised more than $30,000. And RE/MAX Town Center of Germantown holds an annual golf tournament.
Real estate agents don’t only donate money, they get involved; and are recognized by Realtor® Magazine’s Good Neighbor Awards. The Good Neighbor Awards was launched in 2000 and “has since recognized more than 160 Realtors® for their service to their communities…Good Neighbor charities have received more than $1,000,000 in donations. In addition, each winner receives national and local publicity, which generates additional donations…Realtors® are also recognized for their community service through state and local real estate associations.”
Dan Krell is a Realtor® with RE/MAX All Pro in Rockville, MD. You can access more information at www.DanKrell.com.