A few years ago when my business grew from that of a solo agent to a team, I knew I needed to put pen to paper to crystallize our mission and values for my new colleagues. Donating our time and money to causes we believe in is one of the core values that defines and differentiates us. Here is some of what we’ve been up to locally:
Interfaith Hospitality Network
We have partnered with Interfaith Hospitality Network of Essex County, a non-profit organization that assists homeless families throughout Essex County. Our group’s goal is to focus our giving in order to really have an impact in the community. We make a donation with each closing, we sponsor the IHN annual breakfast, we have collected pajamas for the families in need and we have hosted an I Do Redo event that raised $1500 for the charity. We also hope to bring in a new group of volunteers from our communities.
One of the things I love about real estate is the tangible impact we can have on our community. We were giving but our giving was all over the place. We wanted to concentrate our donations where it made sense for our business. We realized Interfaith Hospitality Network was a natural corollary to our business of selling homes — helping people who don’t have homes.
IHN helps homeless families in Essex County through counseling, guidance and care to address the issues that led to their homelessness. Their goal is to return the families to self-sufficiency.
Ginge Calhoun, our team’s Buyer Specialist says, “The issue of homelessness in our community is such a stunning parallel to what we do everyday, and it is easy to forget that, in our own county, there are many families that are less fortunate.”
We’re thrilled to be partners with such an inspiring organization and look forward to a long and successful partnership.
Maplewood Village Alliance
I am a long-time board member of the Maplewood Village Alliance, a special improvement district that helps to manage Maplewood Village. It includes merchants, property owners and residents dedicated to the preservation, promotion and enhancement of Maplewood Village. The purpose of the Maplewood Village Alliance is to welcome the local community to the Village area and create a favorable environment for local businesses. I have always treasured the Village and now, being a realtor, I see how key it is in maintaining the value of our community in the eyes of today’s buyers.
Girl’s Night Out
Each June, we sponsor Girls Night Out which is hosted by the Maplewood Village Alliance. This is our annual fun night of shopping, dining, cocktails, music, promotions and more. Many local businesses participate by providing special offers to visitors.
We also sponsor the Maplewood Halloween Parade and Costume Contest on Halloween. Last year I even got to help with costume judging. Seeing all of the amazing costumes reinforced how creative our community is. It also made me feel somewhat inadequate since my kids never had anything nearly as elaborate as the winners. The parade has always been one of my favorite events!
Columbia High School Scholarship Fund
We have been repeat sponsor of the Columbia High School Scholarship Fund which provides need-based scholarships to CHS grads for post-secondary education.
The Columbia High School Scholarship fund was established in 1923 and offers need-based financial assistance to graduates of Columbia High School for any post-secondary education, including graduate school. More than $1.1 million dollars have been awarded to more than 1,000 students, many of whom are the first in their family to attend college.
More than 90 years after the first endowment was established by Ida Grace Alexander, a teacher, and her family, the Columbia High School Scholarship Fund is now the largest provider of need-based financial assistance in the South Orange/Maplewood community.
We sponsor Team TRIumph, a low-key and highly spirited local women’s triathlon group. The team, led by Patricia Canning who is a South Orange resident, is a USAT certified women’s triathlon club that empowers its members to take charge of their health and wellness goals through supportive and fun group training sessions.
Our Lady of Sorrows Food Pantry
I volunteer at the OLS Food Pantry in South Orange. The Food Pantry, which was established more than 30 years ago, is a volunteer-led effort supported by the Church and many individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations from the communities of South Orange and Maplewood. The Pantry is a member of MEND (Meeting Emergency Needs with Dignity), a support network of 18 interfaith food pantries across Essex County.
Friends of South Orange Maplewood Sports
This year, we are sponsoring the Cal Ripkin T Ball National League team of energetic 6 year olds. This fun program is run by the South Orange Recreation Department and is open to any kid interested in learning the game of baseball and developing good sportsmanship.