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Danet Linares, the philanthropist

By Nikki Novo

Habitat for Humanity’s Miami affiliate is looking to build its 1000th home this year. And while the non-profit organization—whose mission is to provide low-income families with affordable home ownership opportunities—isn’t too far behind (less than 30 homes to go!) the goal still feels ambitious. So the organization did what any smart company would do: it assembled a stellar board of directors with the know-how and the passion to get the job done. In other words, Habitat brought in the big guns.

And among the key weapons is Danet Linares, executive vice president of Blanca Commercial Real Estate. Why her? Because Linares’ experience spearheading leasing efforts for such notable buildings like Bank of America Tower at International Place, Wachovia Financial Center, and 1450 Brickell Office Tower can help the organization close the kind of donor deals Habitat needs to reach its goals. Indulge caught up with Linares to learn more about her work with Habitat.

How did you get involved with Habitat?It’s funny because I have been giving to Habitat for Humanity for years and years and years. It’s an organization I’ve always loved because it’s really more of a hand-up rather than a hand-out. I also love that the community gets to be so involved. At builds, I’ve seen companies, individuals and families all come together to paint, plant, nailreally anything to help. I’ve always been attracted to Habitat because it truly helps families fulfill their dreams.

Where do you feel your profession and the organization meet?Well, with commercial real estate we’re always trying to help people find the right fit when it comes to office space. In Habitat’s case, where helping families get into a home and fulfill their dreams. And some people don’t understand that the families who end up in these homes have to work hard to get one, the same way in any real estate transaction all parties have to work hard to get their space. These families still pay a mortgage and a down payment. They go through an interview process to make sure their personal goals align with the organization’s mission, and they must be financially stable. Plus, they spend hundred of ours putting in sweat equity.

What are your own personal goals for the organization?I would love for the community to understand what a difference and impact Habitat for Humanity makes locally. It’s really important that people see how this type of stability increases the health of families, our neighborhoods and the community.

Why this organization and not another?There are a lot of wonderful organizations in Miami, but because I love real estate, and this is real estate-based, it felt like the right fit for me. The other thing I like is renovations. My husband and I just bought a house and we’re going through this whole big renovation, which is one of my passions. I love to see people take something from nothing and build something that is truly inspiring.

What do you think assisting someone with a home does for their self-worth?The people who move into these homes are so thankful to the organization, God, the government and everyone involved. It’s both emotional and rewarding to see. And there are studies that show that people who have this kind of stability end up doing better, kids thrive and it helps family life. It’s very tangible.

You must get overwhelmed by your busy schedule. What keeps you motivated to continue to help the way you do?I think it’s seeing the families’ faces and their happiness. And knowing that you’re changing someone’s life for the better.