A recent report by the National Association of Realtors confirmed something I have always suspected, but could not verify with data: the belief that real estate people are among society’s most generous and philanthropic. This month’s Community Aid and Real Estate (C.A.R.E.) Report outlined the monetary and volunteer contributions that general NAR members at-large, broker-owners, and association executives give to society, and the numbers are striking.
According to this research, Realtors are more likely to give money to charitable causes (82 percent) than the average American (56.6 percent); NAR members give at least $1,000 annually, and 66 percent of members at-large said they volunteer an average of eight hours a month. (By comparison, just 6.1 percent of Americans volunteer on a regular basis, according to Bureau of Labor statistics.) Furthermore, 81 percent of broker-owners donate money on an annual basis, while 90 percent of association staff members donate each year.
“Realtors across the country not only work to help people achieve the American dream, but they also work hard to make a difference in our communities and make them better places to live,” said NAR President John Smaby.
THE WORK BEGINS AT HOME
While no formal research exists to authenticate the equally overwhelming generosity of Miami and South Florida real estate professionals, anecdotal evidence clearly demonstrates this conclusion. As a practicing residential real estate agent, a heavily engaged volunteer with the Miami Association of Realtors, and a member of numerous organizations, I am delighted by the systematic kindness and spirit of giving that is inherent in our industry.
Observe the large-scale philanthropic efforts of our area’s richest, largest, and most powerful real estate offices, the “small” contributions of time, money, and expertise by individuals, and everywhere in between, and you will find a real estate community that is serious about improving the lives of neighbors and neighborhoods.
While charitable efforts are generally more pronounced during the holiday season, throughout the year you will find the “big-name” brokerages leading year-long efforts to combat homelessness through clothing drives, dinners, and large-scale home builds. Other offices deduct money from each agent’s commission to support local hospitals, and many collect new and unused toys that go directly to disadvantaged local children. Further inspiring is the big-heartedness of my individual colleagues, too numerous to mention by name, who contribute to agencies, non-profits, or houses of worship through their own personal volunteering and/or the generosity of their family foundations.
OUT OF MANY, ONE
I would be remiss if I did not mention the extraordinary generosity of the Miami Association of Realtors, which puts the full weight of the nation’s largest local real estate association behind its many community efforts. The depth and breadth of the association’s charitable endeavors is dizzying, with a range of programs to support our community’s homeless, underfed, foster children, and seniors. The association also manages numerous efforts to help beautify, revitalize, and improve South Florida’s smaller and developing neighborhoods through clean-ups, “pop up markets”, mural paintings, and more. I am proud to also mention that the Master Brokers Forum, a small but powerful collective of the region’s top real estate producers (and the organization behind these monthly columns) has contributed significantly toward local college scholarships.
HOMES ARE WHERE THE HEART IS
Generosity is not a contest, and South Florida is very fortunate to have the collective munificence of many industries, including manufacturing, tourism, retail, financial services, and the legal profession. But when homes are the very heart of your business, the entire body works together to keep it healthy and strong.
Master Broker Christopher Zoller is an agent with EWM Realty International, 305-329-7779, firstname.lastname@example.org. He was the 2017 chairman of the board for the 49,000 member MIAMI Association for Realtors.
▪ This is an opinion piece that was written for Business Monday in the Miami Herald. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the newspaper.