REALTORS® make a difference through the Shelter Foundation

By Kim Gandier

Throughout the year, REALTORS® across Canada make a significant impact in their communities by volunteering their time and donating to important causes. Manitoba Realtors  are amongst the most giving professionals in the country.

Through the Manitoba Real Estate Association (MREA) Shelter Foundation, Realtors  are changing the lives of Manitobans. The foundation has been funded — not all funding comes from Realtors  — members of the public, staff, mortgage companies have all donated etc., owned and managed entirely by Manitoba Realtors  since 2007. We could say it was created by Realtors and is managed by, and largely funded by, Realtors. Its sole purpose is to support shelter-related charities that help Manitobans in need.

The MREA Shelter Foundation raises money for charities through a variety of fundraising initiatives. WinnipegREALTORS® hosts its annual Gimme Shelter event where all proceeds are donated to the foundation. The next Gimme Shelter Event will be held March 13, 2019 at the Centre Culturel Franco-Manitobain. MREA hosts the annual Brian M. Collie Memorial Golf Tournament, various social events and an annual REALTOR® Care-a-Van charity drive to Realtor brokerages to collect much-needed items for Manitoba shelter organizations.

Manitoba property buyers and sellers also make a difference when they work with Realtors who participate in the Close a Sale – Open a Door program. Through this program, $10 for every house sold in Manitoba is donated to make shelter possible for someone else.

In 2018, the MREA Shelter Foundation granted $37,736.41 to twelve deserving organizations to help Manitobans in need: L’Arche Winnipeg, YWCA Brandon, Esther House, A & O: Support Services for Older Adults, Knowles Centre, New Directions for Children, Youth, Adults and Families, Bravestone Centre, Main Street Project, Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council, Salvation Army - Booth Centre, Two Ten Recovery, and Red Road Lodge. From women and children in crisis, people living with disabilities, to the homeless population and those who are recovering from addictions, there is no limit to the number of people who need shelter.

Whereas many of the organizations have received grants previously, Two Ten Recovery is a new partner. Two Ten Recovery provides second-stage supportive housing for both men and women and operates three housing residences, helping 80-plus people to rebuild their lives, free from drugs and alcohol. The grant funds will help with various projects around the homes from painting, landscaping, and furniture, to roof repairs.

The foundation’s volunteers and support staff had the privilege of delivering the grant cheques and touring the organizations to learn more about how the grants will help Manitobans.

“I have volunteered with the MREA for almost two decades and during our recent tour of the shelter organizations, I was really touched at how Realtors make an impact in the lives of Manitobans” said Ron Tardiff, Realtor.

“When I toured Bravestone Centre, a shelter for women escaping from an abusive relationship, I noticed decorated t-shirts on the wall that were designed by the women who reside there. The t-shirts represent their stories and it impacted me to think about their personal transformations and how staying at Bravestone helped changed their lives and their children’s futures.”

“I was also very impressed with Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council and their Don’t Cry… I’m Here doll program for newcomer children. I imagined refugee children arriving in Canada and how these dolls offer comfort and show that they are welcome. It’s programs like these that make such a difference.”

It’s that time of year where people are most philanthropic, and charities ramp up their fundraising efforts to capture the seasonal generosity. Property owners and sellers can make a difference at any time of the year. If you are purchasing or selling property in 2019, ask your Realtor about the ways he/she is making an impact in your community and how through your property sale or purchase, you can help to change the lives of Manitobans.

Kim Gandier is the Director of Marketing and Communications of the Manitoba Real Estate Association.