A brand new company promoting significant improvement in living conditions in the poorest parts of the world was conceived in Dallas, carried out in California, and launched today as one of the most socially responsible give-back programs ever available for Realtors.
It’s called Giveback Homes. And the first local broker to sign on — our own Rogers Healy.
Everyone in Dallas knows the Andrews family, right? There’s Lana and Barry, high school sweethearts from Corpus Christi who, at the ripe ages of 28, bought a Miller beer distributorship in Corpus Christi. They started with one supplier, two brands of beer, seven employees and a 12,000-square-foot warehouse. The company sold 350,000 cases of beer that first year, and Andrews Distributing was launched. Andrews is now partnered with 31 suppliers, more than 200 brands, has 9 warehouses and employs more than 1,100. Lana and Barry have two children – Natalie, who is married to Mike McGuire, and Blake and his wife, Tricia. All the kids, maybe even the grandkids, have worked in the family business. They are one of the closest knit, most loving and generous families in town.
A few years ago, Blake, who now lives in Manhattan Beach, ventured out to work for TOMS Shoes where he was Special Projects Manager. He worked with another Blake, Blake Mycoskie, as in the Founder and Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS. The two met while playing tennis as kids right here in Dallas, then got together 19 years later on a fishing trip to Costa Rica. They were on the same boat, and instantly recognized each other’s twin names. Blake M. was the brains behind One for One, a simple giving idea which has turned into a global movement. TOMS has given over 12 million pairs of new shoes to children in need since it began in 2006, in more than 60 countries. Recently the company also expanded its business model to include TOMS Eyewear, now helping to save and restore sight for those in need.
TOMS One for One happened unintentionally. While traveling in Argentina in 2006, Blake M witnessed the hardships faced by children growing up without shoes. His solution to the problem was simple, yet revolutionary: create a for-profit business that was sustainable and not reliant on donations. Blake M’s vision soon turned into the simple business idea that provided the powerful foundation for TOMS.
It was a similar dawning for Blake A. On his first mission trip to Nicaragua in 2011, Blake was more than moved by how the people of Nicaragua lived and where they lived — in homes you could not even call shacks. Back home in Dallas, his friends were buying homes with Viking ranges while to these folks, even a rusted-out stove was a dream. Most were living under scraps of wood and metal, or tarps. Blake was transformed. In his work for TOMS, he was to get these people shoes for the feet.
But soon, Blake was more worried about roofs for their heads.
“Seeing what a pair of shoes did for those people, I began to think what it was like if you could build a home for them,” says Blake.
Course, a home is a bit more expensive to provide than a pair of shoes.
Then Blake Andrews and his wife, Tricia, bought their own home in Manhattan Beach, working with one of South Bay’s top brokers and agent, Nick Schneider. A lightbulb went off: Blake had been noodling around ways he could finance homes by hitting up U.S. luxury agents for a small piece of their commissions.
Andrews asked Schneider what he thought about donating a portion of his commission to charity if he knew that it was going directly to someone in need, where it would make an almost immediate difference. Schneider said he contributed plenty to local charities, but never knew if his funds made an impact, or how much of his donation actually made it directly to those in need. If it did, he was in.
Thus Blake’s concept of financing Giveback Homes was born through the purchase of his California home.
Giveback Homes’ goal is to create social change through the act of buying and selling a home: the consumer buys or sells a home of any price, his agent gets a commission. If the agent donated just a fraction of that commission to build a home for someone living in one of the poorest corners of the world, the money would add up rapidly.
It has already begun: with the amount Nick Schneider donated, five homes will be erected giving shelter to five families. The first two homes were built in Pompalone, while the others are being built in Astillero, in the poorest regions of Nicaragua.
“You build these people homes, and you see how it is going to change their lives dramatically for generations,” says Schneider. “And you know 100 percent of the money goes to the field and to building these homes.”
Agents can brand themselves as GiveBack Realtors, donating any amount of money they choose from the commissions they make. In this way, selling a home builds a home. The more homes Giveback Realtors sell in the U.S., the more can be built in needy areas. With most people throughout Nicaragua living in homes made of rusted metals and tarps, the new homes are made of sturdier materials like brick and tin. They cost a fraction, and take under two weeks to build. This gives a whole family a safe, dry, secure place to live.
The project officially launches August 8, with Andrews receiving interest from realtors in the South Bay, Texas, Florida and New York. One of the first agents from the Dallas area to sign on is Rogers Healy.
“I’ve been waiting for something like this to help differentiate Rogers Healy Associates from the rest and take us to the next level. Giveback Homes makes it easy and fulfilling to give back and I feel good knowing that 100% of my contributions go directly to the field. The real estate industry is constantly evolving, and Giveback Homes will allow us to do the same,” says Healy. “I would be proud to have all of my associates become Giveback Homes Realtors.”
“Knowing I’ve helped five families sleep better in life makes me more excited about selling real estate,” says Schneider. “It lights a fire under me.”
The program instantly brands GiveBack Realtors as agents of social change. Realtors include the logo “Giveback Homes” to their profile, letting clients know immediately this is an agent who cares about making a significant difference in the lives of the uber needy. They are agents who love homes so much they want to see every family have one. And it can also be a brokerage-wide program, as Healy is doing.
As Blake says, first comes homes, then come jobs and security. Giveback Homes works with building partners Habitat for Humanity and Waves of Love. They employ members of the community to build the homes, provide training for proper home maintenance and source materials locally to help boost the local economy. It’s a domino effect: the more homes built, the more jobs created in each community.
Giveback Homes is just in Nicaragua currently, but it is Andrews’ dream to expand throughout Latin America, hoping to have thousands of homes built there in the next few years.
“This will give realtors fulfillment in what they are doing,” says Blake, “especially in Dallas which is such a giving, generous city. Just look at this video and see the difference a small home made in this family’s life”
For more info on Giveback Homes, visit: www.givebackhomes.com and feel free to share this article and video with other agents… so every Realtor can be an agent of change!