How DC Real Estate Gives Back
From supplying toys to needy children to helping homeless people transition back to a normal life, DC real estate pros often take off their hard hats to give back to the community. Here's seven ways they're doing it.
1. Vornado/Charles E. Smith and Higher Achievement
Vornado/Charles E. Smith has a close partnership with Higher Achievement, which provides academic programs for at-risk middle schoolers. Vornado DC president Mitchell Schear rallied hundreds of real estate and business leaders to raise a record-breaking $1.5M for the organization’s 40th anniversary gala this month at Vornado’s Warner Theater. Mitchell also serves as board chair of Higher Achievement and Vornado employees serve as mentors. Some of the program’s students have been hired as summer interns. The company also gave back in June when 120 employees painted, repaired and spruced up several DC homes owned by people who couldn’t take care of them anymore due to poor health or disabilities. The company, along with its tenants and residents, also collects 6,000 to 8,000 pounds of food each year for the Arlington Food Assistance Center and Capital Area Food Bank.
2. Federal Capital Partners and FCP Serves
Federal Capital Partners does its charitable work through its FCP Serves program. It develops ways for employees to volunteer in the communities where FCP has properties along the East Coast. The program focuses on children and families, education, affordable housing, environment and sustainability, and community arts. The company volunteered hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars in multiple markets, including providing over 1,000 backpacks with school supplies in 11 communities. The company also donates to food banks and participates in Toys for Tots at its properties.
3. Peterson Cos and the Peterson Family Foundation
Milt Peterson launched one of the most successful real estate firms in the DC area 50 years ago. But he also, along with his wife, Carolyn, and their children launched the Peterson Family Foundation nearly 20 years ago. Since then they’ve gifted over $50M, which has helped the foundation reach over 350 organizations, including Life with Cancer, George Mason University and the Dulles Air & Space Museum. Giving back to the community is also ingrained in the Peterson Cos’ culture—over 50% of employees volunteered or contributed financially to community-based and charitable organizations in 2014. Many employees take a paid day off for charitable work, including rebuilding homes for Christmas in April in PG County, scoop ice cream to benefit the Child and Family Network Centers in Fairfax County and collect silent auction items for Youth for Tomorrow’s County Fair & Auction in Prince William County.
4. Ted Lerner and Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Foundation
Ted Lerner is also a DC real estate icon and owner of the Washington Nationals. He’s also incredibly philanthropic, having launched the Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Foundation. It provides support to a long list of charities, including Food and Friends, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Shady Grove Adventist Hospital and Junior Achievement of the Greater Washington Area. The campus of the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville was named after Ted and his wife, Annette, after their multimillion-dollar donation. The lunch room in the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy was also donated by the Lerner family. And the Lerners provided the theater at Imagination Stage in Bethesda.
5. JLL and Community Service Day
JLL will host its annual Community Service Day Dec. 3 in the Mid-Atlantic region. Employees will do lots of charity, like providing and serving lunch for one of Bon Secour’s six senior facilities; donate books and other media through Books for America; donate women’s professional fall and winter clothing to Suited for Change; and organize Children’s National Medical Center’s Dr. Bear’s Closet and distribute toys to patients. Other organizations getting help from JLL staff will be the Fairfax County Animal Shelter, Food and Friends, Food for Others, Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, Habitat for Humanity in Richmond, Junior Achievement and Salvation Army Angel Giving Tree.
6. Skanska and the Salvation Army Angel Tree and Homeless Relief
Skanska is giving back to the DC region by sponsoring 25 children for the Salvation Army Angel Tree, which provides new toys and clothes for local children in need. For many, they're the only gifts they’ll have to open on Christmas morning. Skanska is also hosting a Christmas lunch for 100 homeless people at the Alexandria-based Carpenter’s Shelter at David’s Place. Carpenter’s Shelter, one of the largest shelters in Northern Virginia, helps homeless people by transitioning them back to independent living. 90% of people who go through the shelter’s program never return to homelessness again. Skanska is also sponsoring 200 turkeys to support the National Center for Children and Families.
HomeAid Northern Virginia, the charitable arm of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association, reached a big milestone last month. It finished its 100th construction and renovation project for local homeless shelters and housing facilities. The work is done via donated expertise, labor and resources from the local homebuilder community, including Stanley Martin Homes, Kettler, BOWA and Toll Brothers. Its 100 projects has provided $12.7M of construction to over 40 organizations serving the local community.