Nonprofit Spotlight: Realty agency to donate 1% of commissions
Garfield County is home to many nonprofit organizations that depend on donations large and small, from businesses and individuals.
This week, instead of profiling one of these, we look at an area real estate company’s commitment to supporting nonprofits. Alisha Riddile, marketing director of Roberts and Michaels, conceived the idea that she and fellow agents might agree to donate a portion of their sales commissions to benefit the community.
The holidays are always a time of gratitude for Riddile, and supporting local organizations that she cares about was already a priority. This season, though, she kept asking herself how her New Year’s giving back resolution could have a bigger impact than with individual donations. Her answer, Riddile said, was “a big, scary idea.”
Her background in fundraising had taught her “the reason people give is because you ask,” so after only two months in her role at Roberts and Michaels, she approached her boss, owner and broker Bob Gibson, with her idea.
Her timing was perfect. Gibson, whose company has been operating in the area a little over two years, was looking at ways for Roberts and Michaels to better support the community in a big way. He embraced Riddile’s idea and said, “let’s do up to 1 percent.” She asked Gibson “what’s the catch?” He replied that there isn’t one.
Riddile explained that 1 percent might not sound like a lot, but “it is $3,000 on a $300,000 home.” Real estate agents typically receive between 2.5 percent and 3.5 percent commission on any home sold. Gibson helped Riddile structure the program to donate anything over 2 percent as long as the buyer signs up before Feb. 15. Potential buyers will have a year to find a home, so even people who are just starting to look can participate in the Roberts and Michaels program.
Many nonprofit organizations have expressed interest and some are promoting the Roberts and Michaels program: Barbara Corcoran, executive director of CASA of the Ninth, said, “I think this is a wonderful opportunity for us to partner with a local business to increase knowledge about and raise money for CASA.”
Other area nonprofits promoting the program include Youth Zone, Colorado Animal Rescue, Advocate Safehouse Project and Colorado Rocky Mountain School.
In setting up the program, Riddile and Gibson discussed partnering with a specific group of nonprofit organizations but decided to leave donation decisions open to buyer participants. This isn’t about us, Gibson said, it’s about the community. While he expects most of the money to go to organizations in Garfield County and the Roaring Fork Valley, a participant can designate any bona fide nonprofit as a recipient.
The commission give-back program is open to any potential buyer who signs up and designates a nonprofit organization of their choice before the deadline. It applies to any home from Grand Junction to Aspen purchased through Roberts and Michaels, regardless of the listing company.
The agency’s office is in New Castle, but Gibson said his company has customer-focused agents in all those areas. He said everyone is behind the program and participants will receive the same level of service as always. .
Part of Riddile’s inspiration to go into fundraising and apply those lessons in her position at Roberts and Michaels was her family’s direct experiences with the value of nonprofits. Her father, Dr. Garry Millard, is dental director at Mountain Family Health Center. He and his wife, Stacey Millard, adopted Riddile’s two younger sisters, Jorja and Jayla, from foster care.
Learning the value of giving back while growing up helped inspire Riddile to find a creative way to multiply the effect one person can have. Gibson wanted his young company to benefit the community in a bigger way. The two collaborated on an idea that helps people make bigger donations than they could on their own, and hope more companies develop similar programs.
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A fire in a building at Willits Town Center Thursday night forced Roaring Fork Fire Rescue to prepare for the worst because of residences on the upper two stories. Fortunately the fire was confined to an HVAC unit on the roof.