The Harcourts Foundation, the charitable arm of Harcourts, has reached the milestone of $6 million raised since its launch in 2008. That translates to 732 charities supported, 356 communities impacted, and over 970 grants made through Harcourts offices in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and the USA.
Key community issues such as homelessness, domestic violence, hospice care, education, healthcare and early childhood education, amongst many others, are being tackled head-on with support of Harcourts team members’ generosity.
“The Harcourts Foundation is an important part of our vision to deliver the finest experience in real estate,” said Harcourts Managing Director Mike Green. “The impact we have made to people’s lives is quite profound. We are all incredibly proud to achieve six million dollars raised and give directly back into the communities where we live.”
Over time, Harcourts franchises, offices and people have generously created a history of giving through sponsoring and supporting thousands of people in need. Being caring members of the local communities ensures a better quality of life for everyone.
“The Foundation has impacted the lives of thousands of people and continues to do that,” continued Mr Green. “Over the last eleven years, over 300 offices take an amount off the top of every property sale and many more fundraise in their own local area. The support goes directly to those who need it the most, raised at events from small ones like sausage sizzles to large country-wide initiatives such as Walk A Mile in Their Shoes, in Australia, and the Hospice NZ Grants Programme.”
The Foundation operates as a 100% charity and is funded through Harcourts employee salary sacrifice, ‘off the top’ contributions from sales commissions, and through organised fundraisers.
All funds raised going directly to grants due to the volunteer-run structure that sees Harcourts employees donate their time and expertise to oversee and administer the process. No management fees, salaries or running costs are taken from the donation account.
Through the Harcourts Foundation, Harcourts New Zealand provides grants to help support grassroots community groups. These are often lesser known charities that are making a real difference in their communities, but struggle to find funding. In 2017, the Harcourts Foundation and Hospice New Zealand established the Hospice NZ Grants Programme. This unique program provides member hospices with the opportunity to purchase much needed equipment, enabling people with life limiting illnesses to live every moment.
Plunket New Zealand
The Foundation also supports Plunket’s free community services for the development, health and wellbeing of children in New Zealand under five years of age. “It’s wonderful to see the positive impact the Harcourts Foundation has had on our local communities over the past 11 years,” said Bryan Thomson, Harcourts New Zealand Managing Director. “Through their work with the Foundation, our people all around the country have established strong connections with their local communities and are able to see first-hand the impact their contributions are making.”
To date, the Foundation has granted over 530 community grants around the country.
In Australia, The Harcourts Foundation supports two major recipients White Ribbon Australia and Orange Sky Australia on a national level. In addition to national impact, the Foundation has granted over 402 community grants around the country.
Since the partnership with Orange Sky Australia was announced in March 2018, Harcourts franchises have collectively granted a total of $36,152. The combination of funds raised came from traditional avenues (donation with property transaction). Additional money raised through the Harcourts Laundry Challenge, a national viral social media campaign that challenged Harcourts corporate team members to donate $6, the price of just one shower for a homeless person.
The grant was presented during the Harcourts Australia National Conference, in May, to Fiona Hodges, the Strategic Partnership Manager of Orange Sky Australia by Julia Eyles, Harcourts Foundation global coordinator.
Fiona Hodges, Orange Sky Australia presented a grant by Julia Eyles, Harcourts Foundation global coordinator
Orange Sky is Australia's first mobile laundry service for the homeless. A world first - launched in Brisbane in 2014 - the vans are custom-fitted with two industrial washers and dryers, and more recently with shower cubicles. Every week this fleet of mobile laundries complete more than 7000kgs of laundry for some of the 105,000 Australians who are identified as being homeless, run by a team of more than 1000 trained volunteers who provide over 1300 hours of non-judgemental conversation. Their largest impact in the service they provide happens during the washing cycle - conversation in the hope to help our friends on the street make gradual steps back into society.
Launched in 2011, the South African arm of the Harcourts Foundation is making a significant difference helping communities across South Africa.
New Jerusalem Children’s Home
“We have been privileged enough to assist many amazing local projects,” said Richard Gray, Harcourts South Africa CEO. “It is wonderful to see the difference we can make in people’s lives. For example, the New Jerusalem Children’s Home, a place of safety for abandoned and abused, orphaned and vulnerable children, which has sheltered more than 1000 children since its establishment in September 2000. They received R20,000 due to fantastic fundraising efforts. We will continue to identify and assist projects across the country and hope we inspire others to lend a helping hand.”
100% of Harcourts South Africa sales offices donate to the Foundation with the sale of each property, and through specially organized events.
To date, the Foundation also has granted over 26 community grants throughout South Africa.
Harcourts USA joined the effort to enhance its communities through charitable giving in 2014. Since then, over USD$20,000 has been raised and given directly to organisations selected through six grants.
Harcourts Prime Properties’ Joy Jars ‘Hope for the Holidays’
The signature event, to date, has been Harcourts Hope for the Holidays – Joy Drive for the Jessie Rees Foundation. The campaign honours a special 12-year-old girl, Jessie Rees, who encourages kids who are fighting cancer to Never Ever Give Up. Harcourts USA wanted to help, so they hosted a Joy Drive at each location collecting toys for Jessie’s Joy Jars. The jars are full of games, candy, notes and little gifts and are shared with kids battling cancer all over the world. The foundation helps bring hope, love and joy to kids and their families and encourages them to Never Ever Give Up.
The Joy Jars are then sent to children fighting cancer. Because of Harcourts’ initiative, the Foundation was able to support their goal of sending Joy Jars to all 50 US states and 30 countries.
“As real estate agents we get so caught up in being successful, but to truly be a part of the community and take a step back and support it, is huge,” said Jesse Salas, Harcourts Prime Properties Del Mar. “Giving is about faith and gratitude, I give because I’m grateful for everything I have.”
Harcourts USA most recently supported the Desert Aids Walk which raised nearly $7,500 for the cause. We helped them out with a $500 grant from The Harcourts Foundation which will fund 25 free and confidential HIV tests.
For information visit The Harcourts Foundation website.
Photos courtesy The Harcourts Foundation