A few months ago I announced that I have partnered with Giveback Homes, a wonderful network of real estate agents and home buyers who work together by going into communities and countries that cannot afford proper housing and then building them homes.
Founder Blake Andrews does not have a background in real-estate. In fact, he originally worked at TOMS Shoes, whose promise is that for every one pair of shoes sold, then another pair will be donated to someone in need. Through his work at TOMS, Blake often helped children living in Nicaragua. “I was in Nicaragua when I gave a pair of shoes to a little girl that changed my life forever,” he said, “I saw what just a pair of shoes did for her, and I made a commitment that day that if I could ever find a way to change their lives like they changed mine, I would start in Nicaragua.”
In August of 2013 Blake and his wife Tricia, partnered with their Realtor, Nick Schneider. Nick found a beautiful home that was perfect for the Edwards, but he wanted a way to give back more than just by connecting people with the right home. His Realtor’s willingness to give back provided the catalyst to bring Giveback Homes to life.Giveback Homes now has more than 260 members in 12 states.Click To Tweet
There was recently a wonderful article in The Daily Beast, highlighting Giveback Homes and the organization’s potential to create real change in the world.
As Andrews sees it, Giveback elevates the one-for-one idea into more than a string of one-offs. For the residents of San Cayetano, a remote village in the west of Nicaragua, “these homes that we’re building” will be “in their families for generations.” With their possessions and children secure, “they’re allowed to leave and go to work.” After Giveback Homes packs up for the States, he believes a new logic of cumulative, incremental philanthropy will stay behind.
Rather than an abstract sense that “the possibilities are endless”, Giveback lays the foundations for a clear sequence of tangible, productive, and dramatic developments. “Do I think other companies will come out that will find another problem that they can fix?” Andrews asked. “Yes.” From the basics of a home to safety, schooling, and the all social improvements a home unlocks, Andrews says something bigger than the sum of its parts emerges when you start adding them all together. Importantly, the same effect is mirrored on the entrepreneurial side. Different companies offer overlapping solutions that bring bigger returns than they could achieve working in isolation.
Partnering with Habitat for Humanity on every project, Giveback Homes now has more than 260 members in 12 states and has built homes in 13 cities across the U.S. including locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Phoenix, and New York City. Following Blake’s dream of creating change in Nicaragua, 23 homes have been built to date. There are plans to add sites this year in the Dominican Republican and the Philippines as well.
As a member of Giveback Homes, I will be donating a percentage of my real estate commissions to help fund the wonderful work being done by this organization. A house doesn’t necessarily make a home and a populous area doesn’t necessarily make a community. A home and a community are comprised of people who care about them. A Realtor who recognizes that is in a position to help others create both, and I am so excited to help.