Because knowing the ins and out of the communities in which they serve is an essential part of selling real estate, real estate professionals are in a great position to give back.

“There are few professionals more intimately connected to communities than brokers and agents. So it’s only natural that real estate practitioners often become highly involved in charitable causes,” Erica Christopher, consulting editor for REALTORMag, wrote in the magazine’s April 4 Broker to Broker column.

Christopher highlighted one company in particular for their commitment to a cause: ERA Real Estate. ERA has a 35-year-old partnership with the Muscular Dystrophy Association, having raised close to $35 million for the organization, according to ERA President and CEO Charlie Young. ERA has donated countless hours to the MDA through telethons and time spent at MDA summer camps and carnivals.

In addition, Young described other initiatives the company has created to increase its commitment to MDA. One such initiative is the MDA Summer Camp Challenge.

“Knowing how strongly our brokers and agents respond to a challenge, we set a goal to sponsor 1,000 kids who have muscular diseases within three years so they can enjoy MDA summer camps,” Young said in the article. “We are not just sending kids to camp. We are giving them the opportunity to enjoy new experiences, make new friends, discover their strengths and passions, and build the confidence to achieve their goals.”

Young took the challenge to ERA’s International Business Conference in 2015, and the result was equally as successful.

“Within six months, we reached more than one-third of our pledge goal, and at this year’s conference, we revealed that we’ve already met 67% of our goal,” Young told Christopher. “That’s 673 children who can now experience MDA Summer Camp.”

This year’s event was a Riber Run and Dance Party at IBC 2016, where ERA raised more than $23,000 for the MDA. The event is named in honor of the late Jeff Riber Sr. “Jeff was a longstanding, well-respected member of the ERA organization and an avid runner who loved to dance and provided endless community support,” Young said in the article.

Young also provided his take on how agencies should go about choosing a partner organization. “Because real estate is dependent upon connections with communities, it is essential for a real estate company to choose a nonprofit that has local ties,” he said. “That can be a national organization with local chapters, like the MDA, or a more regional organization, depending upon the size of the company.”

Does your agency have any philanthropic partnerships? We’d love to know!