Homebuilding with Heart: @gives back & Habitat for Humanity

Volunteers with @properties Christie’s International Real Estate’s non-profit foundation, @gives back, spent the day helping to build a home on Chicago’s South Side as part of the organization’s work with Habitat for Humanity. 

Since our founding in 2000, @properties Christie’s International Real Estate has provided fundraising and volunteer opportunities to give back to the communities we serve. In 2009, the company’s philanthropic efforts took a big leap forward when co-founders, Mike Golden and Thad Wong, established @gives back, @properties’ non-profit foundation.

The foundation, run by a team of @properties agents, staff members and partners, has worked with local organizations including those led by professional athletes like Joakim Noah, Anthony Rizzo and Duncan Keith; cancer charities like Imerman Angels and Lynn Sage; and local grassroots organizations like Kids Off The Block, Paving the Way Project, and Strides for Peace. All told, @gives back has donated over $1 million.

Currently, the foundation is partnered with Habitat for Humanity , donating $100,000 annually to support Habitat’s vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live. In addition to raising money, @gives back also spends a service day helping build homes for local families. This year’s service day took place on May 11 in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side.

More than two dozen @gives back volunteers spent the day working on a three-home single-family development, painting a home’s interior and framing the outside walls for a detached two-car garage.

“You’re arriving at 8:00 in the morning and working all day on a build site to partner with future homeowners in the construction of their home. And that’s all the motivation you need because the day always seems to go by so fast,” said Melanie Carlson, @gives back Board President. “You really gain an appreciation for the homebuilding process, the hard work that tradespeople put in each day, and, of course, the dream of homeownership that Habitat donors, volunteers and employees support.”

Two of the homes in the development will welcome their new owners by the end of July. The third home is in the framing stage and will be completed in early 2024. Habitat Chicago will also begin construction on three additional homes in Greater Grand Crossing this year and will be building here for several more years.

Greater Grand Crossing is a middle-market neighborhood with solid housing stock, easy access to transportation and strong community assets. However, gradual disinvestments in properties and decrease in population have made the neighborhood vulnerable to decline. Greater Grand Crossing is at a critical juncture as new developments are emerging in surrounding areas. Well-planned, targeted improvements that complement these developments offer an opportunity to improve the neighborhood’s long-term stability.

In addition to its work with Habitat for Humanity, @gives back has also selected five other local Chicago charities to support in 2023 in the fields of mental health care, LGBTQ+ rights, breast cancer research, furnishing for low-income households, and anti-hunger.

Visit @gives back for more information.

Written by @properties
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