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Partnering with volunteer organization has heartwarming payoff for real estate brokerage

Halstead Property collected more than 5,000 coats for New York Cares -- and found a referral, too

Agents in New York City volunteered their efforts to combat the bitter cold this winter by gathering gently worn coats for those less fortunate. The results? Incredible! Halstead Property’s team of agents stood out among other corporate donors by donating more than 5,000 coats to this year’s New York Cares 2014 Coat Drive.

Halstead’s Helping Hands program is a shining example of how great agents can make a huge difference in their community. The company’s participation in the coat drive was kicked off by Elaine Tross, a broker in Halstead’s Park Avenue office, who started collecting coats in 2013 to donate.

“I really wanted to pay it forward,” Tross said. She began by asking permission to leave collection boxes in some of the buildings she managed. With the help of generous residents and patient friends, she was able to collect over 600 coats.

Tross, fueled by her personal success, sought the help of her company CEO, Diane Ramirez, to expand her efforts. Halstead Helping Hands is the private philanthropic foundation established by the Halstead Property executive team and spearheaded this year by John Wollberg, Sara Rotter and Trish Martin. Halsted director Fritz Frigan enlisted the help of Scanio Moving and Storage, which was also able to assist with not only providing wardrobe boxes, but also a driver and truck to drive from building to building to collect donations.

Agents worked together to help by assembling boxes and gathering many bags of donated coats.

I asked Tross how this campaign has impacted her business, and she laughed. “The first year, I got nothing out of this, but sometimes it’s just nice to give back.” She stated that its more about doing something good for the community. Although this year she did receive a fantastic rental referral, solicitation was not at the forefront of the collection efforts.

“All mailings to raise awareness about the coat collection was from either New York Cares or Helping Hands,” said Tross. She told stories about the people she met collecting coats and how she is excited about her next company community project: cleaning up community gardens in the Bronx.

New York Cares was founded in the 1980s by a group of friends united in their wish to take action against serious social issues in the city. Halstead was the fundraiser’s largest single donor. New York Cares is the city’s largest volunteer management organization, and it helps power more than 1,300 programs for schools, agencies and nonprofits.

“We are incredibly grateful to Halstead, which collected and donated more than 5,000 coats to this year’s New York Cares Coat Drive, making them our largest corporate donor,” said Gary Bagley, executive director of New York Cares. “They were able to collect this impressive number of coats by involving their real estate agents, building residents and managed buildings, which is a fantastic model that led to higher numbers of coat donations. As a result of their generosity, more than 5,000 New Yorkers in need received coats during this unusually long and cold winter.” 

The drive marked one of several initiatives spearheaded by Halstead Helping Hands in 2014. Halstead Helping Hands made great strides in 2014 in improving the welfare and lives of those in need. In addition to the New York Cares’ Coat Drive initiative, Halstead agents and staff participated in numerous additional programs citywide and beyond. Helping Hands has jumped in to help city residents recover from serious disasters such as fires and a recent gas explosion. Agents are able to use their unique skill sets to help victims find housing and hope in times of need.

To learn more, visit www.halstead.com.

By day, Rachael Hite helps agents develop their business. By night, she’s tweeting for listingdepot.com.

Email Rachael Hite.

This story has been updated.

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