Turning Homebuyers Into Humanitarians

Blake Andrews, founder of Giveback Homes.

What if each time someone bought or sold a home, they could help build a home for family in need? This was a question I asked myself about 4 years ago while working for TOMS and distributing shoes to children in need. Today, thanks to the inspiration I received from my good friend and TOMS founder, Blake Mycoskie, my team and I have turned this question into a social impact business called Giveback Homes.

I spent most of my career working in my family beer business in Dallas, TX. I had a few attempts at starting companies of my own, but nothing ever stuck. I wasn’t fulfilled and I found myself looking for something with more meaning. I asked Blake Mycoskie if I could come work for him at TOMS, I wanted to learn what social good meant, and see TOMS giving in action.

After traveling throughout Central America, distributing shoes to children, I saw so many without safe or adequate homes. I told myself right then, that if I ever started a social good company, I would find a way to build homes for those living in extreme poverty. Two years later, while my wife and I were in the market for a home, I realized there might be a way to connect real estate agents (who are in the business of homes) with people living in extreme poverty (and in desperate need of homes.) And so began Giveback Homes, a trusted network of real estate professionals who are dedicated to building homes for families in need. Simply by choosing to work with one of our members, anyone can help create social change.

We started in Nicaragua, since that’s where I first traveled with TOMS, And now, less than 2 years in, Giveback homes is a growing movement with 300 committed real estate professionals, who have funded 22 homes for families in Central America and launched 10 building projects right here in the U.S as well. Giveback Homes arms our members with a unique set of marketing tools and resources to help them differentiate themselves from the rest. People want to work with people doing social good, and we make it easy to find them.

I am especially proud of our partnership with Habitat for Humanity. They are our official Building Partner, and our agreement with them states that 100% of member donations will go directly to our specified home building projects; none are kept for operating or administrative fees. Members pay a monthly fee to be a part of the network, and then any donations they make go directly to our Building Partner.

I believe the “One for One” model that Blake Mycoskie pioneered can be applied to every industry and is ultimately beneficial for business. Cause marketing is changing the way we think about engaging consumers as they’re becoming more knowledgeable about responsible business. Transparency is crucial in this information rich age and social entrepreneurs are holding a magnifying glass up to the rest of big business.I feel so lucky to be a part of it, and to be able to introduce it to the real estate industry. It’s safe to say I am now completely fulfilled, inspired, and passionate about the work I’m doing everyday. Thanks to our members, everyone that has supported our cause, and especially to my friend Blake Mycoskie for inspiring me to #StartSomethingThatMatters.

It’s easy to make an impact through Giveback Homes. You can become a Giveback Homes agent, work with an existing agent near you or donate directly to our builds. I invite you to follow along in our journey on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube as we change a life one home at a time.

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