A Foundation For Giving

Nothing raises our spirits more than seeing the last soldiers depart Iraq in time for the holidays.  The recurring image of tearful families being re-united with their loved ones underscores the magnitude of sacrifices each has made throughout the nine-year conflict.  To every soldier—and to his or her loved ones—we offer our solemn and heartfelt thanks and best wishes for your holiday reunion.

Regrettably, our returning heroes’ next big challenge will be to re-establish their footing in the midst of a tenacious recession noteworthy for persistent unemployment and growing human need. Amid deep corporate and government cuts in funding for community outreach, it now falls to charitable organizations to underwrite many of the programs that help rescue the less fortunate among us—including children, veterans and the homeless.

Helping bridge the funding gap is one of the primary reasons behind the MSC Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that was launched this past spring.   In spite of equally tough times for the real estate industry, many of our 550-plus agents have joined together to expand on their long-standing tradition of giving back to their communities.

Last week, the MSC Foundation made it’s first-ever grants to several organizations that provide a path to self-sufficiency for those in need.  Now instead of token gifts that say “thank you” for buying or selling a home, many of our agents are opting to make donations in their clients’ names to the foundation—and the broad spectrum of local charities it intends to support. Many of our staff members have also pitched-in by giving generously through one or more voluntary payroll deductions.

An advisory group—made up of representatives from each branch office and division of Michael Saunders & Company—helps shape the foundation’s goals, reviews grant applications, vets the organizations; then determines how the foundation’s funds should be dispersed.

The foundation’s first cycle of giving included grants to the following organizations:  Community Coalition on Homelessness, Food Bank of Manatee, All Faiths Food Bank, Family Partnership Center, Charlotte County Family YMCA, The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, The Children’s Healthy Pantry, Community Youth Development, Kids Needs of Greater Englewood, Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy (SMART) and F.E.L.T Inc. of Manatee County.

Examples of the difference these organizations make in our community are contained in the daily activities of SMART and F.E.L.TSMART provides therapeutic horseback riding for children and adults with physical and mental disabilities.  The MSC Foundation’s grant was awarded to its Horses for Heroes program that helps rehabilitate seriously wounded soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.  F.E.L.T.—an acronym for Feeding Empty Little Tummies—provides backpacks filled with nutritious food for homeless children to take with them on weekends and holidays when they aren’t getting meals in school.

As Jane Evers, F.E.L.T.’s founder and CEO reminded onlookers as she accepted one of the foundation’s inaugural grants, “A modest donation can feed more hungry tummies than the donor might suspect.”

Please join us in making charitable activities part of your holiday traditions.  Even in a community known for its huge philanthropic heart, the needs are great—and continue to multiply.

Meanwhile, from all of us at Michael Saunders & Company, here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas, a Happy Chanukah; and a prosperous and fulfilling 2012.

Visit the following link:   michaelsaunders.com/msc-foundation to learn more about the MSC Foundation.

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