Creating Caring Connections With Mary Ann Vandergriff

 

When people in the West Seattle community are in need, they’ve learned they can turn to Windermere broker Mary Ann Vandergriff. After a company backed out of providing turkeys for 40 elementary school families the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, the school’s family support worker called Vandergriff in a panic. Just a few phone calls later, the big-hearted broker had rounded up 40 vouchers for 20-pound turkeys.

 

“I have all this stuff in my head… things that come to me,” she says. “I love a challenge; give me a complicated puzzle.”

 

Volunteering was a big part of Vandergriff ’s childhood, so it was only natural that she got involved with the Windermere Foundation soon after joining the company in the early 1990s. As a single mom of two, Vandergriff was especially drawn to the mission of the Windermere Foundation, which collects a portion of the proceeds from homes bought or sold through Windermere to donate to projects that benefit low-income and homeless families. “Giving kids a chance, that’s the most important thing to me,” she says.

 

As the Windermere Foundation representative for the West Seattle office, Vandergriff has worked with countless organizations over the years. Early on, she jumped into spearheading fundraising for Project Cool, a program from the King County Coalition on Homelessness that provides students with backpacks stuffed with school supplies.

 

More recently, her office has supported the West Seattle Helpline, which provides emergency assistance to neighbors in need. Last year the team spent a service day setting up Clothesline, West Seattle Helpline’s free clothing store. “We completely put that store together, from laying carpet to organizing clothes to organizing the hangers that were donated,” Vandergriff says. “When you have 40 of us brokers in a day, you can move mountains.”

 

Although it creates more administrative work, the West Seattle office spreads its giving budget—about $25,000—throughout the year so that they always have some seed money on hand to fulfill a need when asked. They’ve helped mothers with breast cancer pay their bills while going through treatment, outfitted children in new winter coats, purchased appliances for a food bank, provided computers for a school, and made sure families had enough to eat during holiday breaks.

 

The list of organizations they’ve helped only grows over the years, and Vandergriff wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

“You help one person at a time,” she says. “It may not be big, it may be small, but even changing the life of one or two children makes a difference.”

 

By Haley Shapley – Originally published in Windermere Living

 

Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has donated more than $36 million to provide shelter, food, children’s programs, emergency assistance, and other services for our communities. Learn more at Windermere.com/Foundation.

Posted on January 8, 2019 at 3:30 pm
John Taylor | Category: Windermere Foundation

Bringing Warmth And Good Cheer For The Holidays

The winter holiday season is one of our favorites! It is also a busy time of the year for Windermere offices, as many are working with local non-profits to support families who need a little extra help during the holidays. From running clothing drives to hosting free photo events with Santa, our agents and offices are out in their communities helping those in need have a warm and merry holiday. Below are just a few examples of how Windermere is giving back this season.

 

Colorado

The Windermere Metro Denver office participated in the Mr. Hugs gift drive hosted by Providence Network. In addition to collecting and donating gifts to the drive, agents also helped with wrapping everything. Providence Network provides transitional housing to people recovering from addiction, homelessness and abuse. This event served around 200 people and provided an opportunity for the residents to do some Christmas shopping for each other from the gifts that were donated.

 

Oregon and SW Washington

Offices throughout Oregon and SW Washington recently held their annual Share the Warmth Annual Coat & Blanket Drive, collecting new or gently used coats blankets. Launched in 2002 in the Portland area, this annual event has grown significantly to include 40 Windermere offices throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington. Offices select the non-profit organization(s) in their communities to receive the donated items they’ve collected and to distribute them to those in need.

 

Southern Oregon

Windermere offices in Southern Oregon participated in the Newswatch 12 Coats for Kids drive. Eight Windermere offices (Ashland, Eagle PointGrants PassJacksonvilleKlamath FallsMedfordRogue RiverShady Cove) teamed up with TV station KDRV to collect coats for local school children.

 

Seattle, Washington

The Windermere Sand Point office is hosting a giving tree for the holidays. The tree was decorated with 33 ornaments, each listing a gift to be purchased for families in need from a local elementary school. As the wishes are fulfilled, the gifts are wrapped and put under the tree to be delivered for Christmas.

On December 1, the office also hosted its fourth annual photos with Santa event and fundraiser for the Windermere Foundation. Home-baked treats were served while children colored and waited to have a photo taken with Santa. Elves were on hand to help the children deliver their wish lists and to make sure a grand time was had by all.

          

 

Whidbey Island, Washington

In November, the Windermere Real Estate/South Whidbey offices in Freeland and Langley participated in a three-week Coats for Kids Drive benefitting Readiness To Learn. They collected coats, gloves/mittens, hats, scarves, warm pullovers, and socks for 75+ children. In addition to this, the offices also collected cold-weather gear for six homeless middle and high school students in their community.

     

 

Windermere would like to thank our offices and those in our communities that donate to the Windermere Foundation. Your generosity makes it possible for us to continue to support organizations that provide services to low-income and homeless families throughout the Western U.S.

If you’d like to help support programs in your community, please consider donating to the Windermere Foundation. Just click on the Donate button and select the Windermere office near you.

To learn more about the Windermere Foundation, visit WindermereFoundation.com.

 

Posted on December 20, 2018 at 3:30 pm
John Taylor | Category: Windermere Foundation | Tagged , , , , , ,

A Lifetime of Making a Difference – Joan Tate Allen

 

Tis the season when we look back upon the year and give thanks for all that we have and count our blessings. At Windermere, we are thankful for all who generously donate to the Windermere Foundation, and we are grateful to have franchise owners and agents who go above and beyond to make a difference in the communities where they live and work. This year, Joan Tate Allen, co-owner and vice-president of Windermere Realty Trust, was recognized with the “Windermere Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award” at the company’s annual Owners Retreat. Joan is a visionary and one of those individuals who puts her whole being behind her commitment to helping others.

 

After joining Windermere in 1991, Joan became involved with the Windermere Foundation during its early years. She found inspiration in the unprecedented idea of all agents donating a small portion of each commission check because it provided an opportunity for regular people to make a big difference with a modest amount of money. The entire basis for the Windermere Foundation was built on the premise that these funds would accumulate over a period of time, as the agents pooled their resources.

 

Joan and her husband Brian eventually became the owners of several Windermere offices in Portland, Oregon — bringing on a change that would lead to Joan setting new standards for community service. In a short amount of time, she was able to spearhead entire fundraising events and challenge her agents to raise even more than their commission check donations. She created a friendly year-long contest called “Rise to the Challenge,” in which her offices compete to raise the most money for the Windermere Foundation. The total amount raised in 2017 as a result of those efforts was over $203,000.

 

Joan’s infectious enthusiasm has led to her company’s agents initiating their own fundraising events, such as a golf tournament organized by just one agent which has raised more than $40,000 each year.

 

Joan’s philanthropic work, however, does not end with the Windermere Foundation. She was highly involved with the founding of New Avenues for Youth and Bridge Meadows, and also serves on the Providence Portland Medical Center board.

 

Joan is constantly finding ways to engage her network to help the community through events such as organizing a day of serving meals, promoting clothing drives with Windermere agents, or giving underprivileged youth the opportunity to spend a few weeks learning to row in the summer. It is this type of leadership that has had meaningful impact and is why we honored Joan with the Windermere Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.

 

We are grateful to have owners like Joan who inspire others to help those in need and are thankful for all who continue to support the Windermere Foundation.

 

If you’d like to help support programs and services that help those in need in your community, please consider making a donation to the Windermere Foundation through a Windermere office near you. Just click on the Donate button.

 

To learn more about the Windermere Foundation, visit https://www.windermere.com/foundation.

Posted on December 6, 2018 at 3:30 pm
John Taylor | Category: Windermere Foundation | Tagged , , , , , ,

Helping Homeless Youth Stay Warm From Head To Toe!

 

With the onset of winter, Windermere offices throughout the greater Seattle area came together this month to host another “We’ve Got You Covered” winter drive for YouthCare, a nonprofit that provides critical services to homeless youth. This drive is a part of Windermere’s #TackleHomelessness campaign with the Seattle Seahawks which aims to raise money, donations, and awareness for the homeless youth crisis.

This winter, YouthCare predicts that over 1,500 young people in Seattle will call the streets home during the coldest time of the year, challenging local businesses to help however they can. So, for the third year in a row, over 30 Windermere offices came together to answer the call by collecting new hats, scarves, gloves, and warm socks.

During the four-week drive, our offices collected donations from agents, staff, and the community, which included over 8,100 hats, gloves, scarves, socks, and an assortment of other accessories and cash donations.

The staff at YouthCare were grateful to receive the delivery of the bins full of donated items. According to Nicole Phaysith, Communications Specialist at YouthCare, “As the rain endures and the temperature drops, it becomes that much harder for young people to focus on the day ahead. We are so grateful for the generous donation of cold weather essentials from Windermere and the community. We’re able to offer young people respite from the cold—and one less thing to worry about on their road to stability and independence. Thank you for keeping homeless youth warm and dry so that they can plan for their future.”

We are grateful to be able to partner with Gentle Giant Moving Company again this year, who generously donated their time, muscle, and trucks to pick up and deliver all of the donated items to YouthCare.

This drive would not be possible without the support of the Seattle Seahawks, our offices, and all those who donated. From all of us at Windermere, thank you for making our Winter Drive a success and helping to support homeless youth in the greater Seattle area!

 

 

 

*Participating Windermere offices:

BellevueBellevue CommonsBellevue SouthBellevue WestBurienKirklandKirkland Yarrow BayLynnwoodMaple ValleyMercer IslandMill CreekProperty Management – BellevueProperty Management – EdmondsProperty Management – Seattle NorthProperty Management – SouthRedmondSeattle-BallardSeattle-EastlakeSeattle-GreenwoodSeattle-Madison ParkSeattle-MagnoliaSeattle-Mount BakerSeattle-NorthgateSeattle-NorthwestSeattle-Queen AnneSeattle-Sand PointSeattle-Wall StreetSeattle-WedgwoodSeattle-West SeattleServices CompanyShorelineWoodinville

Posted on November 23, 2018 at 3:30 pm
John Taylor | Category: Windermere Foundation | Tagged , , , ,

Windermere Foundation to Donate $25,000 to California Community Foundation Wildfire Relief Fund

 

Like much of the nation, we’ve been heartbroken by the horrifying images and statistics rolling in as California suffers from the worst wildfires in the state’s history. For our staff, agents, and franchise owners who live and work in the affected areas, it’s a threat to their clients, their families, and their communities. Everything that Windermere is is thanks to the hard work and dedication of our team, and #WeAreWindermere is a mantra we hold to in good times and in bad. It is for that reason that the Windermere Foundation is donating $25,000 to the California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund.

The California Community Foundation (CCF) has over a century of experience supporting communities throughout California, with a stellar reputation for putting donations directly towards the causes they support. In 2003, the CCF created their Wildfire Relief Fund, and have raised over $5 million to help victims of wildfires rebuild. The CCF’s Wildfire Relief Fund puts their efforts towards “those who were displaced or lost housing, belongings and/or employment, or suffered physical or mental health problems,” as well as helping to rebuild homes, providing case management services, basic needs assistance, mental health services, provided respiratory equipment, and much more.

We’re proud to support the CCF’s Wildfire Relief Fund and hope you will consider doing the same. You can donate by visiting their site here.

Posted on November 22, 2018 at 3:30 pm
John Taylor | Category: Windermere Foundation | Tagged , , ,

Windermere Foundation by the Numbers

For the past 29 years, the Windermere Foundation has been helping those in need in our communities through donations to local organizations that provide services to low-income and homeless families. In 2017, the Windermere Foundation raised over $2.4 million in donations, bringing the total to over $35 million raised since we started this effort in 1989. The following infographic details exactly how these funds were dispersed in 2017 and the types of organizations that benefited from them. For more information please visit windermere.com/foundation.

 

Posted on November 15, 2018 at 3:30 pm
John Taylor | Category: Windermere Foundation | Tagged , , , , ,

Helping Students Realize Their Dreams Through Scholarship Programs

 

The Windermere Foundation has raised $1,611,802 so far this year, bringing the total amount raised by the Foundation to over $37 million since 1989. Through the third quarter of 2018, $1,214,576 has been donated to local non-profits and charity organizations that provide services to low-income and homeless families.

 

Through donations from Windermere agents, staff, franchise owners, and the community, the Windermere Foundation has been able to donate to local scholarship programs that help students in need realize their dreams of furthering their education. The following are examples of two programs that have benefitted from Windermere Foundation donations this year.

 

Seattle Central College Foundation Scholarship Program

Each Windermere office raises its own funds and has a Windermere Foundation account that it can use to make donations to organizations in their local communities. This fall, the Windermere Seattle-Capitol Hill office generously donated to the Seattle Central College Foundation’s scholarship program, which is helping nearly 500 students attend the college this year, relieved of financial stress, and encouraging them to stay committed to their education.

 

Tammara S., the recipient of the Windermere Real Estate/Capitol Hill Scholarship, said, “I am honored to be the recipient of this scholarship… Attending school with an already tight budget was a hard decision to make. This scholarship will ease the stress of extra debt and the fear of having to choose anything over my education. Thank you, I appreciate your confidence in me and willingness to contribute to my future education.”

 

 

University of Washington Certificate Scholarship Program

The Windermere Foundation general fund also made a donation to support the University of Washington Certificate Scholarship program. With the help of UW Certificate Scholarships and the Windermere Foundation, 12 local adults living on low incomes were able to start classes at the University of Washington this fall. These are just a few of the recipients:

 

Loree, who is studying Fundraising Management:  A stay-at-home mom and active school volunteer/PTA fundraiser. Sadly, Loree recently lost her husband to cancer and has become her family’s primary provider. The certificate program will help her re-enter the workforce. “The scholarship will provide me the freedom to walk the path of discovery as I redefine who I am in this second phase of my life.”

 

Matthew, who is studying Wetland Science and Management:  A single dad of a 6-year-old, Matthew juggles childcare with full-time work supervising Washington Conservation Corps crews in the King Conservation District. Struggling to pay rent in Seattle, his aim is to move into a better paid job, with a schedule that better lines up with his daughter’s “… and a chance to improve the stability of our natural systems in the face of overwhelming pressures like climate change.”

 

Syed, who is studying Data Analytics:  Syed moved to the U.S. from Pakistan two years ago with a master’s degree and work experience in statistics. He is having great difficulty finding a job in his field because he has no local work experience or contacts. He is currently working at Walmart as a cashier to support his wife and 1-year-old son. “Completing this program will benefit me tremendously and help me to begin my profession, as a data analyst, in the U.S.”

 

Tobi, who is studying Project Management:  Tobi works as a corporate relations coordinator at one of the largest food banks in King County, based in South Seattle. She wants to expand her skillset and go on to lead social impact and corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs that ensure the advancement of underrepresented communities. “The skills I learn in this program will equip me to bring more to the table in this work.”

 

 

The Windermere Foundation is proud to support wonderful programs such as these that provide continuing education scholarships to those in need. Generous donations to the Windermere Foundation over the years have allowed the Foundation and our Windermere offices to continue to support local non-profits. If you’d like to help support programs in your community, please click on the Donate button.

 

To learn more about the Windermere Foundation, visit WindermereFoundation.com.

Posted on November 2, 2018 at 3:30 pm
John Taylor | Category: Windermere Foundation | Tagged , ,

Providing Scholarships and School Supplies to Students in Need

 

It’s that time of year again! As families prepare to send their kids back to school, Windermere agents have been out in their communities raising money to support programs that provide school supplies and scholarships to students in need.

These are a just a few examples of how Windermere agents are making a difference.

 

 

Education First Scholarship Program

Seattle, WA:  For the second year in a row, agents with the Windermere Wall Street Group offices have pooled their local Windermere Foundation funds to sponsor college scholarships for low-income youth who strive to improve their lives. Through a partnership with Education First, students receive tuition assistance along with access to college coaching services to stay on track.

The Windermere Wall StreetMagnolia, and Queen Anne offices used their funds to sponsor Yosef Yirdaw, who plans to study computer science at Eastern Washington University. Originally an orphan from Ethiopia, he shined in high school with both academics and cross country.

The Windermere office in West Seattle sponsored Brandon Olivera, a Chief Sealth High School graduate heading to the University of Washington, who is setting an example for his younger brothers to follow. During high school, Brandon spent many hours working in his father’s restaurant while making sure to help his siblings with their homework.

Both scholars will be the first in their families to attend college. The Windermere Wall Street Group offices have generously donated a total of $12,000 to Education First’s scholarship program since 2016.

 

Equipped 4 Success School Supply Drive

Alameda, CA:  Through the Windermere Foundation, Windermere Bay Area Properties offices donated $1,000 to the Alameda Education Foundation (AEF) to purchase new backpacks and supplies for their Equipped 4 Success School Supply Drive. Contributions to the drive provide homeless, formerly homeless, and low-income students with the materials they need to be ready to learn on the first day of school.

The mission of the Alameda Education Foundation is to engage the community, raise funds, and coordinate programs to support and enhance the quality of K-12 public education in Alameda.

 

Make The “Change” For Lewis County

    

Centralia, WA:  On August 21, the Windermere Centralia office teamed up with KELA/KMNT Radio to host the Make The “Change” For Lewis County fundraising event. A school bus was parked next to the Windermere office to collect school supplies, checks, cash or change, and KELA/KMNT Radio was on site broadcasting live from the event. Over $2,000 worth of school supplies were collected for Lewis County schoolkids in need.

 

High Point Healthy Families Celebration

    

Seattle, WA:  Approximately 830 community members attended this annual event on August 15 hosted by Neighborhood House, whose mission is to partner with diverse individuals and families to build community and achieve their goals for health, education, and self-sufficiency. With the help of a $3,000 donation from the Windermere Foundation, Neighborhood House was able to purchase enough school supplies to stuff 500 backpacks and serve 100 more school-aged youth than last year. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan was also on hand at the event to help distribute backpacks.

 

Thanks to the generous donations and support of Windermere owners, agents, staff, and the public, the Windermere Foundation has been able to raise over $36 million since 1989 to support local non-profit organizations that provide services to low-income and homeless families in our communities. If you’d like to help support programs in your community, please click on the Donate button.

To learn more about the Windermere Foundation, please visit WindermereFoundation.com.

Posted on October 16, 2018 at 2:43 pm
John Taylor | Category: Windermere Foundation | Tagged , , ,

The Seahawks and Windermere Return for Another Season to #TackleHomelessness

All of us at Windermere are very excited to kick-off our third season as the Official Real Estate Company of the Seattle Seahawks!

Once again, our #tacklehomelessnesscampaign is front-and-center, with the Windermere Foundation donating $100 for every Seahawks home-game defensive tackle to YouthCare, a Seattle-based non-profit organization that has been providing services and support to homeless youth for more than 40 years. During the past two seasons, the Seahawks have helped us raise $66,800 through our #tacklehomelessness campaign, and this year we are looking forward to raising even more money – and awareness – for this important cause.

Our partnership with the Seahawks and YouthCare fits perfectly with the mission of the Windermere Foundation which is to support low-income and homeless families in the communities where we have offices. Through the #tacklehomelessnesscampaign, we hope to be able to do even more.

A “scorecard” will be posted after each home game with an update on how much we’ve raised. You can follow our progress throughout the Seahawks season on our Facebook page at Facebook.com/WindermereRealEstateand on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/windermere/.

Posted on October 5, 2018 at 3:30 pm
John Taylor | Category: Windermere Foundation | Tagged ,

Providing Scholarships and School Supplies to Students in Need

It’s that time of year again! As families prepare to send their kids back to school, Windermere agents have been out in their communities raising money to support programs that provide school supplies and scholarships to students in need.

These are a just a few examples of how Windermere agents are making a difference.

 

 

Education First Scholarship Program

Seattle, WA:  For the second year in a row, agents with the Windermere Wall Street Group offices have pooled their local Windermere Foundation funds to sponsor college scholarships for low-income youth who strive to improve their lives. Through a partnership with Education First, students receive tuition assistance along with access to college coaching services to stay on track.

The Windermere Wall StreetMagnolia, and Queen Anne offices used their funds to sponsor Yosef Yirdaw, who plans to study computer science at Eastern Washington University. Originally an orphan from Ethiopia, he shined in high school with both academics and cross country.

The Windermere office in West Seattle sponsored Brandon Olivera, a Chief Sealth High School graduate heading to the University of Washington, who is setting an example for his younger brothers to follow. During high school, Brandon spent many hours working in his father’s restaurant while making sure to help his siblings with their homework.

Both scholars will be the first in their families to attend college. The Windermere Wall Street Group offices have generously donated a total of $12,000 to Education First’s scholarship program since 2016.

 

Equipped 4 Success School Supply Drive

Alameda, CA:  Through the Windermere Foundation, Windermere Bay Area Properties offices donated $1,000 to the Alameda Education Foundation (AEF) to purchase new backpacks and supplies for their Equipped 4 Success School Supply Drive. Contributions to the drive provide homeless, formerly homeless, and low-income students with the materials they need to be ready to learn on the first day of school.

The mission of the Alameda Education Foundation is to engage the community, raise funds, and coordinate programs to support and enhance the quality of K-12 public education in Alameda.

 

Make The “Change” For Lewis County

    

Centralia, WA:  On August 21, the Windermere Centralia office teamed up with KELA/KMNT Radio to host the Make The “Change” For Lewis County fundraising event. A school bus was parked next to the Windermere office to collect school supplies, checks, cash or change, and KELA/KMNT Radio was on site broadcasting live from the event. Over $2,000 worth of school supplies were collected for Lewis County schoolkids in need.

 

High Point Healthy Families Celebration

    

Seattle, WA:  Approximately 830 community members attended this annual event on August 15 hosted by Neighborhood House, whose mission is to partner with diverse individuals and families to build community and achieve their goals for health, education, and self-sufficiency. With the help of a $3,000 donation from the Windermere Foundation, Neighborhood House was able to purchase enough school supplies to stuff 500 backpacks and serve 100 more school-aged youth than last year. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan was also on hand at the event to help distribute backpacks.

 

Thanks to the generous donations and support of Windermere owners, agents, staff, and the public, the Windermere Foundation has been able to raise over $36 million since 1989 to support local non-profit organizations that provide services to low-income and homeless families in our communities. If you’d like to help support programs in your community, please click on the Donate button.

To learn more about the Windermere Foundation, please visit WindermereFoundation.com.

Posted on September 7, 2018 at 3:30 pm
John Taylor | Category: Windermere Foundation | Tagged , , ,