Making a Difference Nov30

Making a Difference

‘Tis the season for sharing and caring. Giving Tuesday is a terrific opportunity to share the giving spirit of the holidays. By supporting causes that are close to our hearts, we can amplify their message and their impact on our communities. In honor of Giving Tuesday, we are recapping a few nonprofit features of 2021. We welcome you to join Yardi in supporting these causes. Angela’s House supports medically frail children and their families.The organization arranges life-saving home care services, medical supplies, assistive technologies, home modifications and counseling services. Through its programs, families are able to focus on one another rather than medical challenges. Santa Paula Animal Resource Center (SPARC) is a nonprofit shelter that provides progressive programs, resources and services to help rehabilitate and rehome abandoned and stray animals. SPARC celebrates the human-animal bond and aims to eliminate the barriers that hamper the advancement of companion animal welfare. Their efforts promote a future that considers all pets within the community, not just those who end up at a shelter. Connections for the Homeless took a creative spin on providing shelter and food for the housing insecure. Partnering with landlords, hotels and restaurants during the early stages of the pandemic helped the organization support more nearly 3,400 individuals.   kidSTREAM reignites the passion for learning through play. The organization provides an interactive environment where kids explore, play and discover. Each experience aims to inspire and empower kids to become critical thinkers, innovators and life-long learners. Flusterpost E.V. is a German nonprofit that helps families cope with cancer diagnoses to develop greater preparedness, resiliency and hope. Participants engage in counseling, play therapy and additional resources. All services are confidential and free of charge. Clients can access services in person, by phone, email or via social media. Dress for Success Boston  uses clothing as a steppingstone to...

IREM Fun Run Oct21

IREM Fun Run

Ready, set, go! End the month of October with a virtual run or walk that supports higher education. It’s a fun and healthful way to support future real estate industry leaders.  IREM Virtual Fun Run + Walk 5k The Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) is hosting its annual race to support the development of real estate management professionals, the IREM Foundation Virtual Fun Run + Walk. You can participate regardless of where you live or how you choose to get around: whether you’re in a wheelchair, walking, jogging, running or anything in between, this race is for you. Register to participate in either a 5k or one-mile event. Once registered, you will receive a digital bib. (You can also jazz-up your participation with merch, a great way to promote the cause while you’re on-the-go.) You can then complete your distance at any time between October 22- 31, 2021. After completion, you will receive your race results along with a printable virtual medal. We encourage you to take a picture during your race, jot down your completion time and share the event on social media. Use the hashtags #IREMFunRun or #IREMFoundation to share your experience with other supporters and participants. By participating, you can help communities thrive The IREM Foundation believes that well-managed real estate leads to thriving communities. To create these safe and prosperous spaces, the organization creates scholarships to ease the financial burden on members who want to further their education. You can help! All proceeds from the race support IREM Foundation scholarships and programs to elevate diverse leaders. Yardi is a proud sponsor of the foundation, which provides tuition assistance for up to three certification courses. Scholarship recipients have demonstrated commitment to a career in real estate management. Through your participation,...

Stronger Together

In Germany, an estimated 51% of men and 43% of women will develop cancer during their lifetime, reports medical research firm Bristol Myers Squibb. While the number of survivors is steadily increasing, so is the number of incidences amongst people of working age.  One non-profit organization helps families cope with cancer diagnoses to develop greater preparedness, resiliency and hope. Clarity, communication and community at Flüsterpost e.V. Flüsterpost e.V. (Whisper Mail in English) supports children whose parents have been diagnosed with cancer. This is done primarily through counseling for parents, which coaches adults on how to handle the diagnosis with their young family members. Pictured from left – Anita Zimmermann (Founder of Flüsterpost), Bärbel Welches (Yardi), Dirk Kolbe (Yardi) Karin Burchardt (Flüsterpost), Kathrin Stahl (Yardi) and Denis Litke (Yardi). The counseling sessions encourage open and honest discussion within the family. Through discussion, families can address or resolve issues and mitigate additional psychological and physical stress for the youth and young adults in the family. Additionally, children get the chance to learn how to deal with crisis situations in a capable and self-efficient way, thus strengthen their resources and resilience.  Family counseling is supplemented with additional research and resources. All services are confidential and free of charge. Clients can access services in person, by phone, email or via social media. Youth also have access to play therapy. At the center, kids can play instruments, explore the arts, participate in equine therapy, and so much more. Each activity is crafted to provide emotional support through self-expression and energetic release.  Flüsterpost e.V.  + Yardi Yardi is a proud sponsor of Flüsterpost e.V. Team members from the Germany office visited the site to learn more about the organization. Yardi team members Bärbel Welches, Dirk Kolbe, Kathrin Stahl and Denis Litke explored rooms that...

Ready, Set, Succeed! Sep17

Ready, Set, Succeed!

Yardi Atlanta has done it again! Team members have joined forces to help students of a local school beat the odds. Through their efforts, disadvantaged youth are able to start off the year with the tools needed for success. Mimosa Elementary School: overcoming the odds Mimosa Elementary School thrives because of dedicated teachers, engaged students and active parents. The academic growth of Mimosa students is higher than 74% of schools in the state, and higher than its district. About 34% of its third-grade students read at or above the grade level target, an important milestone for youth. Mimosa Elementary School is Beating the Odds, meaning that it performs better than similar Title 1 schools. The school receives 4.7 stars on Google reviews, mostly from pleased parents. Mimosa Elementary School challenges public perception of a Title 1 school. The student body, with fewer than 800 students, rests within an Economic Opportunity Zone. Most families have incomes below the poverty line and approximately 95 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunch rates. But the school isn’t a place of lack. Yardi Atlanta’s Back to School Supply Drive Economic challenges are met with resourcefulness, creativity and community support. Yardi Atlanta is a proud sponsor of Mimosa Elementary School. Each year, team members raise funds and buy supplies to support the Back to School Supply Drive. In its second year of remote employment, Yardi Atlanta remains dedicated to addressing real-world issues. The School Supply Drive Committee organized a virtual fundraiser to gather supplies for disadvantaged students. Participants could send donations via an electronic platform, submit cash donations through HR or supply item donations to the local office. By any means available, Yardi team members showed their support for local students. A virtual fundraiser for a largely remote group has its challenges....

3D-Printed Housing Sep15

3D-Printed Housing

Habitat for Humanity is leading the way on innovative housing solutions. The Tempe branch is exploring 3D-printed ranch-style homes to address a growing need for housing. The flagship structure demonstrates the efficiency and beauty of combining conventional and 3D printer construction. It takes a village to print a 3D house The three-bedroom, two-bathroom house was designed by Scottsdale-based Candelaria Designs and printed by PERI group of Germany using a Build On Demand (BOD2) printer. More than 20 sponsors provided funding. The house contains 1,738 square feet of living space and a total of 2,433 square feet for the project, reports the nonprofit. Of the total square footage, 70-80% of the house will be 3D printed. The BOD2 works alongside construction crews and volunteers. It uses the gantry principle, which allows it to move in any position within the structure, printing inner and outer walls in thin layers. As it prints, human workers can continue their electrical, plumbing and other tasks. Humans will also install the ceilings. Construction is scheduled for completion in October 2021. Explore Habitat for Humanity’s earth-friendly passivehaus design. For now, the BOD2 house at 677 W. 19th St. will be one-of-a-kind. The 15 adjacent homes will be traditional builds on four city lots. Habitat for Humanity has made it clear that more 3D-printed homes are of interest. The project is a direct response to an acute affordable housing crisis in the area, reports the nonprofit. About 20% of renters are considered extremely low income. Of them, 75% of households are severely cost burdened. The phrase is used by the National Low Income Housing Coalition to describe renters spending more than 30% of their income on housing. The state would need more than 136,000 affordable units to safely house extremely low-income renters. Scalable, affordable...

Tech for Success Aug13

Tech for Success

Virtual classrooms demonstrate the marvels of modern technology—for those with access to them. Students without adequate technology faced a myriad of challenges. Among them, some students did not have internet connectivity while others struggled to navigate multiple class schedules on shared computers. The attentive staff of Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) noticed the need and stepped in to help. We caught up with Toshania Solomon and Debra Shaw at TCHC via Zoom to learn how they helped tenants thrive in remote learning environments. Meeting the need Solomon was fresh on the job at TCHC when we spoke. With her, she brought years of experience in program management and community planning. This enabled her to hit the ground running as the supervisor of program support and implementation. “One part of me was always working with people while the other part worked in the background with strategic structure,” smiles Solomon. “For me, it’s all about impact.” The first high impact project was largely self-assigned. During school closures during COVID-19, Solomon and her team noticed profound needs in the community. “My job entailed afterschool and summer programs,” began Solomon. “I noticed many families didn’t have access to devices or only had one device with multiple kids.” The organization developed the idea of Tech for Learning Success, technology kits for families. The kits would include laptops for children and youth grades one to 12, internet subscriptions via Rogers Connected for Success, connection hardware, homework assistance and resources for adults. “One the idea was in place, everything just…began to come together,” says Solomon. Tech for Learning Success TCHC received a grant from Yardi to purchase the kits. With the funds, Solomon and her team were able to expand them to include laptop carrying bags, mice, headphones, notebooks and other essential office supplies. “Thanks to Yardi Canada’s donation, we provided technology kits to 20 families in total. Sixteen families connected to TCHC through our Active Living programs, and four families from our rapid housing program that places families from the Toronto Shelter system into TCHC units,” reports Debra Shaw, development officer for programs and partnerships at TCHC. “It’s so important that kids in our community could be equipped like everyone else. We were able to meet them where they’re at and elevate them from there,” says Solomon. It was so important to her, in fact, that she participated in the assembly and delivery of the kits. Along with members of the regional team, Solomon put supplies in the hands of 43 young people. They belonged to families that had registered on a first come, first serve basis as well as families with unique needs. Shaw explains, “One family has a child with cerebral palsy who needs to spend more time in her online classes. This affects the other four children in the household who also need access to the device for online classes. It has been difficult to balance all of their online learning. They are particular pleased to have been selected for this program.” Putting kits to work To optimize use of the kits, TCHC developed two learning streams. In Stream one, parents attended four 45-minute online workshop sessions. The sessions introduced parents to the devices as well as the basics of cybersecurity, teaching at home and general wellness. In stream two, kids and youth learned how to operate the technology appropriately and how to stay safe while on the internet. Families also receive a PDF listing free educational resources such as community agencies offering support, games, worksheets, literacy and free tutoring services. These resources are all accessible online and community services broken down by geographical regions. “This project has been so rewarding,” beams Solomon. “To be clear, tenants are thriving with or without our help. They’re doing what they need to in order to get things done. Tenants, including the kids, have an unmatched sense of resiliency and they’re able to tap into...

Digitizing Priceless Texts Jun08

Digitizing Priceless Texts

Have you ever heard the saying, “We don’t know what we don’t know?” We cannot quantify the impact of lost or destroyed information once it’s gone. Subsequent generations are simply left not knowing what was once known. From the destruction of the Xianyang State Archives in 206 B.C. and burning of the U.S. Library of Congress in 1814 to the vandalism of the Central Library of Mosul in 2015, human action and natural disasters have robbed the world of more than 100 major libraries and their irreplaceable texts. In 2003, many sacred and historic texts at the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) in Pune suffered at the hands of vandals. The incident was a sober reminder that we must proactively protect the fragile and irreplaceable documents that influence cultural evolution. To protect the legacies of literature and celebrate its centennial anniversary, BORI and Yardi have teamed up to create a digital library. Meet BORI Established in 1917, BORI is the caretaker of more than 153,000 rare books and 28,000 manuscripts. Texts offer valuable insights on topics such as the Vedas, Ayurveda, Buddhism, Jainism, Sanskrit and ancient Indian philosophies.  In 2017, the organization celebrated 100 years in operation. Staff initiated a new digital library that would protect its priceless holdings while making content available to larger audiences. “We recognized the need to evolve in a new direction,” explains Sudheer Vaishampayan, honorary secretary of BORI. “We recognized the need to protect the treasure in our care as well as the significance of making it accessible. Hence we started the mission to digitize our library.” A labor of love and a legacy To create the digital library, staff followed five basic steps: Create an online catalogue system to ensure that texts are easy to find. BORI used a “Marc-21” standard that includes 26 fields per catalogue entry.Select books for scanning based on three parameters: online availability, copyrights and academic significance. Based on those criteria, BORI selected nearly 16,000 books.Establish the Digitization Lab. BORI is home to one of the most well-equipped digitization labs in India that includes three book scanners and two document scanners.Begin the time consuming and tedious process called non-destructive scanning. Page-by-page, staff scanned in almost 16,000 books. BORI staff partnered with Nyansa, an end-to-end digital solutions facilitator. The teams worked in three shifts from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m.. It has taken two years to scan nearly 7 million pages—and work is still in progress!Transition scanned files to the Digitalaya platform created by the Center for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC). Lastly, BORI established BoriLib.com.  The digital library went live in late 2019. It currently hosts 8,269 books with about 7,500 books in the pipeline. “After five years, and tremendous efforts of multiple teams, we know that our digital journey has only begun,” said Vaishampayan. “The pandemic has put a brake on our speed, but we will finish the job by the end of 2021.” BORI + Yardi, safeguarding the future by preserving the past The information and philosophies found within the books have already survived the test of time. In a digital library, they will remain with us even if the original texts cannot. The benefits of such work are innumerable. Yardi is a proud sponsor of the digital library. “Yardi sponsors the whole initiative,” says Bhupal Patwardhan, chairman of the executive board at BORI. “Mr. Anant Yardi, the founder of Yardi Systems, facilitated the implementation of the entire project. They donated two new book scanners, sponsored the digitization process and also our move to the Digitalaya platform developed by C-DAC.” He continues, “We are also eternally grateful to Ajmera group for helping us buy the first book-scanner in 2016.” Though the bulk of the project is complete, work remains. The library is currently accessible online and will receive updates as new resources become available. “We remain grateful to every helping hand as we strive to safeguard the...

Success through Sleep May24

Success through Sleep

Imagine that you’re 11 years old. You’ve completed your school day, assisted your family at the restaurant, finished your homework and dinner. You’re exhausted. Instead of crawling into a cozy bed, you walk to the corner of the bedroom that you share with your three siblings and take your place on the floor beside them. You’ll repeat the same draining routine the next day, and the next day, without a good night’s sleep. The volunteers at Sleep in Heavenly Peace Durham aim to end the cycle one handmade bed at a time. Sleep in Heavenly Peace Durham Robert Sweeney has a particular set of skills: he has army-inspired organizational skills, pays attention to detail, and hasn’t met a power tool that he didn’t like. Upon retirement, he sought a charity where he could put his talents and passion to good use. Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP) Durham was the perfect fit. After receiving training at the charity’s headquarters in Idaho, he founded his own chapter in Durham in 2018. “I am immensely proud to be a part of the SHP family and support their mission in this area. Not only do we get to deliver these beds to children who desperately need them, we are truly building a better community in the process,” says Sweeney. Sweeney and the team of volunteers at SHP Durham are part of an international network of community changers. Each chapter is filled with compassionate volunteers who want to ensure that “No Kid Sleeps on the Floor in our Town!” Sweeney recognizes the importance of a bed. It’s not just the aesthetics of a nicely decorated room. “A bed that you can call your own is something many of us take for granted.  Quality of sleep is directly correlated to quality of life,” says Sweeney. “When children do not get a good night’s sleep, it can often lead to poor performance at school and negatively impact their general well-being.” Poor sleep affects behavior and mental health: poor sleep can present as hyperactivity disorders as early as age five. In teens, 69% of depression diagnosis are also linked to poor sleep. Inadequate restful sleep can result in stunted growth, weakened immunity, and a struggle with memory and self-regulation. And without proper sleep, youths’ grades suffer. He adds, “And having your own bed is more than just a good night’s sleep. It’s where I went after school to do my homework. It’s where I’d read books and play with my siblings. Having your own bed means having your own personal space.”  Child bedlessness is more common and severe than you may think Roughly 3% of children in the U.S. have reported bedlessness. That’s more than 2.3 million kids on record who are sleeping on chairs, couches, and piles of clothes on the floor. In Durham, SHP has a waitlist several months long.  “The need is greater than any of us realize. The children who receive their new beds from SHP have often never had their own bed before. If they were lucky, they had a mattress on the floor,” Sweeney says. As the pandemic reached America, the organization had to stop accepting requests and put the current waitlist on a longer hold. This was particularly challenging because many breadwinners lost their jobs.  The fledgling nonprofit had just gained funding and momentum in 2019. During the pandemic, operations came to a halt just as members began to understand the severity of need in Durham. Yardi + Sleep in Heavenly Peace Durham: building more beds in 2021 It’s been challenging, but Sweeney and his chapter are back at building beds. They mostly work outside and vaccinated members have resumed deliveries. Yardi is a proud sponsor of SHP Durham. “We use the money to buy lumber, mattresses and other materials to make the beds from scratch,” explains Sweeney. “Luckily, we receive many new bedding components through donations, but when needed,...

Assisting Trafficking Survivors May13

Assisting Trafficking Survivors

The skills learned at Yardi can better prepare team members for challenging roles outside of the office. Jacqueline McGuan has used her leadership skills to help transform the lives of women and children impacted by human trafficking. She is part of an ongoing effort to eradicate human trafficking in Santa Barbara county through awareness, education and advocacy.  Working with Yardi On weekdays, McGuan is a marketing specialist on the RentCafe Reach team. “We work with RENTCafé clients to provide them with SEO (search engine optimization), PPC (pay per click advertising), social media or reputation management services,” she explains. It’s a role that hones her leadership skills and her ability to quickly adapt to change. “Keeping up with all of the changes at Google is one of our biggest challenges,” says McGuan. “Google updates their algorithm almost daily, so staying on top of best practices is basically a job in itself.” But the hard work pays off when McGuan and her team forge strong relationships with clients and help them execute successful digital marketing campaigns. “It’s the best feeling to see clients succeed,” she says. “Yardi is such a friendly and collaborative workplace with team members who are dedicated to client success.” That dedicated spirit is part of why McGuan enjoys being a leader at Yardi. “I was looking for an opportunity to work on a team with hardworking, motivated individuals. I found that on the Reach team. We all have our separate clients but as a team we work together in such a cohesive way. We’re all constantly learning from each other and really growing as digital marketing professionals.” Jacqueline McGuan Junior League of Santa Barbara: Awareness, education and advocacy Outside of her work, McGuan values dedication and collaboration as well. Nearly six years ago, she discovered Junior League of Santa Barbara (JLSB). The women’s organization improves the lives of at-risk women by educating and empowering them to reach their full potential. McGuan appreciated how the organization unites diverse volunteers who want to dedicate themselves to serving vulnerable populations. “In the same way I found a dedicated, collaborative team at Yardi, I’ve found that community within the JLSB that hits those same notes. I’m truly grateful for the JLSB for connecting me with a community of like-minded women, all who value voluntarism and work to improve their Santa Barbara community,” says McGuan. “Through Junior League, I’ve learned important lessons about balancing my time, but also stepping out of my comfort zone to take on more responsibilities at work and in the JLSB,” reflects McGuan. “From a technical standpoint, I’ve been able to step into leadership roles with the JLSB that have helped me develop communication and organizational skills that enable me to work successfully with Yardi clients.” As a leader, McGuan has flourished. She served as chair on the recruitment and communications committees and recently as a member of the Board of Directors. During that time, McGuan spearheaded the opening of S.A.F.E. House Santa Barbara, the county’s first therapeutic rehabilitative shelter for children who are survivors of commercial sexual exploitation. She also assisted preventative programs such as TraffickSTOP, a community awareness campaign designed to help people recognize the signs of trafficking and how to properly support victims. Additionally, there are the annual Community Assistance Funds for local non-profits that improve the lives of at-risk children, youth and families in Santa Barbara. “As a League, we fundraise every year to make projects like these possible. Our major fundraising campaigns are our annual Rummage Sale and Spring Gala. Our new Raffle is coming up in May and it is a huge success with wine lovers,” says McGuan. The funds raised assist survivors of trafficking once they integrate back into their communities. McGuan recalls creating Fresh Start Bags for the Human Trafficking Task Force at the Santa Barbara District Attorneys’ office. The bags were filled with donated clothes, toiletries, snacks and other...

Opportunity Equity May03

Opportunity Equity

Investing in the wellbeing of girls and women is among the best choices that a country can make. According to the United States Agency for International Development, when 10 percent more girls go to school, a country’s GDP increases on average by 3 percent. Additionally, countries where women hold at least 30 percent of political seats are demonstrably more inclusive, egalitarian and democratic. The benefits of female-centered investments are also tactile. The United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization found that when equipping female farmers with the same access to land, tech, and capital as men, crop yields increased by as much as 30 percent. That 30 percent boost can reduce the number of hungry people by 150 million. Women’s advocacy has social and economic benefits. The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) department of Yardi Pune participates in many partner projects in socio-economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. Women and girls are the target beneficiaries of most projects. The initiatives reflect gender advocacy in the context of health, sanitation, education and income generation. BSSK + Yardi support higher education for girls Selecting a college and completing courses can be a tough choice. For many low-income families in Pune, financial struggles are exacerbated by social pressure. The Yardi Pune CSR and Bharatiya Samaj Seva Kendra (BSSK) collaboration results in scholarships for 40 girls who dare to pursue a college education. What sets BSSK apart from other scholarship programs is that it is structured to help girls overcome social pressures that would dissuade them from self-advocacy and education. The project implements programs to counter the family and community pressures girls often face. Their parents also sign an agreement that they will not hinder their daughter’s education. Once the agreement is in place and prior to college admission, the selected student receives an aptitude test and career counselling to help her select suitable courses. Scholarships then address admission fees and tuition so that she can focus on her education. “Most of these girls are first generation college graduates in their family and are challenging the regressive social norms in family and community through their hard work,” says Dipanwita Sengupta, senior executive, CSR at Yardi Pune. MASUM + Yardi demonstrate that supported girls support other girls The Yardi Pune and Mahila Sarvangeen Utkarsh Mandal (MASUM) collaboration explores the intersection of education, physical wellbeing and leadership. The program supports 35 girls and young women from 25 villages around Pune. “These villages have limited access to schools and colleges, and often regressive views on girls’ education and career development which are addressed through this fellowship program,” says Sengupta. Through the fellowship, participants receive guidance on their higher education plans. They are also given support and access to extracurricular activities such as outdoor sports. Since such practices are uncommon in their communities, the program counsels girls’ families on the benefits of education, physical fitness and team sports if required. During the program, participants are encouraged to develop their leadership skills. Recently, the 35 original participants learned volleyball. They then gathered about 150 girls from their respective villages for a volleyball competition. The event showcased the cascade effect of the program: supported girls support other girls. It was a fun and empowering event for all. Yardi empowers intermediaries for health and safety Yardi Pune CSR worked with local health officials to identify approximately 2,000 women from 226 slum pockets. Each woman demonstrated leadership potential, which was further developed as she stepped into intermediary roles between community and government. The women received education on how to help improve sanitation conditions of their locality. They then monitored the community toilets in their locality, met regularly to build community consensus for common decisions, and contacted elected representatives and officials for information and services. Through this process, many of them are developing their potential as community leaders. FPAI Pune + Yardi help to build healthier families Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) Pune and Yardi Pune CSR are working together to build...

Success Starts at Home Apr19

Success Starts at Home

The framework for learning starts before a student ever sits down at a desk. Stability in the family, a safe home and nutritious meals are the building blocks for learning. In Irving, Texas children battle the odds and graduate without all of the blocks. Irving Schools Foundation is helping them to succeed. Speaking for children who can’t speak up for themselves Crystal Scanio, the president and CEO of Irving Schools Foundation, has wanted to be a child advocate since she was a kid. Scanio grew up in Indonesia as an expat. She recalls neighborhoods of children who did not attend school because they could not afford uniforms. “I vividly remember driving through the village in our nice comfy school bus on our way to learn,” she reflects. “We’d see all the children sitting outside of their modest houses looking at us with such envy in their eyes.” “Even as a small child, I knew that this was not fair and education should be something that everyone has access to if they have the desire to learn,” she says. She later witnessed a woman holding her baby whose arms and legs were severely mangled. “My teacher told me that the mother did that to the baby because she knew that she could garner more money for her children from people driving by if she was standing on the side of the road with a baby that had broken limbs.” Scanio’s heart sank. “From that moment I knew that I wanted to serve in a capacity where I could be an advocate for children that couldn’t speak up for themselves.” After graduating college, Scanio intended to move to a developing nation and help children there. As she learned that American children also faced dire situations, she’d opted to stay Stateside. A circuitous path led her to Irving Schools Foundation where she has advocated for children since 2012. Bridging the gap In most school districts, there is a broad gap between what the District provide from tax dollars and what schools need. Many Districts have formed foundations to bridge that gap. The Irving Schools Foundation is one of the oldest in the US. It was established in 1985 when the demographics were quite different: back then, only 12% of students required free or reduced lunch. Today, it’s 100% of students. Serving a low-income, high-risk population comes with its fair share of challenges, but there are also uplifting surprises. “If you were to simply look at the demographics of our children or hear some of the stories that they share about their home lives– abuse, sex trafficking, drugs–one would assume that these kids would not excel at school,” observes Scanio. “However, our test scores are above state averages and our graduation rates are over 95%. It’s due to the fact that these children know that education is the key for them to get out of their situation,” she says. When Irving Schools Foundation began, its goal was to support teachers with additional training and supplies. The mission has grew to include college scholarships, but some kids never claimed them. They needed to stay home and care for younger siblings, or work to support their families. The program expanded again to include food security, housing, social and emotional health programs. “The results have been incredible to watch,” says Scanio. “Our students have flourished and our claim rate on our scholarships is now over 90%!” Adapting to changing needs during the pandemic The pandemic has had a major impact on the students of Irving District.  Many of them come from homes with an average income less than $25,000 per year. Many students already had jobs to help support their families, but during the pandemic others began searching for work. Still, students faced with food insecurity and homelessness on a regular basis. Many kids relied on the District for food during the week. When schools closed,...

More than Fashion Apr06

More than Fashion

Do you have an article of clothing that helps you feel good? Maybe it’s a pair of power pumps that sound just right on a marble floor. Maybe it’s the hoodie from your dad’s alma mater that feels like a warm hug when you wear. Clothing has transformative power. For better or for worse, clothing can influence our confidence and our success. Dress for Success Boston taps into the power of fashion. The nonprofit organization uses clothing as a stepping stone to improved self-confidence, success and financial independence for women. Meet Kim Todd, a woman empowering women Kim Todd is the executive director of Dress for Success Boston. She has served with the organization for 15 years because of its simple yet transformative mission: strive for a world where all women are financially independent, are treated with dignity and respect and are directly impacting their lives and those of their families. “We aspire to a world that fully harnesses the power of women and recognizes their role in economic sustainability,” quotes Todd. “The mission is so easy to relate to, and although it seems to be a simple idea, the results of this work are life-changing. I feel very strongly that women should support each other. Everyone needs help at some time in their lives.” She continues, “We are there for women at a time when they need support to take that next step. It breaks my heart that many women do not have any support system, and they are navigating tremendously difficult situations alone.  No woman should be alone, especially if she is struggling to make ends meet to support her family. Dress for Success Boston provides a network of support for women so that they are not alone.” Fashion can help break the poverty cycle? Todd believes that fashion,...

Stepping Up in Greater Chicago Mar30

Stepping Up in Greater Chicago

Sometimes the worst of times bring out the best in our efforts to help each other. That’s been the case at Connections for the Homeless, a non-profit organization in Evanston, Ill. that has delivered tremendous results over the last perilous year. “The three ribbons on our logo represent the three parts of our community that we partner with to do this work: our staff, our participants and our community supporters,” said Betty Bogg, Executive Director of Connections since 2015. “We see ourselves as the scaffolding by which community intentions for improvement can be constructed. We are there to help the community solve this problem.” Prior to the pandemic, Connections operated a tightly packed space in an Evanston church basement that sheltered a maximum of 18 male-identifying clients, on any given night. The agency also offered drop-in services to help engage community members experiencing homelessness ­­via – sack lunches, showers, a clothing closet, and nursing care – in an effort  to gradually build trust and rapport with participants who might ultimately be ready for housing assistance. “Even before lockdowns started, we were already discussing how we might respond (to the pandemic),” recalled Bogg, who is the sister of Yardi’s Nancy Bogg. “We knew we needed many more shelter beds. When Illinois’ shelter in place order went into effect, we didn’t know how we would do it or pay for it, but we decided we were going to put people with no place to go, into hotels for shelter.” Funding and finding, a path forward What happened next is a classic “if you build it, they will come” tale. In January 2020, Connections expected that its operating budget would be around $5.5 million, and it would again serve around 1,400 people with the help of 1,200 volunteers as they did in 2019. As for so many industries and non-profits worldwide, the pandemic changed everything. “We began our plan to place people in hotels, still not knowing how we were going to pay for it,” recalled Bogg. “We had about 100 people that we’d gotten off the street and into hotel rooms. And then we experienced a second wave of people in need of support who had been completely off our radar. People began coming to us who had previously been very precariously housed.” They included relatives of nursing home residents, who had been able to bed down on a relative’s couch or cot while helping to provide care. Another group was families who had been packed into shared small apartments with other families and found themselves pushed out due to COVID concerns. And there were those unusual but unforgettable stories like one cancer patient, who spent her entire life between chemo treatments on Chicago-area transit systems. “Her nurse told us that they could not believe the difference they saw in her health, as soon as she began getting three meals a day and sleeping in a bed every night,” recalled Bogg. She saw the experiences of those Connections helped firsthand, as for five months, she chose to live during the week at the same hotel where Connections provided 200 rooms of comprehensive emergency housing. They also provided three meals a day, which were purchased from local restaurants, pushing money back out into the local economy at a time when it was badly needed. Funding for hotel operations was made possible by support from private companies and individuals, including Yardi, who stepped up to help. Additional staffing was also a must, and Connections added 30 people to its team. Ultimately, the non-profit’s 2020 operating budget ended up being $12 million, more than doubling expectations. “Yardi had supported us with small donations in the past, but we were really surprised when suddenly that support increased substaintially right when we didn’t know how we were going to fund all that we were trying to do. The community response was incredibly inspiring,” Bogg said. Private...

COVID-19 Rental Housing Support Initiative Mar25

COVID-19 Rental Housing Support Initiative

Supporting the rental housing sector through the pandemic and beyond is a priority for the industry’s preeminent technology provider. Yardi is the primary sponsor of the COVID-19 Rental Housing Support Initiative. The project is a collaboration of The Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), National Apartment Association (NAA), National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) and National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM). The project continues to release new resources in the areas of mental health, legislative support, liability information and media. A summary of those now available (as of March 25) follows: Mental health resources: Mental health resources can help housing providers and renters alike. Find videos and other content on coping with isolation, cultivating resiliency, managing anxiety and handling financial stress. Legislative support: Accurate data and information is important for decision-makers as they facilitate ongoing emergency assistance programs. These resources help leaders understand the size and impact of the rental housing sector. Legislative educational resources are now available. Liability information: Property owners and operators must keep up with the latest laws and federal guidelines as they pertain to housing. The project liability resources help ensure compliance with changing legislation. Media support: The engaging “Rental Housing Industry Myth Quiz” is a way to educate the public and provide details about the pandemic impact for rental housing industry owners and operators. In mid-2020, Yardi committed $1 million to supporting COVID-19 Rental Housing Support and the programs developed by this initiative. “With nearly 40 million Americans living in apartments, the rental housing industry plays a critical role in housing them safely and securely. We are delighted that the four major associations who serve the rental housing industry – NAA, NMHC, IREM, NARPM – will share knowledge, develop industry benchmarks, research new ways of operating and provide forward-thinking solutions for the benefit of residents, owners and the rental housing industry,” said Anant Yardi, president and founder of Yardi. “Yardi is committed to supporting the multifamily industry for the duration of the pandemic,” said Esther Bonardi, vice president of marketing at Yardi. “Our company mission is dedicated to supporting our clients and communities, and in this case the entire rental housing realm is part of that community.” Explore all of the support resources online at covidinitiative.rentalhousingindustry.org....

Learning with Play Mar09

Learning with Play

Do you remember when learning was fun? So fun that you didn’t realize you were learning because it just felt like playtime? I grew up playing “mad scientist” with my older brother, replicating his school experiments in our kitchen. My neighborhood friends and I played Jurassic Park as we trekked through the woods exploring plants, insects, and animal tracks. Those days of childhood play are at risk for many of today’s kids. kidSTREAM is a non-profit dedicated to preserving the art of effortless learning through play. Yardi Oxnard team member Wendy Aceveda-Solis serves as a board member with kidSTREAM. I spoke with her to learn more about this innovative organization. kidSTREAM: education through play kidSTREAM is founded on the basic principle that learning should be fun and engaging. The organization provides an interactive environment where kids explore, play and discover. Each experience aims to inspire and empower kids to become critical thinkers, innovators and life-long learners. Acevedo-Solis began working with kidSTREAM two years ago. In addition to being a board member, she assists with the fundraising and programs committees. She’s passionate about museums and is excited to share interactive learning with children. “I’ve been fascinated by museums since I was a child,” she shares. “I have shared this passion with my children, and it is incredible to see the curiosity and desire to explore through their eyes! Most children’s museums are outside of Ventura County, so when I heard about kidSTREAM, I wanted to help bring something to our community.” Since becoming a nonprofit in 2016, kidSTREAM has helped to educate more than 30,000 children and families around Ventura County. The non-profit focuses on experiences in science, technology, reading, engineering, arts and math. A team of dedicated staff and volunteers host lessons where kids hang out the most: classrooms, parks, libraries and their (increasingly) their...

Santa Paula Pets Feb01

Santa Paula Pets

Pets can change us for the better. Pets offer companionship, humor and unconditional love. (Except for some cats, or maybe most cats, who love you quite selectively. But if you’ve ever known and loved a cat, their personalities are part of the charm!) Santa Paula Animal Resource Center (SPARC) is a nonprofit shelter that provides resources, progressive programs, and community education to rehabilitate and rehome abandoned and stray animals. SPARC’s efforts unite pets and pet lovers for long-lasting family bond. Join us as we learn more about SPARC’s innovative work from its president and CEO Tara Diller. What’s the big deal about pets? Pets are, in themselves, a pretty big deal. It’s their influence on communal wellbeing, however, that is making news. Decision makers including clinicians and city planners are realizing the benefits of pet care for the wellness of community members and communities. Homeowners seek neighborhoods with pet parks and services. The boost in desirability correlates to higher home prices and property taxes for local governments. In short, dog parks and other pet services help to sustain relative value in neighborhoods. Additionally, pets contribute to individual wellbeing: “Studies show that owning a pet improves one’s mental and emotional health and pet owners tend to have a greater sense of well-being and motivation knowing that their pet depends on them,” says Diller. SPARC celebrates the human-animal bond and aims to eliminate the barriers that hamper the advancement of companion animal welfare. Their efforts promote a future that considers all pets within the community, not just those who end up at a shelter. “We recognize the emotional, mental and physical benefits a pet brings,” says Diller. “SPARC is working towards keeping pets and people together and being part of a more robust system of support....

Dynamic Compassion

What do you do you’re the director of a school foundation and, suddenly, there is no school? You find yourself rapidly organizing to get meals and social services to kids in need. When schools open with remote learning, you pivot once again to get educational supplies and technology to families—even when there isn’t a one-to-one ratio for supplies. For Jill Henden and fellow members of Cherry Creek Schools Foundation (CCSF), the past year has been full of twists, turns and pivots. The organization has remained nimble in the face of change—and they need community to support Cherry Creek School District. Cherry Creek Schools district Henden established a relationship with Cherry Creek Schools district when her sons were just boys. Now, one is a graduate. “It’s been good to us. It’s been an incredibly experience for my sons, and I wanted to get more involved even though I don’t have a background in education,” she says. Nine years after joining the non-profit, Henden has overcome a learning curve that included countless acronyms, long meetings and navigating the complex relationship of local and federal funding. She happily serves the foundation as executive director. “It was definitely a learning curve,” she laughs. “I’ve worked with non-profits in the past, so I’m used to learning quickly as I go. I’ve been fortunate to work with incredible leaders. They’ve been phenomenal and I’ve learned so much from them.” Over the years, Henden has observed the intricacies of the Cherry Creek community and the nuances of serving a diverse group of students and their families. The community is more complex than many are led to believe: “Many people think we’re a wealthy suburban school district and we don’t struggle with the same problems as our neighbors,” she explains. “Nearly 30%...

Angela’s House

Even brief lives can leave a lasting impact. Baby Angela Policastro departed from this world shortly after her first birthday. Her life inspired the creation of a unique non-profit that supports medically frail children and their families. Yardi united efforts to support this groundbreaking organization. About Angela’s House Angela’s House is a not-for-profit agency that offers support and services for the families of medically fragile children. By coordinating an array of essential home care services, Angela’s House gives families an opportunity to focus on each other rather than finding, negotiating, funding and scheduling necessary resources. Home care services were only the beginning. Since 1992, the organization has expanding to include three residences. On average, the residences and home services serve 600 children each year. Programs cover medical supplies, therapeutic equipment, assistive technology, home modifications, respite, counseling and crisis assistance as well as special camps and other enrichment resources. These offerings are called the Everyday Wishes, providing for the everyday needs of kids as well as critical care. Angela’s House + Yardi The Angela’s House 3K Walk raises funds for the Everyday Wishes. Yardi has participated in the walk for the past three years. The 2020 Virtual 3K Walk theme, “At Your Place, Your Pace” encouraged participants to practice social distancing while supporting the organization. Patrons walked with their families, friends and neighbors to raise funds for the cause. CSD team leader Mark Skapinski and fellow planning committee members Sue LaGuardia, Joseph Montesano, and Cristine Gleason led the initiative at Yardi. #TeamYardi showed up in full force! In total, 31 Yardi employees participated in the walk, including eight from CSD. Different departments walked at different times, continuing support for the organization throughout the day. CSD team members walked with one another via Microsoft Teams video...

Sustaining Hope Dec16

Sustaining Hope

Dreams connect us with endless possibilities. They encourage us to step out on faith and believe that we can receive good from the world. For children with life-threatening conditions, dreams sustain hope and the will to live life to its fullest. Andrea Siracusa is the director of community relations with Dreams Come True in Jacksonville. For 11 years, she has witnessed the transformative impact of dreams fulfilled. The prospect of helping her community is what attracted her to the organization years ago. “I have always had a passion to give back to the community I grew up in,” she says. “I was driven by the knowledge that all my hard work and dedication was being applied toward providing services and support to those less fortunate in Northeast Florida.” After graduating with a degree in communications and public relations, she soon joined the organization because she felt connected to its vision. “I immediately feel in love with the mission to bring hope and joy to children and families stricken by life-threatening illnesses. To have the opportunity to share the stories of our dream children and find ways to connect our community to the mission, was a passion I developed immediately after stepping through the doors.” The power of a dream Dreams are more than just a trip, shopping adventure or bedroom makeover. They are often motivation for the children to keep hope alive when times seem unbearable. “For many of our dream children, the reality of a life-threatening illness can be very daunting. I have heard many stories of children who have given up on their treatments, but when the discussion of a dream trip was started a new light emerged. They now are focused on getting better and finishing the treatments that are before...

The Redwood Toronto Oct27

The Redwood Toronto

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month. We unite to support vulnerable members of the community and end domestic abuse through education, advocacy and service. At The Redwood, an emergency shelter for women and children fleeing abuse, every month is domestic violence awareness month. Even through the pandemic, the non-profit works tirelessly to ensure that women and children have the resources that they need to escape their abusers. The Redwood offers essential services for women who are courageously leaving abusive relationships. At the site, they receive emergency shelter, meals, crisis intervention, counseling, and educational services for children. They can also access employment assistance, legal advocacy and accompaniment to appointments like court dates where a woman may have to face her abuser. Abi Ajibolade is the Executive Director at The Redwood. She began with the organization 16 years ago after immigrating to Canada from Nigeria. Her compassion for women experiencing violence prompted her to join The Redwood, but it was the organization’s approach to its mission that made her stay. “The Redwood thinks beyond band-aid solutions and looks to make systemic changes in the community to end gender inequities that perpetuate violence against women,” she says. “The strategy hasn’t left me disappointed for a single day, since I joined. We live and breathe that vision, that mandate, and that’s what has kept me here.” Steps towards independence bring the greatest risks Women’s first steps toward freedom are far more perilous than the public and legislators often believe. “People think that once they leave an abusive household, everything is fine,” explains Ajibolade as she shakes her head. “That’s not true. Even the legal system thinks it’s true. It’s not. Leaving the home is a small step. In a way, it exposes her to additional risks.” “We’ve lost...