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...

Key KPI in LA Aug17

Key KPI in LA

Yardi is proud to support the community outreach of clients like the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA). Their non-profit Kids Progress, Inc. (KPI), supports social service programs that enhance quality of life and ensure long-term academic and economic success for residents in HACLA’s public housing developments. Founded in 2002, five core components of KPI’s work include the promotion of workforce development and lifelong learning, education and youth development, health and wellness, safety and security, and civic engagement. The KPI Scholarship program is designed to support the youth living in HACLA’s public housing developments who are heading to college. “We recognize that college is an important tool for financial and social mobility, not only for the youth themselves but for their families as well,” said Jennifer Thomas Arthurs, vice president of KPI and deputy assistant director of strategic initiatives for HACLA. “Yardi has been a long-time partner and supporter of HACLA with its software services as well as through the Section 3 program.” The scholarship program supports and celebrates graduating seniors from HACLA’s Section 8 program and public housing sites who are transitioning to college. This is the first year that Yardi funded scholarships for the program, providing scholarships for three rising college freshmen. The selected scholars, who all live in public housing, will be attending UC Merced, UC Irvine, and Cal Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.  Students selected for awards must have a minimum of 2.5 GPA, be active in community service and enrichment activities and submit letters of recommendation as well as essays. The program provides a one-time scholarship to high school seniors who are going to attend either trade/vocational school, 2-year colleges and 4-year colleges. Since 2013, the program has awarded a total of $172,000 in scholarship...

Live Yes! Jul21

Live Yes!

When you live in chronic pain, saying “yes” to events and activities is a difficult choice. For people living with arthritis, it can be a constant struggle to stay fit, social, and optimistic when discomfort impacts your every move. Fortunately, there is the Arthritis Foundation. The Atlanta-based nonprofit helps people living with one of 100 arthritis conditions find the relief and hope needed to Live Yes. Arthritis Foundation + Yardi The Arthritis Foundation serves on two levels. Primarily, the organization pursues cures and enhanced treatments for the disease. Additionally, it provides a network of information and resources to support the 50 million adults and 300,000 children living with arthritis. Clients can access in-person and online tools that are aimed to empower, uplift, and promote a sense of community. Marilyn Hansen, software development engineer III, development at Yardi has been involved with the Arthritis Foundation for about 20 years. She got involved when a loved one was diagnosed with the illness at a relatively young age. “I have an adult daughter who has had to deal with rheumatoid arthritis for over 30 years. She’s had multiple surgeries to help relieve the pain. There have been tough times, but resources through the Arthritis Foundation have helped her live a fulfilling life. She got married this past December and my husband and I really like our new son-in-law!” shared Hansen. Hansen advocates for the cause in Sacramento and participates in the annual Taste of the Town and Arthritis Walk in Santa Barbara. During a typical year, Hansen organizes a team of Yardi team members to complete the walk and raise funds. She also helps with food prep for the events. But this year has been year of unprecedented change, forcing Hansen and the Arthritis Foundation to get...

Meeting the Need

Yardi Vasti Vikas Prakalp (YVVP), Yardi’s dedicated corporate social responsibility project in Pune, India, supports NGOs and implements direct interventions in urban communities (vastis) of Pune city. As the global COVID-19 pandemic has impacted India severely, YVVP has pivoted to help. Normal field visits to the vastis halted when a lockdown to prevent COVID-19 spread began in late March. The CSR team switched to using virtual platforms to stay connected with beneficiaries and stakeholders, to understand the situation on the ground and address unprecedented issues. This has presented various challenges. Many vasti residents do not have smart phones, internet access or resources to recharge phones. “Lockdown restrictions in congested spaces combined with loss of jobs have created high levels of fear, anxiety and frustrations among family members, in addition to hunger,” said Bharati Kotwal, head of CSR at Yardi Pune. “Our stakeholders in vastis, such as community mobilizers, sanitation committee members and youth leaders have helped us to identify the neediest families and do what we could to relieve some of the distress.” Aiding with sanitation and sustenance needs YVVP has provided relief to vasti residents in two significant ways during lockdown: Provided dry ration kits (food and grocery items) to families identified through the YVVP field team and NGO partners. Supplied masks, sanitizer and sanitary pads to those isolated in shelters located in municipal schools. “We provided dry ration kits to over 2800 households in three months through NGOs or by procuring items directly and distributing them ourselves,” Kotwal said. “Though NGOs, foundations, individuals and Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) were providing similar help, we could reach those who were left out because of our connections in the vastis.” Keeping community toilets clean and functional is one of the largest efforts of YVVP. The...

Cycling Without Age Jun10

Cycling Without Age

No one would have been surprised if it had all gone downhill. As shelter-in-place and social distancing measures hit California, a nonprofit focused on social interaction and time outdoors for seniors was unlikely to emerge unscathed. But where there is a will, there is a way. John Seigel-Boettner found a way. Leaning in to change Cycling Without Age is a Denmark-based organization that uses cycling as a cure for feelings of loneliness, alienation and depression amongst the elderly. Bikers, known as pilots, take seniors on two-hour rides through local neighborhoods. It’s an opportunity for the passengers to enjoy the outdoors, socialize and make new friends even when they’re nonverbal. As the new year began, the Santa Barbara chapter of Cycling Without Age experienced a surge in support and resources. Founder Seigel-Boettner built a relationship with eight senior centers that he and his pilots visited twice a week. He had just received two new tri-shaws–custom rickshaws with bucket seats and an electric motor —and trained 25 new pilots. With these resources, Cycling Without Age was prepared to make an even greater impact among Santa Barbara’s 17,000 senior citizens. “But the day that the bikes showed up is the day that we got locked down,” recalls Seigel-Boettner. Protocols set in place by Governor Newsom aimed to protect vulnerable populations from exposure to COVID-19. The unfortunate side effect was the increased loneliness, alienation and depression amongst seniors. “We were scratching our heads. We can’t pilot because we can’t get in the doors. Families can’t even get in the doors,” says Seigel-Boettner. Cycling Without Age came to a grinding halt. Seigel-Boettner and his team paused to take in the news, and them immediately sought new ways to serve the elderly. Getting creative, providing hope Seigel-Boettner began to brainstorm...

Making Dreams Possible...

Many of us have done it. In conversation with a small child, we casually ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” But how often do we make sure that child has what they need to succeed? When Samuel J. Ashe II looked around his community, he saw a deficit in educational resources specifically in the areas of math, fine arts and the sciences. As an active mentor, he wanted to support the big dreams of the neighborhood kids, but he couldn’t do it alone. Fortunately, his family and the community stepped in to help. Bringing people to the forefront of business After graduating with his MBA, Ashe joined Yardi as a marketing specialist with the RENTCafe Reach Team. “I have clients all over the country. I manage their digital marketing needs including but not limited to SEO, PPC, and social media management,” he says. Ashe joined Yardi because its corporate culture didn’t feel corporate at all. “Yardi is very people-focused and collaborative,” he says. “We have so many departments, yet I still feel like one big team as we all collaborate to provide superior customer services.” “From day one, I noticed this was a nurturing environment,” adds Ashe. “There was a great deal of energy put into the development of employees, as many of my first days were spent training online in Aspire. That was a breath of fresh air compared to a past of ‘figure it out’ job trainings. Over time, there have been more opportunities to improve upon my already solidified strengths and certifications coursework.” The Ashe Arts & STEM Academy: Representation matters Yardi’s focus on employee development resonated with Ashe, who is the Executive Director of The Ashe Arts & STEM Academy. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit supports the...

Stepping Up Jun01

Stepping Up

(Part three of a three-part series highlighting the efforts of food banks during COVID-19. Read about food bank efforts in Santa Barbara and Raleigh.) Always a supporter of the communities in which its offices are located, during the last three months Yardi has committed funds for hunger relief services across North America. This week, the real estate software leader announced a second round of donations for the food banks it supported in March. (Read previous blogs on the Santa Barbara County and Raleigh food banks.) An example of one outreach was a grant to the Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB). “I know what a big difference this will make in so many lives locally,” says Don Rogers, general manager for Yardi Atlanta. Ben Burgess, ACFB corporate relations manager, received the donation from Yardi. “I’m speechless. This is the kind of overwhelming generosity that makes me love what I do and working with companies like yours,” Burgess said. From bad to better beyond expectations In early March, ACFB relocated to a new office. When COVID-19 business closures hit, the organization was still trying to acclimate to its new environment. “Most of us were still figuring out where all the light switches were and which printers were ours when this hit,” says Burgess. “We immediately lost our biggest fundraiser, the annual Hunger Walk/Run 5K and our annual Golf Tournament.” As consumers stocked up on supplies to shelter in place, retail stores became overwhelmed. Empty shelves left little to donate to the food bank. “Retail store donations represent round 1/3 of our food inventory which was just .. gone. We were bracing for the worst,” says Burgess. But in the midst of that anxiety came unexpected support for ACFB from the local community. “People stepped up to support us from all over the place. Businesses, non-profits, individuals, everyone. We know for certain that at least 30 people have donated the entirety of their stimulus check to help those who need it right now,” Burgess said. Volunteers, a crucial component of most food banks’ operations, couldn’t come in due to social distancing requirements. But an alternative source of help stepped in. “We typically host over 125,000 volunteer hours per year – but the state gave us 50 National Guard service members to help fill that role five days a week. It’s been an overwhelming thing to see,” Burgess said. We are in this together As a result of the community outpouring, ACFB has been able to meet the demand for emergency aid in the community. The organization has distributed over 7 million pounds of food in the last 30 days, including 4.1 million in the last two weeks. Every donation is needed. “In demand, we estimate an increase of more than 30% in the last 30 days which puts us at more than 1 million people who are food insecure in the metro Atlanta area right now,” reports Burgess. “We are humbled. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for your support!” says Burgess. Learn more about emergency relief efforts at ACFB: Join Yardi in donating to the Atlanta Community Food Bank....

Responding to Need May15

Responding to Need

(Part two of a three-part series. Read part one, on the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.) Always a supporter of the communities in which its offices are located, during the last three months Yardi has committed funds for hunger relief services across North America. This week, the real estate software leader announced a second round of donations for the food banks it supported in March. Among the 22 organizations is the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, which has seen a significant increase in the need for food supplies in the Raleigh/Durham metro area. Normally, Foodbank CENC would distribute around 7 million pounds of food a month. In March, they saw that number increase by nearly 1 million pounds, said Jennifer Caslin, its marketing and project manager. The food bank also had to dramatically increase spending to buy non-perishable items and prepare for the months to come. A normal outlay for one month of purchased food would be $55,000. In March, they spent $2 million, mainly to stock up on nonperishable items. “Prior to the crisis, we had 600,000 people in food insecure households in our area. We think that number has gone up by 200,000 to 250,000, and that’s probably a conservative estimate,” Caslin said. Adjusting to changing times Without access to some of normal resources, like a steady supply of community volunteers and consistent donation stream from local grocery stores, the Foodbank CENC has pivoted – like almost all businesses and non-profits nationwide – to adjust workflows and best practices and continue serving as many people as possible. To help children who might usually receive a free breakfast and lunch during the school day, they worked to supply school sites with adequate supplies for grab-and-go lunches and snacks as well as...

Continued Support May14

Continued Support

(Part one of a three-part series highlighting the efforts of food banks during COVID-19.) If there is a silver lining in any crisis, it could be that we have the chance to better prepare for the next emergency to come. In Yardi’s hometown of Santa Barbara, that has been the case for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County (FSBC), which used the lessons of the devastating Thomas Fire and Montecito mudslides of 2017-2018 to create a comprehensive disaster feeding plan. It includes widespread cooperative response from local agencies, nonprofits and medical resources, as well as ways to ramp up supply quickly and get food directly to people at home. That plan has come into play in a major way over the last three months, as the Foodbank saw its demand and food outlay double simultaneously nearly overnight due to the impacts of COVID-19. Always a supporter of the communities in which its offices are located, including during the Thomas Fire, during the last three months Yardi has committed funds for hunger relief services across North America. This week, the real estate software leader announced a second round of donations for the food banks it supported in March. “We are pleased to be able to provide another round of funding to food banks across North America that are doing such crucial and outstanding work during this time, including right here in our hometown of Santa Barbara,” said Sally Parks, vice president of human resources at Yardi. We recently caught up with Judith Smith-Meyer, marketing and communications manager for the FSBC, to learn how the organization is responding daily on a local level to the current crisis. “We worked really hard in the development of this disaster feeding plan to make sure we had strong relationships at every level to be ready. But because that plan was in place, our partners that we had been working with came forward right away. It’s not easy, but we had a plan, and it’s working,” Smith-Meyer said. By the numbers The FSBC provided food to 85,000 individuals during the first quarter of 2020, compared to 57,000 for the same period in 2019 and 37,000 in 2018. As of May 10, it had distributed 3 million pounds of food since March 9, with half of that fresh produce. Normally, in a full year FSBC would distribute around 10 million pounds. “To distribute 3 million pounds of food in two months is unprecedented compared to any kind of disaster we have encountered,” Smith-Meyer said. Luckily, supply channels and donations have so far been able to keep up with the enhanced demand. “We have been making use of all of the pathways that we know of to source food. We have great ongoing relationships with farmers and growers across the county, as well as local businesses who have seen the need and donated during this time,” Smith-Meyer said. They have also received financial support from companies like Yardi that enables the purchase of additional supplies, typically at pennies on the dollar compared to normal retail cost. Adapting to the times With the shelter-in-place orders and social distance requirements, FSBC quickly adapted to conduct food pickup and distribution safely. The organization relies on volunteers and is thrilled that citizens who are able have continued to donate their time. “We lost a lot of volunteers because seniors have had to stay home, but it’s really beautiful to see all the people who are out of work right now and want to come out and help. We’ve had a lot of people volunteering because they were receiving services for the first time and wanted to give something back in return,” Smith-Meyer said. Their efforts have been supplemented by a unit of 20 National Guard troops who were assigned to FSBC in March and have now had their service extended through the end of May. They have been vital in making at...

A Mission in Action

When a company’s mission statement is pulled from the page and implemented in daily life, it can transform the world. Grubb Properties’ vision statement encourages “working together to enhance life and community.” To fulfill that mission, Grubb Properties has teamed up with Habitat for Humanity. Together, they enhance life and community by building homes for those in need. In 2018, the North Carolina-based property manager and developer committed to build one Habitat home per year for ten years. Each home is built in cities where Grubb Properties has a presence. Grubb Properties, Yardi + Habitat for Humanity unite The 2018 build took place in Winston-Salem, NC followed by a 2019 build in Greenville, SC. Shawn Cardner, executive vice president, multifamily operations and information technology at Grubb Properties participated in the Greenville build. He was joined by Yardi team members Paul Yount, industry principal, sales and Jim Hill, director of consulting practices. “Paul and Jim were instrumental in garnering support from Yardi. We are incredibly thankful for Yardi’s financial contribution. To be honest, though, even more impactful was the commitment of time, energy, and travel that Yardi team members made to participate,” says Cardner. Habitat schedules several build days for a given house project. Each day requires at least 20 volunteers for framing, roofing, finishes, landscaping and more. To assist Grubb Properties volunteers, several Yardi employees made the three-to-four-hour drive from Raleigh to Greenville. In addition to Hill and Yount, Yardi volunteers included Zach Smith, Edward McNamee, Terry Judd, and Lucas Bader. “On top of the long drive, they then spent seven hours on the jobsite with temperatures near 100 degrees. It’s one thing to write a check and then tell people how charitable you are. It’s a much more impactful statement when you contribute your time, energy, blood and sweat for something. We’re thankful that Yardi contributed in both ways!” says Cardner. The heart of giving “We all felt a sense of accomplishment at the end. We started from an empty concrete slab and ended the day with all of the interior and exterior walls built and external sheathing attached as well,” reflects Hill. “We enjoyed spending the day with the Grubb team, the Habitat sponsor family and Habitat volunteers.  We all worked as a team. Seeing the finished job was pretty amazing.” Cardner adds, “As a member of our executive team, I’m just thrilled at the way all our employees, communities, and partners come together to work on a shared project. Grubb employees volunteered 368 hours on that build. Our employees also donated $7,055 to it which is just over 10% of the total amount raised through partner sponsorships. I’m incredibly proud to work with such incredibly generous and thoughtful people.” Grubb + Yardi, beyond the software The relationship between Grubb Properties and Yardi began as any B2B relationship would. Yardi provided a service and Grubb paid for it. But over the years, the relationship developed into a mutually supportive partnership. “Folks like Jim, Paul and Stephen Witek have worked tirelessly to develop the partnership that we have today. I don’t use the word partnership lightly. I know Yardi believes that the best way for it to succeed is to help companies like us succeed.” Hill adds, “At Yardi, nurturing client relationships is paramount. Additionally, Yardi is blessed to have the encouragement of Anant Yardi to support local philanthropic projects in the communities where we live. The local impact in our neighborhoods adds a level of personal pride at working at Yardi and in helping our clients and communities at the same time.” Continuing the good work “In the end, the best way to describe Grubb Properties’ stance on philanthropy is just to say it’s who we are,” explains Cardner. “It’s what our leadership believes in. It’s what our employees believe in. It’s even a characteristic of the residents we try to attract to our properties. We want to...

Supporting Communities Apr25

Supporting Communities

Even during difficult times, Yardi’s corporate motto “Take care of our clients, take care of our employees, take care of our communities, stay focused, and grow” remains true. In March, Yardi announced that the Santa Barbara-based global technology company would commit $2 million to assist food banks and other non-profit organizations throughout North America during the COVID-19 pandemic. The efforts continue a longstanding tradition by the company’s philanthropic foundation to reach out and help during times of extreme need nationally and worldwide, such as fires, hurricanes and other natural disasters. With a heightened demand for food resources nationwide, Yardi is now announcing the 22 food banks – 19 in the U.S., and three in Canada – that are receiving funds. “These food banks are doing critical work in their communities to ensure that children and families do not go without sustenance during this crisis,” said Sally Parks, vice president of human resources at Yardi. “We are pleased to be able to support their efforts and support many of the communities where our North American offices are located.” In its hometown of Santa Barbara, Yardi has also made a significant contribution to the United Way of Santa Barbara County, which is providing grants to individuals disproportionately impacted by novel coronavirus and the economic consequences of the pandemic. The food banks receiving funds are: Atlanta Community Food Bank – Atlanta, GA Central Texas Food Bank – Austin, TX The Idaho Foodbank – Boise, ID Greater Boston Foodbank – Boston, MA Greater Cleveland Food Bank – Cleveland, OH Care and Share Foodbank – Colorado Springs, CO North Texas Food Bank – Dallas, TX Minnie’s Food Pantry – Dallas, TX Food Bank of the Rockies – Denver, CO Long Island Cares, Inc. – Long Island, NY Second Harvest Heartland – St. Paul, MN City Harvest – New York City, NY FOOD Share – Oxnard, CA Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC – Raleigh, NC Food Bank of Northern Nevada – Reno, NV Utah Food Bank – Salt Lake City, UT Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County – Orange County, CA Foodbank of Santa Barbara County – Santa Barbara, CA Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Daily Bread Food Bank – Toronto, Ontario Neighbour to Neighbour – Hamilton, Ontario St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance – Phoenix, AZ ** Find COVID-19 support, including ongoing software training opportunities, for Yardi clients on our resources...

Health and Wellness: Afya Mar12

Health and Wellness: Afya

Imagine that you are a skilled physician. You’ve taken a month off work to volunteer at a clinic in Tanzania. Upon arrival to the clinic, you immediately encounter families in need of medical care: inflections, malaria, injuries and deadly viruses. You expect that the clinic staff will point you towards the supplies that you need to begin working, but there are no supplies. The shelves are empty. Nothing. You have the skills to help but without supplies, you feel powerless. Danielle Butin encountered one such physician on her trip several years ago. She found the physician crying in a tent, frustrated at the situation and sad for the suffering that she could not alleviate. Butin sat with the physician, one arm draped across the crying woman’s shoulders. Skilled practitioners need supplies to do their best work. The concept for Afya began to brew Butin’s mind. From New York to the Serengeti At the time, Butin was an executive with a Fortune 500 company. When her work with the health care corporation was complete, she found herself at the threshold of a new frontier. The physician’s story proved unshakeable, and Butin began researching ways that she could help. She knew there was a regulation-driven surplus of medical supplies in hospital basements and storage rooms. It was standard practice for unused medical supplies to end up in landfills. How could so much waste continue when there is such need for supplies all over the world? Butin planned how she could intercept those unused supplies before they made it to the dump. She could then divert the resources to places like Tanzania. Butin cold called hospitals to learn about their discarded materials. Bewildered hospital staff guided her through storage areas to see possible donations. Butin readily accepted whatever was available, though she had no way of storing the materials or transporting them to their ultimate destinations at the time. At one point, a semi-trailer of supplies sat in front of her home for weeks. In 2007, Afya (which means “health” or “wellness” in Swahili) took shape. Butin secured storage for donated goods and coordinated logistics. She established relationships with medical centers in New York where she could receive a more consistent source of discarded supplies. The work continues to grow and change lives around the world. Saving seniors in Puerto Rico  Afya currently operates in 83 countries. The nonprofit has diverted $36 million-worth of supplies from the greater New York waste streams into the hands of clinicians and volunteers who use the resources to save lives. Though no longer in the for-profit sector, Butin has transferred several of her corporate values into her work. “I’ve learned to be accountable and hold others accountable. In nonprofits, there tends to be a much looser structure. Accountability is, in many cases, not a clearly defined construct. As the leader for a nonprofit, our accountability is vitally important,” says Butin. She adds, “My previous work also taught me the importance of truth-telling. A vital piece is being honest about experiences, being honest with partners and donors. They appreciate transparency, even when it’s not the best news.” Unlike a large, for-profit corporation, the non-profit sector has afforded Butin a considerable amount of agility. Her organization has been able to quickly respond to disasters without weaving through red tape and extensive protocols. That agility enabled Afya to work extensively in Puerto Rico immediately after Hurricane Maria and the first earthquake to hit the island in January 2020. “After Hurricane Maria in 2017, we did an enormous amount of relief work in Puerto Rico,” says Butin. “We partnered with Acción Social. We love them. So when the earth started shaking there this year, we went back to figure out how we can be helpful. We began our work with seniors.” The Afya team arrived to Puerto Rico to find seniors sleeping in the streets and under bushes. Though the...

My Furniture Bank Canada Mar03

My Furniture Bank Canada...

S.W. was happy to move her family into a new Ontario apartment. Within a few nights, however, she noticed red sores on her children followed by sickness. “The new building had bed bugs,” she sighed. “We all got sick. The landlord fumigated, but we had to throw out all of our furniture. It took me years to collect all that furniture and it was gone in one shot.” Fortunately,  My Furniture Bank had beds available. My Furniture Bank, formerly known as Mississauga Furniture Bank, provides emergency and transitional relief furniture for families. The nonprofit recycles new and gently used home furnishes and distributes them to people in need. Recipients include those transitioning from homelessness, emancipated youth, refugees, impoverished families, seniors, individuals escaping domestic violence, the medically disabled, as well as people who have lost their possessions due to natural disaster and personal tragedy. “Because of My Furniture Bank, I was lucky to get beds for my family quickly!” S.W. says. Family, furniture + history This year marks the 10th anniversary of My Furniture Bank. Kathryn Palangio, executive director, has been with the nonprofit for nine of its ten-year history. She is excited to guide the organization into a future of expanded services for happier, healthier communities. She says, “I was personally inspired by my Dad who has spent the better part of his life repairing and refurbishing home furniture for those who could not.  He would never let a good piece of furniture be sent to the landfill if it could be revitalized.  Once he had it looking great, he would then find it a home working through the St. Vincent de Paul Society and his church.” Palangio continues, “Years ago, when I was looking for a volunteer opportunity, I found myself drawn to...

Giving Back in Toronto Feb09

Giving Back in Toronto

Employees from Yardi Canada’s Toronto office recently gave their time to spent a weekend day creating winter survival kits for regional non-profits. The Project Winter Survival kit assembly and donation day is organized by Engage and Change, a charity created to foster good citizenship and encourage healthy communities through giving back. This year, over 3,000 winter survival kits were distributed to over 240 front-line social service agencies and shelters in the greater Toronto area, including the Salvation Army, Street Health, Margaret’s, Covenant House, Out of the Cold and many more. “As it was my first event in Canada to help the people in need for basic and hygiene supplies, it was definitely a memorable and pleasant experience for me,” said Bharti Shisode, senior technical analyst in the Toronto office. “We turned the task into a fun competition between two teams to get the most kits completed.” “This event is a reminder to be grateful for everything we have in our lives,” said Susan Diano, CSD team lead in the Toronto office.  “For the second year in a row there was a snowstorm on the day of the event, and I don’t think that is a coincidence.  This event reminds us that even if we are in a rough season of our life, that it could be much worse and at least we have a roof over our head and food on our table.” “This was an amazing and great experience to be a part of Project Winter Survival. For me, the most rewarding part was the sense of satisfaction in making a valuable and positive contribution to the community that we live in,” said Karthik Attavar, associate technical account manager in the Toronto office. “The very fact that we had a snowstorm on the day of the event shows how harsh a cold weather can be if you are on the streets and how difficult it is to survive out there without the basic necessities of life. The kits included items like hygiene supplies, warm dry socks, hats, scarves, gloves, sleeping bags, hand warmers, bottled water, towels and snacks. There are over 9,200 people in Toronto who are homeless on any given night, affording to fredvictor.org Yardi is Energized for good. Read more about our employee volunteerism and corporate social responsibility efforts on our Giving page....

Aid for Australia as Fires Continue

As Australia continues to fight and recover from the worst fire season the country has ever seen, Yardi has donated to two important Australian organizations to support relief and recovery efforts. The California-based real estate technology leader, no stranger to the frequent wildfires that have taken place near its corporate headquarters, has offices in Sydney and Melbourne. “We’ve been shocked and saddened by the devastation caused to communities, wildlife and individuals that have lost their homes and lives in the fires in Australia,” said Neal Gemassmer, vice president of international for Yardi. “Supporting our communities, and those effected by disasters has been an important part of Yardi’s philosophy of giving back.” The company has made a $250,000 donation, split evenly between two critical agencies in New South Wales and Victoria. To date, the two coastal southeastern states have suffered 16 million acres of land burned, 2,500 homes lost and 33 fatalities. It is also estimated that hundreds of millions of wild animals have either perished or lost critical habitat. The New South Wales Rural Fire Service is the largest volunteer firefighting organization in the world. Its volunteers provide fire and emergency services to approximately 95 percent of New South Wales (NSW). Over 2,000 volunteer brigades provide firefighting coverage for 108 local governments in NSW, and over than 1,000 firefighters are battling 60 ongoing fires. “The NSW RFS acknowledges the support of many kind organisations, big and small, as well as community groups, schools and individuals who have contributed to support the work of our volunteers across NSW,” the organization said in a statement. More information about ways to help the volunteer firefighters and fire victims is available on their website. The Victorian Country Fire Authority Bushfire Appeal is a government-administered fund that will distribute 100 percent of donations directly to those affected by the fires. The intent is to provide practical support as impacted Victorians begin to rebuild their lives. An Advisory Panel, chaired by former Victorian Deputy Premier Pat McNamara, will consider applications and recommend where funds will be distributed. Donations are tax deductible and can be made online. Fire and disaster relief has been a longstanding part of Yardi’s corporate philanthropic program. In recent years the company supported recovery efforts from the Thomas Fire in Southern California, the Fort McMurray wildfire in Canada, Hurricane Irma in Florida and Hurricane Harvey in Texas. The company also contributed to mobile disaster response command centers in its hometown of Santa Barbara. To learn more about all of the philanthropic efforts and employee volunteerism at Yardi offices around the world, check out the Giving...

Ray of Hope Jan27

Ray of Hope

Rick M. was starting to lose his eyesight. His optometrist missed the glaring signs of glaucoma. As a result, Rick was completely blind in one eye within two months of his appointment. The visual acuity in his other eye measures 20/60. The quick onset of the condition radically transformed his life. Rick, a university-educated and independent young man, was forced to quit his job at a major greeting card company. For several years, he was transferred between assisted care centers. He found The Lighthouse Supported Living 16 years ago. He has called it home ever since. No two clients at The Lighthouse are the same. Each person has a unique set of circumstances that have led to homelessness or poverty. To meet their singular needs, The Lighthouse offers a range of services to help clients obtain self-sufficiency whenever possible. About The Lighthouse The Lighthouse is more than an emergency shelter. It has evolved into a supported living and affordable housing provider that offers wellness services to people experiencing homelessness and poverty. Programming at The Lighthouse helps pursue achieve self-sufficiency, mental and physical health. Anna Pacik, fundraising and communications manager, was drawn to The Lighthouse because of its mission. “The mission of The Lighthouse is to take care of people holistically and help them to find a healthier, more positive path in life. I love this mission,” she explains. “The Lighthouse cares for people who are the hardest to keep safely housed.” These marginalized people may have mental health issues, intellectual and development disabilities, or “unseen disabilities” like FASD and head injuries. Clients also include trauma survivors who try to manage their pain with drugs and alcohol. Though each case is different, all are welcomed and treated with dignity. The non-profit organization aims to end...

Neuroscience in the Park Jan15

Neuroscience in the Park

The importance of childhood play has had anecdotal value for ages. In the 1960s, however, studies on rodents and brain development encouraged neuroscientists to formally explore the importance of play in childhood development. Their efforts have paved the way for programs like Start2Finish that improve childhood academic performance through physical activity. Acknowledging multi-dimensional complexity When it comes to academic success, literacy takes center stage. The ability to read improves academic performance in mathematics and other areas of study. But the benefits of education do not stop in the classroom. Multiple studies note the correlation between a nation’s literacy skills and the well-being of its inhabitants. Improving literacy depends on consistent exposure to literature. For Canada’s 1 million children living in poverty, exposure is inconsistent at best: limited access to libraries, few books at home, and single-parent households with tight resources are just a few contributing factors to childhood illiteracy. In public schools, governments fail to adequately and equally equip all school with resources. Teachers spend $143 million of their own money to buy reading materials for their students yet the gap remains. As a result, children living in poverty are about 4.5 times behind their peers in vocabulary development. The lack of literacy development then creates a snowball effect in other areas of study. A sedentary lifestyle adds to the complexity of children’s developmental hurdles. Children in low-income homes are twice as likely as children from middle class homes to live in a neighborhood where violence and drug-trafficking are everyday occurrences. Impoverished areas also have fewer parks. Neighborhood dangers and a lack of access to green spaces minimize youths’ exposure to natural environments and safe places to play. Low literacy and physical activity contribute to an under-stimulated hippocampus in children’s brains. Executive function, learning, and concentration are all adversely affected. Overcoming invisibility to promote change When playing for the Canadian Football League, Brian Warren would often participate in meet-and-greets with kids from area of complexity. The kids would watch a game, hear a few words of inspiration, receive an autographed ball, and then return home. Mr. Warren felt like it was not enough. He soon founded Start2Finish, a nonprofit organization that uses neuroscience techniques favored by athletic and business professionals to help children excel in school. Karen Pessoa-Warren, director of operations, explains the inspiration behind the organization. “Athletes get exclusive training in the connection between mind and body. Why couldn’t this work with the kid struggling in school and at home?” proposes Pessoa-Warren. “We find the kids are most vulnerable in the areas of executive control and focus, things athletes are trained in. We’ve married these very unlikely concepts, to stimulate the hippocampus with books and physical activity. A snowball effect then happens. Not only are they reading better, which even helps with math, but they’re better able to multi-task, stay focused, and manipulate thought.” Though the research was in place, it would take a change of perspective for the organization to succeed throughout the country. The Warrens first endeavoured to shine light on local childhood poverty, a topic that went largely unrecognized. “In Canada, people don’t think we have childhood poverty,” reflects Pessoa-Warren. “We don’t have an index for poverty, but one out of five kids live at or below the poverty line. We needed to let people know that poverty exists.” Secondly, they found themselves battling the notion that poverty and poor academic performance were character flaws rather than systemic problems. She adds, “We have a strong social net here, but kids still fall through. Without understanding of the data or the complexity surrounding their lives, people thought those who struggled in school weren’t bright or that it was a family issue.” Public education continues to be a part of the work at Start2Finish. Read, play, excel Children living in areas of complexity are facing an uphill battle. The team at Start2Finish has developed a creative plan...

Making History

Dorothy Day Place, owned and operated by Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, has made history. With 370 permanent supportive homes and 356 emergency and medical respite beds, it’s one of the largest affordable housing projects in the state. The project is also the largest public-private partnership involving housing in Minnesota history. Dorothy Day Place was made possible in part by a philanthropic collaboration between Catholic Charities and Yardi client, Dominium. New Phase, New Chapter in History Dorothy Day Place wasn’t planned as a record-breaking collaboration. With the first phase complete, Catholic Charities turned its attention to phase two in 2017. Leadership recognized that the ambitious second phase would benefit from the insight and expertise of an experienced developer. Catholic Charities contacted Dominium, one of the country’s largest affordable housing developers and a fellow Minnesota-based organization. The response of Paul Sween, managing partner of Dominium, took Catholic Charities by surprise. Sween offered to develop the second phase of Dorothy Day Place free of charge. Perhaps to Sween’s surprise, the initial request came from the bank. “We instinctively said ‘yes’ to helping with the project when our partner U.S. Bank asked us to do so simply because we knew how important it was to them,” Sween explained in an interview with Housing Finance. “We know the great work of Catholic Charities and how critical the transformation of the property would be to their mission.” Dorothy Day Place broadens the scope of Dominium’s work. Historically, the firm develops and manages affordable housing for people who earn at or below 60 percent of the area median income. The Dorothy Day Place project serves residents with incomes below 30 percent of the area median income. Jeff Huggett, vice president and project partner at Dominium explains, “Every unit...

Baked Goodness

You ever get a warm, fuzzy feeling when you do something good for someone else? It’s not that dissimilar to the first bite of your favorite dessert made by a loved one. Both are rich with compassion, joy, and the warmth of the holidays. Yardi Atlanta introduced its first annual Bake Off, a baking competition that honors the spirit of holiday giving. It has set the tone to be a favorite for years to come. Creating The Bake Off Yardi Atlanta’s first annual Bake Off was bittersweet. In the past, the office hosted a potluck for Thanksgiving. Yardi corporate provided the ham and turkey and all additional sides and desserts were made by employees. It was a fun and much anticipated event. Yet as the Yardi Atlanta team grew, volunteer coordination of the potluck became less feasible. A fantastic local caterer saved the day. Yet devoted bakers—as well as devoted eaters of homemade goodies—sought a creative way to continue the tradition. “The Bake Off now serves three purposes,” explains volunteer coordinator Kelsey Aslani, technical account manager, consulting practices at Yardi. “The Bake Off was formed because so many of the employees here really enjoy making food to share. This helps maintain the sense of community that Thanksgiving at Yardi has always garnered. Secondly, we were able to maintain a focus on corporate social responsibility by supporting local nonprofits.” With a smile, she adds, “Lastly, everyone loves a good competition.” Baking for Good: North Fulton Community Charities Proceeds from The Bake Off benefit North Fulton Community Charities (NFCC) and Atlanta Food Bank. Yardi contributes ongoing support to NFCC , a local nonprofit that serves more than 4,000 people. Families turn to NFCC for emergency aid and enrichment programs. Through the organization, they access resources to promote...

Healthy Competition Nov26

Healthy Competition

The 6th Annual End Hunger Games is now underway! Foodbank of Santa Barbara County warmly welcomes you to mercilessly crush our competition. Only one organization will receive the Golden Turkey—will it be Yardi? Yardi SB is Up for the Challenge The End Hunger Games is a creative winter campaign that adds a competitive edge to fundraising. Local organizations are encouraged to out-donate one another in three categories: Pounds of Food Nonperishable items are essential but there is also need for fresh produce Funds Raised Monetary donations are allocated to programs with the highest need Volunteer Hours Help to collect, sort, distribute and more! Volunteers are the backbone of the foodbank The most generous organization will win the coveted Golden Turkey and receive bragging rights as Santa Barbara’s fiercest giver. Yardi Santa Barbara has participated in every End Hunger Games competition since the competition started six years ago. Several times, Yardi has emerged as the victor! Yardi team members are encouraged to show their support for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. Yardi employees can click here for details on how to accrue points. Increasing Need for Food in Santa Barbara County Natural disasters, the closure of other foodbanks, and economic hardship have increased the need for supplemental food services in Santa Barbara County. The foodbank has opened three new locations to meet the growing demand. The newest location recently opened at St. George Community Church at 1032 E. Mason Street. This distribution center will serve the lower east side and west side of the county. The St. George location opened shortly after the Westside Neighborhood Center and Catholic Charities sites. (Foodbank SB distribution occurs in conjunction with regularly scheduled Catholic Charities distributions.) Within the first week of opening the new locations, the Foodbank served more than...