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...

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...