By Dayna Gardner, Southern California District Sales Manager
The RentPath SoCal team immediately met after the CSR initiative announcement and agreed that we wanted to find a smaller, local organization where we could make a large impact. Very quickly we learned about the Illumination Foundation through the United Way and the many ways that RentPath can support them. IF’s Director of Development, Volunteer Coordinator, and Contracts/Facilities Director met with Laura and I to understand how we could assist each of our organizations.
Their mission is to break the cycle of homelessness and one major way they accomplish this is by offering emergency and transitional housing to homeless families. They put their families through a training and development program and when ready, assist them in finding a permanent home. They often take leases in their own name and collect rent from those in their program until they are confident they can support themselves.
Unfortunately, they have a difficult time finding landlords that are willing to assist them in this cause. Laura had the brilliant idea to connect them with the local Apartment Association of Orange County (AAOC). Their membership base consists of a large number of independent owners who generally have more flexibility in their rental criteria. She arranged a meeting and RentPath, AAOC, and IF met recently to find ways to support each organization. The AAOC even offered the Housing Department at IF the opportunity to attend their Manager Certification Training for free to help them understand the challenges of being a manager and give them the proper tools to help them work better with their partners. They are also going to present IF to their membership base at their next membership meeting to provide the opportunity to solicit new housing partners. This is only the beginning of a long-term partnership.
We also toured the IF Offices, Children’s Resource Center, Emergency, and Temporary Housing. We identified a multitude of ways that we can leverage our industry partners, clients, and our team to impact IF. We plan to host a Happy Hour in October to coordinate a drive for essentials (socks, grooming, blankets, etc.) that IF expressed is desperately needed. Additionally, we plan to host an after-school activity day at the Child Development Center and bring them all of the sports equipment and school supplies that our team donated at our kick-off meetings. We are lining up several activities that the members of our team can choose from too. This will allow us to send smaller groups or pairs to volunteer, spreading out our 3 dedicated CSR days. We are just getting started in our journey, but I know there are great things to come!