AUSTIN, TEXAS (September 2, 2005) — When news broke that Hurricane Katrina had ripped through a number of Keller Williams Realty franchise offices and impacted the lives of more than 1,000 of the company’s agents, Keller Williams Realty associates responded by raising more than $1 million in pledges and cash donations in less than 72 hours for Keller Williams Realty Cares.
Founded in 2003 by Keller Williams Realty CEO Mo Anderson, Keller Williams Realty Cares (KW Cares), assists Keller Williams Realty agents in times of extreme hardship. Since its inception, the 501(c)3 charity has raised over $1 million in funds to help Keller Williams Realty associates in time of great need. Last year, the charity helped to get KW’s Florida associates back on their feet after four hurricanes ravaged their homes and businesses.
KW agent Betsy Alaimo of Orlando, Fla., knows firsthand the impact KW Cares has made on people’s lives. Last year, when Alaimo’s home was crushed by Hurricane Charley, KW Cares volunteers in Orlando helped her pack her belongings and evacuate her house. But the assistance didn’t stop there.
“They gave me a check … enough money to repair my house so that I could get back home. It was just amazing,” said Alaimo.
“Our associates’ commitment to reach out to the KW family cements our culture and builds a bridge of KW associates across the nation. I am grateful that our associates are eager to support one another,” added Keller Williams Realty President Mark Willis.
The fifth-largest franchise operation in North America has 12 market centers and more than 1,000 associates in the Gulf states affected by Hurricane Katrina, to include cities such as Metairie, New Orleans and Baton Rouge, La.; Biloxi, Miss.; and Mobile, Ala.
“This is one of the greatest challenges our company has ever faced; it is a disaster of major proportions to our Keller Williams family,” said CEO Mo Anderson.
“Our first priority is finding our associates,” said Anderson. “We are gathering all our resources together so that we can get assistance to them as soon as we know where they are. We are currently processing all the generous donations that we have received this week so that we can turn around and send those resources to our KW family members who desperately need them.”
Keller Williams Realty’s international office, which supports the company’s 50,000 agents across the United States and Canada, has aligned its resources to provide both short-term and long-term support to the Gulf States region. The company has set up an emergency hotline with the immediate goal of locating every agent in that area. As of Friday, the company had made contact with 45 agents.
To address long-term needs, Willis on Friday called an emergency meeting among Keller Williams Realty’s regional directors to discuss plans to support market centers and associates in the Gulf States and help them rebuild their lives and businesses.
“We are incredibly thankful to the people in our Keller Williams family who already have responded so quickly and so generously. Honestly, I anticipate that the $1 million going to KW Cares and Hurricane Katrina relief will double or triple in the weeks ahead,” said founder and Chairman Gary Keller said.
Our number one priority is finding our KW associates in the Gulf States region. To date, only 45 of our 1100 associates in the area have been located. We need to exhaust all efforts to find them. Distribution of the release is one avenue we are pursuing.
If anyone has information about where our Keller Williams Realty associates are, please contact (or have the associate contact) us at 512-413-7202 so that immediate assistance for housing and other immediate needs can be arranged.
If you are looking for a KW associate in the Gulf States region, log on to www.kwcares.org. We are posting status reports about our associates’ whereabouts on the website, listed by office.
Established in 2003, Keller Williams Realty Cares, or KW Cares, is a 501(c)3 public charity that is supported by Keller Williams Realty associates and offices nationwide. The charity provides emergency financial assistance to any member of the KW family during times of extreme hardship. Last year, KW Cares raised more than $800,000 in aide for Keller Williams Realty’s associates, which helped to pay bills, pay insurance deductibles and medical expenses for many associates in times of extreme hardship. All gifts to KW Cares are tax-deductible and go directly to those who are in need. For more information, visit KW Cares online at (www.kwcares.org)
Founded in 1983, Keller Williams Realty Inc. is the fifth-largest and fastest growing residential brand in North America, with 530 offices and nearly 50,000 agents. The company’s agent-centric culture emphasizes access to leading-edge education and promotes an economic model that rewards associates as stakeholders and partners. Keller Williams Realty, which began franchising in 1990, is growing by 1,500 agents a month. Keller Williams Realty agents place high value on professional education and a full-time commitment to real estate sales. For more information, visit Keller Williams Realty online at (www.kw.com).Back to All