Northern California Realtors Giving Back to their Communities

First of a four-part series

Many real estate agents give back to their communities by volunteering, collecting thousands of coats for the needy and some even are elected to public office.

John Lazar, Mayor of Turlock, CA
John Lazar, Mayor of Turlock, CA email-jlazar

“I think being a Realtor really helps me being mayor,” said John Lazar, Mayor of the City of Turlock and a broker associate at Coldwell Banker Endsley & Associates in Turlock.  “I think it helps with my people skills.  In real estate you negotiate with contracts and as mayor I want to find common ground.  That’s what I’ve been trained to do.”

Lazar was elected to the city council in 1992 and became mayor in 2006.  He said he did not become mayor to enhance his realty sales.

“I think it’s more public service,” he said.  “If I was not mayor, I’d volunteer with a nonprofit.  I enjoy being involved in the community.”

Jerry Jones, Oakdale Office (209)844-1745 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (209)844-1745 end_of_the_skype_highlighting email-jjones DRE#01309267

Jerry Jones, a Realtor at Century 21 M&M and Associates in Oakdale, is a very active community leader in his native city.  “I do it because I love Oakdale.”

Jones, vice president of economic development for the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce, also is president of the local Rotary Club.  The Oakdale Rotary Club recently donated $17,000 for a city-run outdoor cinema.  The family-night events have been very popular.

He said community service is good for business, but networking with his community contacts is not the main reason for his participation.

“Yes, you do get business from it,” Jerry Jones said about his volunteerism.  “But you’re doing it for yourself and for the community.”

Not just individuals Realtors, but entire companies can get involved in community service.

Jesse Gibbs, Realtor and Sales Manager for Century 21 M & M in Central California
Jesse Gibbs, Sales Mgr-Merced (209)531-3951 email-jessegibbs DRE#01281741

Last December, Century 21 M&M joined News 10’s Coats for Kids campaign to bring warmth to those in need.  Jesse Gibbs, Century 21 M&M’s business development officer, was confident the firm’s more than 750 Realtors and staff in 20 locations throughout San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Solano, Yolo and Sacramento counties could make a difference.

“We’re going to have boxes at each of our offices where people can drop off coats,” he said. “Our goal is 2,500 coats just from our company.”

As a special incentive, for every coat dropped off at a Century 21 M&M office, the donor received one raffle ticket for a chance at first prize of $1,000, with second place worth $250 and third $100.

Mountain of Coats for Kids in Modesto, December 2009

The staff at Century 21 M&M offices and their communities rallied around the coat campaign.  When the final numbers were tallied, the realty group nearly doubled its goal by bringing in more than 4,600 coats.

“Knowing the Century 21 M&M team the way Larry Matos and I do,” said company CEO John Melo, “we are not surprised at their greatness and ability to help others.”

NEXT FRIDAY: Politics and real estate

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