Former presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush aren't the only ones coming together to raise money for victims of the devastating tsunamis that left millions of people homeless at the end of 2004. Apartment companies—large and small, public and private—are digging deep and contributing big bucks to the relief effort.
Since there's little multifamily companies have found they can do to directly help victims, companies are focusing their efforts on financial contributions. Many set up a dollar-for-dollar match for employee contributions. AvalonBay Communities, an Alexandria, Va.-based REIT, has raised more than $100,000 for the American Red Cross. Archstone-Smith, an Englewood, Colo.-based REIT, has raised about $50,000 to date for the Salvation Army Tsunami Relief Effort.
When Dana Hamilton, Archstone's executive vice president, national operations, sent out an e-mail alerting its 3,000 associates of the donation program, she received a flood of e-mails in return. “I think that when your associates want to do good, and they want to reach out, you can show your support for them by leveraging what it is that they do,” she says.
Southern California Housing Development Corp., a nonprofit developer and manager, also is seeing huge interest from its 200 employees. The company's goal is to raise $5,000 from employees, and then match the amount to raise $10,000 for UNICEF. “One of our purposes [as a company] is to build community in the cities where we are doing business,” says Olen Jones, the company's community relations director. “So this is just an extension of that to the greater community of the world.”