Middleburg Real Estate Partners has worked hard to develop great places to live and work. But founder and managing partner Chris Finlay wants his staff to have a bigger goal and help those who are less fortunate. He’s walking the walk with two impressive initiatives. Shelters to Shutters, a national 501(c)3 organization, encourages property management professionals to hire homeless individuals, teach them skills to develop a career in the industry, and have them become economically independent.
“Most think of a homeless person as someone mentally ill or chemically dependent, but that’s only 30% of a population that numbers three and a half million annually,” Finlay says. “The vast majority have experienced a life-altering event such as a job loss, medical illness, or domestic violence, which interrupted otherwise stable lives.”
Since May 2014, Middleburg has helped more than 15 homeless individuals and families find jobs and discounted housing from the company portfolio. And the developer has spurred other property management companies to join in for an industrywide initiative. Estimates are for 120 homeless people to land jobs this year through Shelters to Shutters. Recruiting this way saves an average of $1,900 per new hire.
Finlay’s second effort is the Corporate Citizenship Program. Overseen by its president, Robert Grealy, this initiative encourages employees to take one week of paid time off annually to volunteer at a charitable organization or participate in a mission. Each Middleburg community is to host one service event quarterly where residents and staff pitch in together—maybe to clean up a park or prepare care packages for military staff. “When residents witness our management team employees not only giving back to their community but including them in the effort, everybody wins,” Grealy says.