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Giving back to my community is important to me as a business owner. When I realized that I did not have a lot of money to give, I began donating the commission from selling homes to charity in five major categories: the American Cancer Society for health, Make a Wish for kids, SPCA LA for pets, Path/People’s Concern for homelessness, and a local one, Homeboy Industries, helping gang members find employment.

In the past six years, our small team has been fortunate to have helped 391 cancer patients and their caregivers receive one week of lodging, 313 dogs receive care and housing until adoption, 17 kids with terminal or severe illnesses receive wishes, 261 gang members with tattoo removal so they could get jobs, and 202 homeless people by providing housing.

Additionally, when quarantine and lockdown hit LA and people were not allowed to leave their homes, my son and I flocked 71 families’ yards with pink flamingos for 60 nights. We also did this for birthdays in order to spread cheer since kids couldn’t have their friends over to celebrate.

Communicating how you are giving is so important. The focus needs to be on the charity and not you, and ideally, it is much better coming from someone else. To achieve this, try to distinguish yourself as a philanthropist in the community and not a sales agent. We brand ourselves as a philanthropic company that specializes in selling real estate.

What started as helping some charities with a couple donations has evolved into our mission statement and company culture. I have spoken at numerous real estate conferences on charitable giving and how to incorporate it into your business. It is so inspiring to see so many other real estate agents and teams carrying the torch and implementing a charitable giving campaign in their office.

By donating, you create a deep bond with your client. I will never forget when I asked one of my clients which of our five charities he would like our donation to go to and he wondered if it would be okay if he chose a different charity: the American Heart Association. When I asked why, he told me that his seven-year-old granddaughter had recently passed away while playing soccer at school. No one knew she had a heart defect. We both got teary-eyed, and I told him it would be my honor to donate the commission from his real estate transaction to the American Heart Association.

What legacy would you rather have in your obituary? Do you want it to say that you sold 500 homes, or that you touched people’s lives by giving back to the less fortunate and making a difference in the world?

In 1994, Anthony Marguleas founded Amalfi Estates. He has sold close to $2 billion in properties and is ranked in the top 25 teams nationwide by The Wall Street Journal. Marguleas and his team give 10 percent of their commission to five charities, benefiting kids, pets, health, homelessness and helping gang members get jobs. They have helped 1,200 people and pets by donating $1,400,000 since 2015.

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