Two months. Four charities. Six teams. Ten thousand dollars.
Bellator Real Estate & Development devised the idea to create a charity challenge in order to give back to the community and instill a greater drive within its agents. The result? An inaugural company-wide Listing Challenge for Charity comprised of six teams of Bellator agents from the three company divisions – Eastern Shore, Mobile and Coastal – and $10,000 to be donated to four local charities. Through two rounds of voting, agents selected the four charities Bellator would support this year: the Ronald McDonald House, Under His Wings, the Sheriff’s Boys Ranch and Wilmer Hall. In October, the teams began competing to gain the most listings and, furthermore, fulfill the role of allocating a percentage of the $10,000 to the charities. In mid-December, after two months of hard work, dedication and a total of 172 listed properties, the company staff held a luncheon with the charity representatives in attendance to accept their donations from Bellator President, Troy Wilson.
At the luncheon, Mary McAleer of the Ronald McDonald House, Angie Michal of Under His Wings, Jim Harmon of the Sheriff’s Boys Ranch and Shane Hale, one of our own agents, of Wilmer Hall, each spoke about their organization’s mission, history, operating budget and annual fundraising events. Each of the non-profit organizations has a distinguished mission dedicated to supporting local families and children throughout Baldwin and Mobile Counties.
The Ronald McDonald House of Mobile aims to provide support and a home for families with ill or injured children being treated at local hospitals. The charity’s home accommodates up to 38 families each night and has served over 5,300 families within the past 14 years. According to McAleer, the home is located on the campus of USA Children’s and Women’s but is open to anyone being treated in the region. The homes are set up similar to a hotel in that they have double occupancy rooms with queen-sized beds, but all meals and entertainment are provided in family-style common areas. “As staff, we do what we can to make the families feel at home, but the most valuable aspect of the program is the support that families can provide to one another as they are all going through a similar experience. That dinnertime conversation between families is so crucial.”
In a similar light, Under His Wings strives to provide a Christian home for troubled young women to live in while receiving academic, physical, emotional and spiritual education. Their goal is to break negative, unhealthy cycles in the area and within families, and to ultimately establish a more positive community and stronger family ties. Angie Michal, one of the founders of the program, said, “Our home currently cares for 5 young women—this may not sound like very many, but the impact our program makes on these women is going to carry through many generations. Our goal is to break the cycle that happens in these terrible situations and provide a brighter future for generations to come.” Under His Wings operates on an annual budget of less than $200,000 to care for these women, and it doesn’t accept any government funding.
The third charity selected, the Sheriff’s Boys Ranch, is sponsored by the Alabama Sheriffs’ Association and is dedicated to serving abused, neglected, homeless and dependent children in the community that come from troubled situations. The ranches have housed over 3,000 children and have provided them with a Christian atmosphere and daily responsibilities to instill a sense of work ethic and responsibility. Harmon, the Ranch’s director and life-long supporter of the Alabama Sheriff’s Ranches, explained that the boys are raised in homes of 8-10 boys each, and they are supported physically, educationally and spiritually.
The final charity chosen was Wilmer Hall, whose mission is to provide long-term homestay for children who are unable to reside with their parents, whether due to abuse, neglect, poverty or homelessness. At Wilmer Hall they attend school, have a tutoring program, can participate in extracurricular activities and learn necessary life skills and values.
Overall, the challenge instilled competition and drive throughout each Bellator division. Along with company drive, the challenge allowed the company to give back to the community and assist local charities during the holiday season. In addition to providing financial support, the company has also pledged to provide manpower for the charities’ fundraising events throughout the upcoming year.
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