NEW YORK CITY- The Brooklyn Brokers United fund, established by three real estate firms to support three Brooklyn-based non-for-profit organizations servicing local neighborhoods amid the coronavirus pandemic, has exceeded its $20,000 goal at a current level of $23,016.
A trio of real estate firms led by DJ Johnston of B6 Real Estate Advisors, Sean Kelly of Ariel Property Advisors and Dan Marks of TerraCRG established the fund to help support The Campaign Against Hunger, Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow, an economic opportunity program, and the soup kitchen and shelter CHIPS.
The three brokers who had connected at past industry events, covering and competing in the same Brooklyn territories, put their resources together to leverage their networks to support disadvantaged residents in the neighborhoods where they work. Motivated by a common goal, they each posted to their LinkedIn pages and launched a marketing campaign.
“That first week as brokers we were prioritizing things differently, the transacting pipeline wasn’t a priority,” Johnston tells GlobeSt.com. “We were trying to find ways to add value and try to give back to communities where we live, breathe and work.”
The Campaign Against Hunger in Bedford Stuyvesant typically supports 250 families, but due to the coronavirus pandemic that led to mass unemployment they now service an estimated 1100 families. The Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow provide necessary diapers for parents with children, while CHIPS provides employment services to help people get back on their feet. This organization in particular has been focused more on struggling immigrants who can’t benefit from the stimulus package Congress had approved through the CARES Act, according to Johnston.
Johnston started his career working at Massey Knakal in the Bushwick and Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhoods. It is his hope that beyond the resources he is trying to leverage in those communities other real estate firms will sign on to help the cause to expand the efforts. According to Johnston, he is getting calls from real estate stakeholders looking for opportunities to give back and address inequities.
“I owe my entire career to Bed Stuy, Bushwick and Crown Heights and whatever I can do to help support those communities, I’m going to do it,” Johnston said.