Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ KoenigRubloff Realty Group, a prominent Chicagoland real estate organization, is dedicated to giving back to the community.

By Roger Grody

The KoenigRubloff Realty Group, part of the Berkhsire Hathaway HomeServices organization, accommodates upmarket clients throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. Its KoenigRubloff Cares Foundation presents a model for how real estate professionals — the Group has more than 1,400 brokers and agents in 23 offices — can give back to their communities in a very meaningful way.

The Foundation was launched five years ago with a simple but powerful mission of “Celebrating Acts of Kindness.” Joe Stacy, a native Chicagoan and 28-year industry veteran, has served as the Foundation’s Chairman since its inception. “As agents, it’s ingrained in us to help people, usually with major decisions in their lives, and the Foundation provides a platform to help others that are less fortunate,” explains Stacy.

Agents are not only encouraged to participate in community-based acts of kindness, such as assisting local schools or food banks, but can opt to make a contribution to the Foundation directly out of each commission. “Our people have a strong belief in giving back to their communities and we’re attracting new agents that want to be a part of that culture,” says Stacy. He estimates more than 40 percent of the organization’s agents and employees participate in Foundation activities, and reports that clients also appreciate conducting business with a firm that is passionate about philanthropy.

The KoenigRubloff Cares Foundation has been heavily involved in Habitat for Humanity, the volunteer-driven homebuilding program that rose to prominence through former President Jimmy Carter’s participation. Habitat is a natural affiliation for real estate professionals, and the Foundation sponsors homes while its agents can be found framing walls, painting and even crawling on roofs under the supervision of professional contractors.

The Foundation is also deeply engaged in the Houston-based organization called The Sunshine Kids, dedicated to providing emotional support for children struggling with cancer. Stacy and his colleagues recently arranged for an uplifting event for young cancer patients at Chicago’s Lurie Children’s Hospital, and hosted 14 teenage Sunshine Kids and their families at Wrigley Field. For some of those teens, it was the first time they met cancer patients of their own age, which made them feel less isolated. They watched the game from a luxury suite and were allowed onto the field during batting practice so they could meet with Chicago Cubs first basemen Anthony Rizzo, himself a cancer survivor.

“I was really inspired to see an athlete of his caliber give so much of his time, and to be so personally engaged with every single kid,” says Stacy. He reports the Wrigley Field excursion also was a treasured experience for the families of those young people, who themselves needed a break from hospital wards and clinics. In addition to entertaining local patients at home, the Foundation recently funded a trip to Southern California for a group of Sunshine Kids from Lurie Hospital, and hosted others from throughout the country for some carefree fun in the Windy City.

Jennifer Wisler, director of children’s services for The Sunshine Kids, reports, “We’re so impressed with the volunteers from KoenigRubloff, who are extraordinarily dedicated to creating life-changing experiences for children with cancer.” Recognizing Joe Stacy’s remarkable ability to mobilize his agents and employees, Wisler sees the Foundation as an example for companies across the nation to follow.

As a marathon runner, Joe Stacy understands that affecting positive changes in our society requires patience, but is confident that KoenigRubloff Realty Group’s charitable efforts are improving lives. “On behalf of the kids and their families, I hope KoenigRubloff knows how thankful we are for their culture of kindness,” Wisler says.