Vegas Developer Turns Reality TV Into Charitable Giving
Focus Property Group employees at a live remote broadcast with 97.1 FM to raise funds for The Shade Tree shelter for homeless and abused women and their children.
The deadline for the Builder Achievement Award for Outstanding Service has been extended to Dec. 1. Following is a story about last year's bronze winner, who won $10,000 for the charity of their choice. Silver, bronze and honorable mention award-winners will also be chosen for $5,000, $2,500 and $1,000 contributions, respectively.
The award is open to all builder, remodeler and developer members of NAHB. To find out more about the award, and apply today, click here. Or e-mail Niki Clark at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8061.
Focus Property Group, a developer based in Las Vegas, was recognized by the National Housing Endowment — the philanthropic arm of NAHB — for its innovative philanthropic program, Community 911. The program connected every one of its more than 100 employees with a charity. They raised more than $2 million in donations and donated more than 4,100 hours to their charities.
Community 911 grew out of a challenge by the Focus Property Group’s chairman and CEO, John Ritter, to his employees to increase the company’s philanthropy while having fun doing it. The employees were divided into four teams, each working on a separate charitable project.
The teams reported monthly to a panel of judges patterned after the American Idol television show. The judges were top level executive from Focus Property Group and its strategic partner, Landtek, a land development companies in Southern Nevada. Ritter, as “The John” and reprising the role of Donald Trump, served as the lead judge.
Focus Property Group was honored with a 2005 Honorable Mention National Housing Endowment Builder Achievement Award for Outstanding Community Service for its charitable efforts during the International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Fla. in January.
As winners of the award, Focus Property Group received a $1,000 donation to be directed to the charity of its choice. The company selected the Ritter Charitable Trust.
"For Focus Property Group, creating master plan communities means much more than just designing and planning parks, trails and infrastructure,” said Ritter. “It means truly ‘building community’ by connecting our team members with organizations that directly benefit members of the community. We all learned about the positive impact our time and efforts can have on those in need. Community 911 was a powerful way to do that, and one that will have a lasting impact on the community.”
Community 911 team members helped:
- Rehabilitate and expand Child Haven, a home for children
- Get land for Olive Crest, a foster care agency
- Help get a new Wish House for the Make-A-Wish Foundation
- Create a new pet care facility for The Shade Tree, a shelter for homeless and abused women and children — and now their pets — in crisis
Community 911 culminated in a “live” finale at the company holiday party where the various teams were awarded $50,000, $30,000, $20,000 and $10,000 for their charities respectively, depending upon on their final “score.”
“The thing that really stood out about Focus Property Group’s Community 911 Program is how easily replicable it is,” said Gary Garczynski, chairman of the endowment and 2002 NAHB president. “This innovative project should serve as an inspiration to others about how to really integrate philanthropic giving and service within the structure of corporate America.”
Seven other builders were honored with Builder Achievement awards during the presentation at the builders' show.
The awards were established through a grant to the endowment by Isaac Heimbinder, vice chairman, president and COO of Kimball Hill Homes, based in Houston.
For the complete list of winners, click here.
Dropping off supplies for The Shade Tree.