​Culture of generosity

by BN26 Sep 2014
Jeremy Fisher1st Street Home Loans has dedicated itself to regularly supporting charitable causes

1st Street Home Loans director Jeremy Fisher and his team have introduced a new philanthropic mission at their brokerage, which allows them to fundraise and support several different local and national not-for-profit organisations.

Each month is dedicated to a different charity, and to raising awareness and money for each organisation and its mission. The team donates a portion of income earned from all loans settled within that month, as well as encouraging clients and the community to get involved, promoting the “charity of the month” through social media and e-flyers sent out to their database of over 12,000 clients and affiliates.

Not only has this allowed 1st Street Home Loans to give back in various ways, but it has opened their eyes to some of the struggles their community faces, such as neuroblastoma. In June, Fisher and his team raised money for research by competing in the 5km charity fun run, Run 2 Cure Neuroblastoma. If it wasn’t for this, he would never have known about the seriousness of this illness, which is the third most common type of childhood cancer and the leading single cause of cancer deaths in children under five.

“Did you know that neuroblastoma is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in children? I didn’t know, and I have three kids,” Fisher says.

Fisher has always been passionate about supporting the local community. 1st Street Home Loans often sponsors local school and sporting clubs.

“Our team all feel really good about being able to sponsor local school and sporting clubs when they approach us, so we just thought, why not take this further and do more? Why don’t we create a little more structure around it and create our own initiative?”

The charity of the month initiative started in May this year after the team at 1st Street sat down and decided on which organisation they would be dedicated to each month.

“There was a website that we found that listed every not-for-profit organisation or charity in Australia. We went through each of the organisations as a team and chose the ones which resonated with us the most. For example, the father of one of our brokers has Parkinson’s disease, so we have dedicated one month to fundraising for Parkinson’s disease. A lot of us have children, which is why we decided to raise money doing the Run 2 Cure Neuroblastoma.

“My mother-in-law was recently diagnosed with lung cancer, so for me, raising money and awareness for cancer is particularly close to my heart. Did you know that there is a certain type of lung cancer that only women get, and it has nothing to do with smoking; it is just unlucky. I’m learning so much from this; we all are. And that’s what makes it even more worthwhile.”

To mix things up a little and keep the team motivated, they often participate in the different charity challenges put on by each organisation.

“These have been great. It has created a real camaraderie amongst the team. There was so much office banter before the run. We were teasing each other about who was going to win. In the end, we all probably pushed ourselves a little too far after all the talk, and were sore for days afterwards.

“We also recently did a healthy eating challenge for Diabetes NSW. We had a wager running where we had to pay $10 if we broke the commitment to clean eating and ate something unhealthy during the day. I ended up being the worst. Out of the 30 days of the month, there was only a week where I didn’t get penalised $10 a day for eating something I shouldn’t have. The challenges have been a lot of fun for our team, but they have also made us more aware.”

For Fisher and the team at 1st Street Home Loans, the “charity a month” initiative has not just been about raising money; it has been about getting actively involved in giving back to the community. It has been about understanding each charity and its mission, and spreading this awareness.

“It is so important to be actively involved in giving back, rather than just donating money. We are always consciously searching for challenges we can participate in or ways we can help raise awareness, which not only raises money but helps us learn and helps our community learn about all the different organisations we are supporting.”

This article is from Australian Broker issue #11.17. Download the issue to read more features.