Compassion From Coast to Coast: KW Cares Offers Relief In the Wake of Natural Disasters

Lalaina Rabary| September 24, 2020

After successfully raising $10,000 to support KW associates impacted by Hurricane Laura, Pensacola Team Leader Preston Murphy never imagined his market center would be next.

Hurricane Sally

“Our agents are very used to hurricanes and tropical weather. But to that end, it’s been about 16 years since we had a major hurricane,” shares Murphy. “In raising funds for Lake Charles, we talked about the importance of pouring into our KW family, because it wouldn’t be a matter of IF we would have to lean on others for support, but when; I just didn’t think it would be a week later. ” 

As Hurricane Sally swept across the Alabama-Florida border, it battered the area with over 30 inches of torrential rain – flooding homes and buildings. Early assessments show $29 million in damage in Escambia County, where the Pensacola market center is located. 

And as it did, KW Cares – a 501(c)(3) charity created to support Keller Williams associates experiencing hardship as a result of a sudden emergency – mobilized in partnership with KW leaders to coordinate the delivery of supplies, volunteer support, and over $90,000 in emergency relief grants.

“The hurricane hit and within days KW Cares arrived with 150 generators and supplies. Volunteers have been hard at work helping us de-muck homes; support has poured in from all over,” says Murphy. “Since joining Keller Williams in 2013, I’ve always donated to the organization to help associates in need, but it’s never been something I’ve been directly tied to. Now, I’ve seen it firsthand. This organization truly helps people in their darkest hour when there’s very little hope left; it’s an incredible display of the KW culture.” 

Northern California Wildfires

Across the country, Elaine Della-Santina, team leader of the Santa Cruz, California market center, recounts the compassion of KW Cares as well. When wildfires began blazing through San Mateo and Santa Cruz County  – scorching 86,509 acres –agents and their families were forced to evacuate rapidly.

“They left with little to nothing and a stinging uncertainty – not knowing if their home would be intact when they returned. KW Cares took action immediately. After one intake call, our agents were able to receive money in their accounts at once. It was seamless.  KW Cares took part of the unknown away from them and replaced it with confidence that they would find a place to stay or supplies. Even more, it took a huge burden off of the market center. Knowing that our people were being taken care of meant we could offer critical emotional support.” 

Over a six-week span, the organization – fueled by the generosity of the KW family – has offered immediate relief to associates from coast to coast. To date, over 150 grants totaling nearly $500,000 have been distributed to associates in Oregon, California, Florida, Louisiana, and Iowa – all impacted by natural disasters. 

“And it won’t end there,” says Kathy Neu, executive director for the organization. “Phase one was just emergency grants. In the months to come, we will give away hundreds and thousands of dollars in additional grants to help our associates rebuild their lives.” 

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As she looks to the future, Della-Santina sees a silver lining.  

“Amid the tragedy, compassion was developed and so many lives were touched; none of it would have been possible without KW Cares. When you’re touched in an impactful way and see the peace of mind that the emergency grants provided people that you dearly love and care for, you have a duty to pay that forward. We will pick up the pieces and pour into others like so many people have done for us.” 

Support the KW Family

To make a donation to those impacted by recent natural disasters, click here. Your donation will provide both much-needed relief and support to KW associates and their families. 

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