RED Day Maryland: From Mission to Movement

Celesta Brown | May 2, 2019

Across the world, real estate teams and individual agents are gearing up to make a difference in their communities on Keller Williams’ annual RED (Renew, Energize Donate) Day, which is May 9thRED Day – which is in its 11th year – is a day dedicated to celebrating Keller Williams Realty’s year-round commitment to improving our local communities.  Each year, on the second Thursday in May, tens of thousands of associates from across the world participate in a wide range of projects, devoting their time to renewing and energizing aspects of the neighborhoods in which they serve.  For John Hallis of Hallis Homes and Keller Williams Integrity in Ellicott City, Maryland, and his army of passionate “hope-pushers and go-getters,” the lead up to RED Day Maryland is an ongoing effort of love that takes 10 months of fundraising, planning, and vision casting.

What started as a plan to improve one elementary school in East Baltimore organically turned into a citywide, much-anticipated annual event aptly named “The Best Day a Kid Ever Had!” That first year, when school administrators saw the massive list of painting, cleaning, and renovation projects that Keller Williams volunteers intended to complete in a single day, they said they really needed to get the kids out of the school for those hours. Thus, the first field day was born in nearby Patterson Park with games, snow cones, a DJ, a dance-off, and Subway lunch for over 600 kids.

Hallis reflects, “It was an amazing, amazing day. To see the kids let go, have fun, and be carefree for a few hours was so heartwarming. We realized we had really stumbled on something significant. The fact that we were able to do this with the kids brought in so much emotion and gave the project so much more meaning.”

A Growing Impact

The event was such a success that the next year a second school was added. Hallis’s team quickly figured out that they needed about $50,000 and 500 volunteers to improve two schools and host two field days. Each year since, the mission has grown in size and scope. Now in its 11th year, RED Day Maryland plans to serve 10 schools by deploying two massive crews to each, one that creates and delivers “The Best Day a Kid Ever Had!” and the other to improve and enhance the school for the students and teachers.

While the kids are out having fun, a huge team of volunteers is in the school cleaning the walls, painting floor to ceiling, replacing toilet seat covers, installing new equipment, drawing murals, making sure the gyms have basketballs, hoops, and jump-ropes, and adding interesting features that enhance the kids’ educational experience. Teachers’ lounges are added, water fountains are installed, copy machines are serviced, and a school store is set up for kids who earn tokens for good behavior. The transformation is so impactful that kids are kept away until the next day when a ceremonial unveiling adds even more excitement and anticipation to the annual event.

With a decade of momentum and success, kids now look forward to “The Best Day a Kid Ever Had!” all year long. A name like that should be daunting, but Hallis and the event leaders are passionate about pulling out all the stops to show the kids unconditional love, favor, and support. On RED Day, gymnasiums, parks, lunchrooms, and classrooms are transformed so that children can have a mall experience and “shop” for new clothes that were donated by sponsors. They also participate in fashion shows, play field-day games with their friends, dance to live music, and just delight in the joy of being a kid.


Hallis says he’s grateful to God for the opportunity to be a part of a group of sponsors, agents, educators, and volunteers who so selflessly serve this great cause. “It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the size of the need, but Keller Williams is emboldening me and my fellow agents and volunteers to commit to a higher level of business.”

A Movement of Love

This year, KW Legacy in Pikesville, Maryland along with several other clients, nonprofit organizations and strategic partners will join Hallis and his team for RED Day. By 2025, he aims to take this movement of love to all 50 of the city’s elementary schools. The program is already being duplicated in Miami and San Antonio, and he hopes to see it spread across the country.

“I’m grateful for the gift of Keller Williams. Gary Keller, Mo Anderson, and my MAPS Coaches ignited a thought process in me to think about my big why. I understand that hard work is worth it when you’re giving your allegiance to a first-rate cause. As I get older, I’m more and more passionate about moving toward a vision that’s far bigger than me and that will last into eternity. This is part of my life’s purpose.” For all the work, hours, logistics, and people that it requires to pull off such a monumental mission, Hallis says, “We get far more than we give.”

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