How giving back deepens connections with co-workers and community

The Skjersaa Group donated more than $24,700 to over 30 nonprofits that serve Central Oregon last year as part of its community commitment. The top-producing real estate team based in Bend, Oregon, pledges at least one percent of its annual revenue to local and regional charities and nonprofits each year.

Inspired by Patagonia’s 1% for the Planet, REALTORS® Terry Skjersaa and Jason Boone put a similar giving initiative into their business plan when they formed the Skjersaa Group over ten years ago. The Skjersaa Group’s One Percent campaign was initially focused on supporting environmental causes, but was expanded a few years later to include giving to educational and other community-focused charities in Central Oregon.

“While our love of the outdoors and passion for the environment has only strengthened as we face the effects of climate change, we realized there were other local organizations that needed our help,” explained Terry of the pivot to expand the company’s giving criteria. “I’m really proud of our small team, including Mollie Hogan and Cole Billings—not only for the financial support we’re able to provide to nonprofits from our collective efforts and successes—but also for the hours spent volunteering with community projects.”

Many nonprofits in Central Oregon benefited from the Skjersaa Group’s One Percent Pledge including those focused on the environment, protection of public lands, and advocacy for animals. The Environmental Center, the Humane Society, and Deschutes Land Trust were beneficiaries, as were  organizations that protect and serve families and children, like Saving Grace, CASA, and the Family Access Network. Other giving included support for educational and cultural programs provided by the COCC Foundation, Abilitree, and Rise Up, as well as services provided by Bethlehem Inn, Family Kitchen, and Furnish Hope.

The Skjersaa Group volunteering at the Furnish Hope warehouse in Bend, Oregon. (photo courtesy of Deborah Asato)

“The Skjersaa Group was an early supporter of Furnish Hope,” said Deborah Asato, Chief Operations Officer of Furnish Hope, a nonprofit that collects and redistributes home furnishings to families who are transitioning to stable housing. “They understood and rallied behind our model for a full-circle nonprofit. In addition to using our home staging and design services, which help fund our community outreach, the people with the Skjersaa Group are active volunteers. Together, we furnish hope and homes for our Central Oregon neighbors in need.”

Terry says including a lever for supporting the local community with a plan for giving back helps businesses thrive in many ways.

“Our team has heartfelt conversations about the causes we support,” said Terry. “As we evaluate the many worthy requests we receive, we have a chance to deepen our relationships with each other and our community. Our sincere hope is that all local businesses will have similar discussions and make a pledge to support our fast-growing community—with all its needs—through a giving initiative of their own.”