Feeling blessed after another record year, Max and Tina Coleman, Regional Owners of EXIT Realty Montana and Franchisees of EXIT Realty Bitterroot Valley were scrolling through Facebook just prior to Thanksgiving when they came across a story of a fellow EXIT broker who paid off the outstanding student lunch debt at his old high school. The Colemans had been researching a way for the region to give back to the community. After a few days, and continually coming back to that same Facebook story, they decided this would be the best way to help in their area.

On the Monday before Thanksgiving, Max started making calls to the schools in Ravalli County. There are seven school districts in total, and by Tuesday he had heard back from all but two. The amount of outstanding debt in certain districts surprised them. They learned many students are provided with snacks if they arrive to school late and that a great deal eat breakfast at school as well. It may surprise you that over 37 million people in the United States are struggling with hunger, 11 million of which are children.

The Colemans learned that in some districts there were programs in place eliminating lunch debt, but some after-school programs had been cut. In those cases, checks were written to continue funding an after-school program for another month, or for use towards other helpful programs and future debt.

They had imagined the process might take until mid-December to finalize and decided early on to not put a limit on the dollar amount they would donate. Thanks to their true “all in” EXIT attitude, as of December 2, 2019, EXIT Realty Bitterroot Valley and the region had erased the entire school lunch debt in Ravalli County. The schools were given approximately $15,000 in total, which not only zeroed the balance but also aided in the continuation of many beneficial programs. Their generosity even garnered attention by the local media.

Neither Max nor Tina expected all they gained emotionally from this experience. When the school superintendent asked why they did it, Max responded, “Why not? We’ve had a blessed year, so why not share it,” explaining his simple philosophy that if students can’t eat, they can’t learn.

When the Coleman’s discussed their desire to help the community with their agents, everyone was in support of the brokerage’s decision; however, no one expected how large an impact this kind gesture would have. The families of every student were given notice that the outstanding balances were paid, and the EXIT Realty Bitterroot Valley offices had many visitors stopping by to express their thanks. Having this weight lifted, especially right before the holidays, was a real gift. “I’ve never been prouder of our agents and what they stand for,” Max warmly stated.

So, would they do it all again, possibly making this an annual tradition? There’s no reason not to according to the Colemans. With the balance back at zero it would be easier to maintain from this point forward. They’re also not quite finished yet, challenging broker owners all across the EXIT Nation to find a cause and go for it. “It doesn’t have to be the same one, though can you imagine the impact of this rolling across the United States?” Max questioned.

It all started from a quick glance on Facebook at a story they just couldn’t shake that grew into a marvelous opportunity to give back to the community they serve. It just goes to show that one good deed truly feeds another


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