Jaclyn D’Andrea, Broker/Owner, tells the story of what compelled her and her team at EXIT Realty Solutions in Griffith, IN to host a charity motorcycle ride that grew into a hugely successful fundraising event.
About a year ago, Mark Keene, a REALTOR in our office, approached me about a non-profit organization called Operation Combat Bikesaver (OCB). Mark had met OCB as he was out spreading the word about the Homes for Heroes program.
OCB provides a workshop, general safe haven, and comradery-filled stomping ground for veterans suffering from PTSD, TBI, and/or depression. This workshop includes trained individuals skilled in various areas of motorcycle fabrication, restoration, and customization to help teach candidates that there is more to life than settling for the one they currently live swallowed up by the monotonous black hole of depression, isolation, and self-medicating that often comes with being a disabled veteran.
Mark had come to me with a heavy heart. He believed we needed to make an impact to help the veterans at OCB. The idea was to have EXIT Realty Solutions host a motorcycle run and raise $2,500. Shortly after Mark had come to me with this idea, my husband Brian D’Andrea, and I took a drive out to OCB and I had the privilege of meeting the Founder, Jason Zaideman, along with many veterans who are a part of the organization.
Over the past 5 years that OCB has been operating in Crown Point Indiana, they have had a 100% success rate of preventing suicide with every veteran they’ve worked with. After hearing that, my heart was 100% invested in making a difference for this local organization. Being an EXIT Franchisee, my biggest passion is to change lives and make an impact on others. This is exactly what OCB is doing with our local veterans and we want to contribute and be a part of this change with them.
Once word got around our office, a motorcycle ride turned into a huge fundraising event! A car show, 5k, live bands, food trucks, vendor booths, and raffle baskets all became a part of what we dubbed “Home of the Brave Fun Day.”
EXIT Realty Solutions Team started planning in November 2020. Dan Nolan took over hosting weekly Zoom calls as we rounded up the EXIT Realty Solutions family and began organizing what July 10, 2021, would look like for our fundraising event.
The biggest part of the planning was organizing who was going to oversee certain parts of the event, as we had added several ways to raise proceeds for OCB. Next, came how we were going to raise the proceeds. Each REALTOR® who was a part of the fundraising committee began to get corporate sponsors and vendors.
Christine Neal put together “Vendor/ Sponsor Packets” where each vendor paid $100, and each sponsor paid $1,000. The sponsors were given incentives, such as Facebook shared posts, logos on all banners and promotional items, announcements on stage at our event, etc. As for our vendors, they were all gracious enough to donate 10% of their proceeds back, including the food truck vendors.
We raised money through sponsorships, vending tables, ride admission fees and 5K runners’ fees. We sold 50/50 tickets and auctioned off raffle baskets with items donated from local businesses as well as a custom motorcycle wine rack built by one of the very veterans who benefit from OCB therapy. With the help of our family members and several volunteers we were able to generate $2,861, from just raffle tickets!
Monetary donations were also being collected along the way with Facebook charity donation posts. Promoting and finding partners to do the fundraising event pro bono or for a discount was key. We built many relationships during this process which made the day of our fundraising event a HUGE success.
A portion of every transaction fee received by EXIT Realty Corp. International is applied to its charitable fund. Through the Spirit of EXIT Dollar-for-Dollar Matching Program, EXIT offices and associates can raise money for local, approved, registered charities and apply to EXIT’s head office to have those funds matched from the company’s pool of funds. Jaclyn and her team of professionals hoped to raise $10,000 which EXIT’s head office was proud to match, however they far exceeded that goal and raised $16,425 for a total donation of $26,425 to Operation Combat Bikesaver.
“The Home of the Brave Fun Day was a true community event. It not only raised money for Operation Combat Bikesaver, but it also allowed huge awareness to be gained for our organizational mission. It has been our honor to meet Jaclyn and her EXIT team, and the support and encouragement from them, as well as the funds, will allow our organization to continue to thrive. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for keeping our dream alive,” said Nicole Gladstone, Chairman of the National Board of Directors, Operation Combat Bikesaver.