After years of selling chocolate bars and pizza dough to raise money for his kids’ schools, Paul Martin is going bigger and selling houses instead.
For every house he sells in Woolwich in 2009, the RE/MAX agent will donate $500 to the fundraising committee at John Mahood Public School.
The school fundraiser follows a similar plan Martin hatched last year to raise money for the new Woolwich Memorial Centre. For every house he sold, Martin bought a seat at the Dan Snyder Memorial Arena for $500.
Martin became a real estate broker two years ago, after 35 years in construction and fabrication. He said frankly that the donation was a way to get his name out to the public, but it wasn’t just a gimmick.
“Whether I get any business out of it, that’s not the goal for me,” Martin said. “The goal is to give back to the community. If I do get business from it, great, that’s a bonus for me.”
Martin wanted to do something that would help the local community and also had a personal connection for him. Donating to the arena made sense because he did masonry work on the old Elmira Arena many years ago and his son, Jeremy, played hockey there. The first seat he bought will be named in honour of Jeremy, who was killed in 1994 while riding his bike to work.
When pondering what he could do for 2009, Martin thought of the schools.
“I know when our children were in school, we sold fruit, we sold chocolate bars, we sold chicken, dough for pizzas, muffins, the whole bit. I knew fundraising was something the schools always needed.”
He contacted all the elementary schools in Elmira, and John Mahood took him up on the offer.
“We thought this is a good fundraising initiative,” said Ken Jessop, chair of the school council at John Mahood, noting that the offer came at a good time. “Certainly under the economic conditions, we’ve noticed we had to reach out a bit more.”
The school council raises funds for a number of projects, including literacy programs, buses for school trips, supporting the French immersion program and the annual Mahoodfest in June.
Last year, Martin was able to buy 20 seats at the arena, raising $10,000 in total. He’s not sure if sales will be as brisk in the 2009 housing market, but he’s already made one donation for a house sold in January.