Real estate agent Paul Martin has taken school fundraising to a whole new level: this week he donated a total of $17,000 to two schools in Elmira. For every house he sold in Woolwich in 2009, the RE/MAX agent pledged to donate $500 to the fundraising committees at both John Mahood and Riverside public schools, his way of giving back to the community where he grew up.
Martin decided to fundraise for the schools early in 2009 after wrapping up a successful fundraising project from the previous year, a donation to the new Woolwich Memorial Centre.
Having lived in the Elmira area for his whole life, Martin wanted to do something that would help the local community, something with a personal meaning for him. Last year, for every house he sold, Martin bought a seat at the Dan Snyder Memorial Arena for $500, a grand total of $10,000. The very first seat he bought was in memory of his late son Jeremy, who used to play hockey at the old Elmira Arena before he was killed while riding his bike in 1994.
This year, Martin shifted his fundraising focus to education. He is the father of four girls who are all finished high school now but who went to school in the Elmira area, so Martin felt that any way he could help out the schools with their fundraising would be beneficial.
“When my children were going to school, I sold fruit, I sold magazines, I sold cookie dough, and I went door to door selling chocolate bars with them – all kinds of things. I knew there was always a need for money for extra projects.”
The school council at John Mahood 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.
Riverside Public School principal Brenda Moen said that the donation to their school council was greatly appreciated by both the faculty and the kids.
“We are hoping to purchase some new playground equipment with the donation from Mr. Martin. His generosity is outstanding and what he is doing for the community is just wonderful and very much appreciated.”
Fairly new to real estate, having started just less than three years ago after a 35-year career in construction, Martin was unsure about how successful his sales would be this year, especially with the difficult housing market currently facing prospective home-sellers. But as the year is wrapping up, it is clear that his worries were in vain: he was able to sell 34 homes this year in the Woolwich area.
“I hoped that the project would go well, but I wasn’t sure when we first started out. It is great to be able to give back to the schools when I can.”