Real estate professionals are a special breed, with unique perspectives on business, property development, city planning — and the world around them.
And so, it should come as no surprise that some real estate developers, investors and entrepreneurs approach charitable ventures with the same mix of ambition, innovation and respect for communities that has made them so successful in this challenging field.
In Canada, one prominent example is Adam Gant, a real estate executive with REAfe Advisory, and a serial entrepreneur with a deep interest in home ownership, housing finance and charitable impact.
Gant focuses on critical needs in surrounding housing in Canada and the US as well as places like Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and targets his giving using the same skills he employs in business. This approach maximizes the benefit to communities in need and serves as a model for other entrepreneurs who seek to improve the world around them.
Adam Gant is passionate about causes related to economic empowerment, human rights and the alleviation of poverty. As a real estate professional, he knows that one of the best ways to eliminate poverty is to help organizations that strengthen communities by building needed structures, from homes to health clinics.
A new organization called the Silhouette Foundation is becoming one of Gant’s preferred pursuits. The organization works to improve conditions for individuals who don’t have a nation to call their own and are considered “stateless”. More than a donor, Gant is also a volunteer who works closely with Vaden Earle, the best-selling author who is the founder of Live Different.
One current project is a book Gant and Earle are writing that will provide some inspiration to people who want to make a difference in the lives of others and want to learn the most effective ways to go about it. The book details both some of the successful and failed relief efforts in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti.
“We hope that this inspirational story will encourage people to go on their own humanitarian adventures,” says Gant. “As people begin to understand how much good they can do in the world, with limited resources, we believe that a wave of positive development for these communities can soon follow. Our book will also provide a window into a new way of thinking about global equity which will be the basis for the approach taken by the Silhouette Foundation.”
Closer to home, Adam Gant has seen first-hand the need for improvements to housing solutions such as what Our Place Society provides, which is devoted to helping people in his local community of Victoria. Gant has volunteered at the charity’s inner-city community center serving Greater Victoria’s most vulnerable: the working poor, the impoverished elderly, the mentally and physically challenged, and the homeless.
Our Place Society serves over 1,200 meals per day, and provides hot showers, free clothing, counseling and outreach services — in addition to a sense of belonging, and hope.
Also in his local community, Gant advised and facilitated the transaction for the Greater Victoria Housing Society in its $2 million dollar acquisition of a 19-unit apartment building. These homes became part of the Society’s affordable rental program, which provides long-term housing to those most in need.
“Philanthropy is about building, and creative philanthropy is about building in the most efficient and innovative way,” says Gant. “The best charities build more than physical structures — they lay a strong foundation that supports families, fortifies communities — and builds better futures.”