MBA gives back to communities

Group's Open Doors Foundation has donated $22M to families since 2012

MBA gives back to communities

Except to those in the industry it represents, the work of the Mortgage Bankers Association can be seen as something of an abstraction. The philanthropy stemming from its Open Doors Foundation is more concrete, providing more than $22 million in mortgage and rental payment assistance to nearly 15,000 needy families since its inception a dozen years ago. 

MBA officials announced the most recent fundraiser – the group’s annual charity wine auction staged during the association’s June Chairman’s Conference in Florida – raised $234,536. Specifically, proceeds benefit families with critically ill or injured children, enabling parents and guardians to attend to them without the added stress of potentially losing their homes.

Mortgage Professional America reached out to Deborah “Deb” Dubois, president of the MBA Opens Doors Foundation, to learn more. She noted the home grants program was launched in 2012, a year since the foundation was formed.

Foundation starts off small

“Since that time, MBA members and the industry have really come together to support foundation,” she told MPA during a telephone interview. “Like any fledgling nonprofit, you start with a small amount,” she added. “We received a $50,000 grant from the Mortgage Bankers Association. Over time, we just had leadership and really high-profile people in the mortgage industry – really writ large the real estate finance industry – who took up the cause. the industry in terms of a charitable organization that gives back to families in the communities where our members work.”

The wine auction is an example of the foundation’s fundraising tactics, but by no means is it isolated, Dubois noted. “Over time, fundraisers like the wine auction have really taken off, but it’s not the only fundraiser we do throughout the year. We have a couple of big ones.”

The amount raised at the wine auction is made that much more remarkable given its relatively low attendance, Dubois suggested. “It was very low-key,” she said. “The wine auction was launched in 2019 at the Chairman’s Conference because we were in Napa Valley. And what do you do in Napa Valley? You drink wine!”

Donations roared back after the pandemic

The pandemic frustrated efforts to stage the event, but Dubois said her goal was to raise $112,000 – around $2,000 more than the original version of the event. Needless to say, she and her colleagues were flabbergasted by the $234,536 haul. “It was a small group of people who participated in the wine auction. There couldn’t have been more than 75 people at the auction,” she said.

Debra W. Still is CMB chairman of Pulte Financial Services and one of the chairs of the Open Doors Foundation. “This year’s Annual Charity Wine Auction took on special meaning, given the challenges our industry has seen and continues to see,” she said in a prepared statement. “It was profoundly gratifying to see so many of my industry colleagues join together to raise nearly $235,000 to fund our mission of keeping families with critically ill or injured children in their homes while their child is in treatment. Their dedication embodies the spirit of our industry’s leadership and the Opens Doors mission.”

To ensure proceeds are delivered to the right families, officials work closely with a network of 13 hospital across the country. The hospitals are:

  • Hospital Network 13 hospitals in 8 states plus DC:
  • Akron Children’s Hospital, Akron, OH
  • Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA  
  • Children’s Hospital Colorado, Aurora, CO
  • Children’s Hospital LA, Los Angeles, CA
  • Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA         
  • Children's Hospital at Saint Francis, Tulsa, OK
  • Children's National Medical System, Washington, DC
  • Cook Children’s Hospital, Fort Worth, TX
  • Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital/Stanford Children’s Health, Palo Alto, CA
  • Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, Boston, MA
  • Peyton Manning Children's Hospital Indianapolis, IN
  • Texas Children’s Hospital Houston
  • UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, San Francisco

Grants of up to $2,000 are made monthly to families with a child in treatment at one of the hospitals, Dubois said. Today, the MBA-generated funds benefit roughly 300 families every month, officials confirmed.

“Even as the market has presented challenges to our industry, the spirit and motivation to help families less fortunate than their own is as strong as it ever was,” she said.  

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