How Guaranteed Rate donated over $7 million in 2020

Distant but not disconnected

Guaranteed Rate Giving Back

Every month, Guaranteed Rate CEO Victor Ciardelli sits down and reads through story after story of people who are working to overcome extraordinary hardships and are in need of financial support, looking at ways the company can step in and provide help. 

This is one of the final steps in the application process for the Guaranteed Rate Foundation, and it’s the part of the process that keeps the mission of the foundation close to home for Ciardelli. 

By reading each story on how they can help a person who’s in hardship and going through a tremendous amount of pain, whether that’s providing relief for them mentally or physically, Ciardelli said that it constantly reminds him about the difference and impact that they’re able to make in the lives of people who really need it.

“We can’t free it up for them completely, but we can make a big difference in their lives,” Ciardelli said. 

So far, since the foundation launched in 2012, the difference that Ciardelli is talking about can be seen in the more than $4.7 million to over 1,470 individuals that the foundation has provided in relief.

The foundation was built to help specific people who are in desperate need of help, Ciardelli said, with funds going to help recipients who have been affected by domestic violence, homelessness, medical emergencies, natural disasters and the unexpected loss of loved ones. On the application page on the foundation’s website, it says, “We realize it can be difficult to ask for help in times of need, which is why we strive to make the process as simple as possible.” It then asks applicants to provide a detailed summary of their hardship to start the process.

In 2020 alone, the foundation has granted over $1.3 million, along with $7.8 million from Guaranteed Rate, showing that even in a year of social distancing, they weren’t disconnected from those who need financial relief. 

“Karma is a real thing,” Ciardelli said as last year came to a close and Guaranteed Rate was able to announce its last big initiative for the year. “I’m a big believer that the more you give, the more it all comes back. The more we grow, the more good we can do to help people in need. This year, we’ve doubled loan volume to $73 billion, and tripled revenue from $1 billion to $3 billion. We’re so thankful to be in a position to help.”

At the start of 2020, right after COVID-19 started to close down most of America and families were forced to stay at home, Guaranteed Rate launched an initiative to purchase meals for those experiencing food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through employee-led contributions, the company was able to donate more than 4.2 million meals to those in need. The goal at the time was to raise $500,000 in one week to purchase food for pantries across the country. Surpassing its goal, the company was able to raise over $600,000, which included a dollar-for-dollar match from Guaranteed Rate.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating to so many individuals and communities,” Ciardelli said at the time. “After seeing all the heartbreaking news stories and the stark images of empty food pantries around the country at this unprecedented time of need, we wanted to do something to help.”

Then, halfway through last year and following the same theme of rallying together in a short amount of time, Guaranteed Rate donated to the largest domestic hunger-relief organization in the U.S., Feeding America. The organization provides meals to more than 40 million people each year through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs. 

To support this organization, which was witnessing a spike in need and a decrease in volunteers at the time, employees came together and contributed more than $1 million to help provide meals for individuals and families across the country, with Guaranteed Rate then adding a two-for-one dollar company match to what was raised. In total, they raised $3.4 million for Feeding America.

The final initiative from Guaranteed Rate and the Guaranteed Rate Foundation focused on helping provide basic necessities to children living in poverty, donating to the nonprofit Baby2Baby. The nonprofit is uniquely positioned with strong buying power that allows them to buy essentials substantially below retail cost.

Through its initiative, Guaranteed Love, the company’s employees, families and friends were able to provide essential items to children nationwide through Baby2Baby. The total amount donated, which was over $3.3 million, translates into approximately 4 million diapers, 80,000 cans of formula, 80,000 packs of wipes, 40,000 warm coats, 40,000 blankets, 12,000 pairs of pajamas and 12,000 toys.

“As a company, we are blessed to be in a position to make such a positive difference,” Ciardelli said after the donation to Baby2Baby. “We have an amazing group of incredibly generous employees who came together yet again to make a real impact on so many families and children. By working together, we can accomplish amazing things.”

While Guaranteed Rate is one of the largest mortgage lenders in the industry, its story of a booming and record-breaking mortgage origination year is not too different from many others in the industry. Refinance business thrived on record-low interest rates, and this demand is expected to continue into this year. 

Ciardelli urged all CEOs and leaders to find ways to integrate giving back into their mission, just as Guaranteed Rate’s No. 1 core value is to grow for good. 

“Personally, I think that it should be a mission for every CEO, no matter what size organization, to give what you can and work together,” he said. “By having more CEOs out there being able to drive initiatives like this, you’re talking about an incredible amount of power that is created as far as being able to help individuals.”

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