From the frontlines to front porches, the mortgage industry has quickly found ways to support those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The devastating consequences of the virus reached many parts of the housing industry, and most notably, the ability to call a place home, as the record number of job losses and forbearance requests show people’s fight to be able to stay in their houses.
One of the few things that nearly all people in our industry can agree on is that everyone is working toward the same mission – supporting the American dream.
But to continue to support that dream, everyone has to unite together in the fight against the global pandemic. Here are only a handful of the many initiatives that the industry has introduced to help aid the relief efforts.
Proptech platform EasyKnock announced it established a nonprofit to aid struggling homeowners stay in their homes, as the recent economic disruptions caused by COVID-19 have the potential to significantly displace families.
Created by Jarred Kessler, CEO of EasyKnock, the company stated that its new nonprofit, The Stay Mission, was introduced to help families at risk of losing their homes due to evictions or foreclosure filings. Looking at the long-term impact of coronavirus, The Stay Mission’s goal is to help the millions of Americans that could be out of work or underemployed.
“We’re living in unprecedented times,” Kessler said. “Due to this pandemic, more and more Americans are behind on their mortgage or rent payments and struggling to keep a roof over their heads. Through the launch of our nonprofit, we hope to do our part to ease the burden on American homeowners.”
For this year alone, The Stay Mission plans to donate $100,000 to charity partners and also has a larger goal of donating $1 million over the course of 5 years. The nonprofit plans to partner with four to five organizations that align with its goals
Veterans United Home Loans
Sending support to the same people it serves, Veterans United Home Loans launched #HereForOurHeroes, an initiative that offers people a way to share encouraging messages to those working on the frontlines. These frontline workers include National Guardsmen, first responders, healthcare workers and other military personnel who are helping in the COVID-19 relief efforts.
Personalized messages that were submitted online were printed on postcards and sent with Operation Gratitude care packages. To financially support Operation Gratitude, the VA lender also pledged $250,000 for care packages shipments to 50,000 military COVID-19 frontline responders.
Operation Gratitude is a nonprofit that is dedicated to forging strong bonds between Americans and their military and first responder heroes through volunteer service projects, acts of gratitude, and meaningful engagements in communities nationwide. According to the nonprofit, every year they send more than 300,000 individually addressed care packages to soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coast guardsmen deployed overseas, to their children left behind, and to first responders, new recruits, veterans, wounded heroes and their caregivers.
“Since 1636, Guardsman have stood at the ready assisting citizens across the United States,” said retired Chief Master Sgt. Denise Jelinski-Hall, 3rd Senior Enlisted Advisor National Guard Bureau. “Today, they stand again on the frontlines in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Receiving a letter of gratitude shows Guardsmen how much they’re valued and appreciated.”
Like many other companies, Ellie Mae was forced to pivot its annual conference, Ellie Mae Experience, adjusting to a new, virtual way of conducting conferences and networking opportunities. However, while the company had to redesign its plans for the conference, it didn’t abandon the various initiatives that it created to give back during the in-person event. It simply adjusted how it would look.
The first initiative wasn’t COVID-19 focused, but it would’ve brought many smiles to those who attended, lightening the mood as the virus surely would have been at the forefront of every conversation.
For its event, Ellie Mae partnered with Pawsome, an organization that was going to bring in therapy dogs for all the attendees. Not only did Ellie Mae remain committed to its financial donation to the organization, but it also donated all of the pet gear, such as leashes, dog bowls and dog beds intended for attendees to a local humane society.
On top of bringing in therapy dogs, Ellie Mae not only delivered on its original plans to help frontline workers, but it created additional ways to give back. Based in California, the first state to declare a stay-at-home order, Ellie Mae found new ways to give back to the community, using its platform and the conference to unite people together in the cause.
The company was prepared for 3,000 to 4,000 people to all be together in one place, meaning they had a surplus of resources like hand sanitizers and masks that are extremely important during a pandemic. Since all the supplies were shipped to the company’s headquarters in Pleasanton, Calif., it gave them the opportunity to reach out to their community and find the places that really needed supplies.
Those masks were also not the only masks that Ellie Mae had on hand. Since they have two very large office buildings on their campus, as a normal precaution, they have a supply of masks in the event that there could be a fire.
Given the shortage of masks available for frontline workers, the company assessed their internal supplies for the exact number they would need for when they return to take care of their employees, but everything else they donated to one of the hardest hit areas in the Bay Area, Santa Clara, giving their supplies to a hospital in the epicenter of the city’s coronavirus fight.
Looking at Ellie Mae’s redesigned Virtual Experience 2020 conference, they even found ways to include additional relief efforts at the virtual conference and after.
After reading stories every day about first-line responders who don’t have enough personal protection equipment to get by, Ellie Mae said it would donate $10 for every person that attends Virtual Experience to GetUsPPE.org. The organization’s mission is to help communities get personal protective equipment to healthcare providers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Then after the conference, Ellie Mae said it would stay true to its commitment to Operation Gratitude, the nonprofit organization whose mission is to connect Americans and their military and first responder heroes. Once the company is back in the office, they’re going to make sure that they make good on that promise, creating the welcome packets and donating them to Operation Gratitude.
“A cornerstone of who Ellie Mae is and how we were founded was with a very philanthropic culture,” Ellie Mae Chief Operating Officer Joe Tyrrell said. “Every year we’re doing something through our Ellie Cares initiative, whether it’s helping military families or Habitat for Humanity.
Commenting on the company’s decision to donate to frontline works, Tyrrell said that it’s true to who they are as a company.
“Anything we can do to give back to the people that are really making big sacrifices during this time, we’re going to try,” he said.
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