Million Dollar Milestone

Agents at an Ohio brokerage understand the impact their donations
have on children and their families

By Amandah T. Blackwell

Dennis & Mary Lou Steed

One of the network’s largest and most productive multi-office brokerages is also one of its most generous. Associates at northern Ohio’s RE/MAX Crossroads recently surpassed $1 million in total donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

The Cleveland-area office group, led by Broker/Owners Mary Lou and Dennis Steed and boasting the second-largest number of transaction sides in the Northern Ohio Regional MLS, celebrated the milestone at the firm’s annual party in October.

Dennis Steed was inspired to introduce the CMN Hospitals effort to his agents after attending the 1994 RE/MAX convention, where he met a Miracle Child and learned about the Miracle Home Program.

“I was completely on board,” he says. “I got back to Strongsville, met with our agents and shared the story. The agents immediately asked, ‘How do we get involved?’ I told them about making a donation after every transaction, and they committed right away. We’ve been a steady contributor ever since.”

Across seven locations, RE/MAX Crossroads has 100 percent agent participation in the Miracle Home Program. Donations support two local hospitals – Cleveland’s Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and Akron Children’s Hospital.

Debbie Lewis (Manager, Strategic Community Initiatives / Senior Development at University Hospital, Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital) and Nicci Avalon (Program Manager at Akron Children’s Hospital)
Debbie Lewis (Manager, Strategic Community Initiatives/Senior Development at University Hospital, Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital) and Nicci Avalon (Program Manager at Akron Children’s Hospital)

Agents contribute either a percentage or dollar amount after each transaction. The donation is made in the client’s name, and an Honor Card is sent to the buyer or seller letting them know about the donation. “When clients find out about our connection with CMN Hospitals, they really like it,” says Joe Dirk, Team Leader of Joe Dirk and Associates in Rocky River, Ohio.

From the hospital’s perspective, the support is invaluable. “RE/MAX Crossroads sets the gold standard as far as we’re concerned,” says Nicci Avalon of Akron Children’s Hospital. “Agents can give $5, $25 or even more per transaction. It all adds up. The funds help us implement and keep programs going, such as art therapy, support groups and more.”

Kelly Peters, who’s been with RE/MAX Crossroads in Canton for 14 years, knows what it’s like to have a child who needs specialized medical care. “My daughter was three months old and in intensive care at Akron Children’s Hospital; she had double pneumonia and a double ear infection. It was scary. But she received the medical attention she needed, and now she’s 8 and happy, healthy and spunky.”

Mary Lou and Dennis Steed are incredibly generous themselves – with their time and money. They usually hold their March business meetings at the hospitals and take time to tour different units. And they’ve been known to bid big during the CMN Hospitals auctions at the annual RE/MAX R4 conventions and Broker/Owner Conferences. They’re involved on a national level, too, staying connected with the CMN Hospitals team to help expand support. Thanks to accounting staff member Sue Sisti, who helped test the redesigned RE/MAX Miracle System earlier this year, handling donations for the mega-brokerage is a smooth, seamless process.

Debbie Lewis of Rainbow Babies Hospital says the Steeds and their agents have had a profound impact.

“RE/MAX Crossroads is a great example of long-term commitment. Their donations are used for whatever the hospital needs, from specific equipment to extras like giving kids a moment of fun in the playroom.

“They’ve helped more children and families than they can imagine.”

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2 comments

Mary Lou is my sister, and Dennis is my brother-in-law. Their giving attitude extends from their business to personal life. I unfortunately messed up my first marriage and ended up 3 states away from my two young children. Mary Lou and Dennis have provided so much in love and support for myself, and my ex-wife and two children for over 30 years – helping maintain relationships and providing so many beautiful memories. Thank you for honoring them with this article. They do more than any of us individually know. I hope their unselfish giving inspires others this Christmas season.

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