Since 2021, $26,000 Benefited Three Local High Need Organizations.
It’s no surprise connection and community are the heart of Dickson Realty. It’s apparent in the passion employees and agents demonstrate in helping people — from the relationships built with clients to the collaborative partnerships fostered with local organizations. It’s also evident in the growing financial support, internally and externally, of the Dickson Community Fund.
As the Community Fund nears its third year of giving, it continues to grow its mission to support local organizations in need and improve the area we all call home. Chris Galli, Vice President of Relocation, helped establish the Community Fund during the pandemic in 2020 alongside Dickson owners Rebecca Dickson, Harvey, Nancy and Tom Fennell, Beau Keenan and Jeff Giesler. He says it was a natural progression of the organization’s long-standing philanthropic spirit.
“Our owners have always donated to organizations, but creating the Dickson Community Fund was a way to make it a more focused and structured endeavor,” Chris says. “During COVID, when we couldn’t host our annual holiday party, the owners created the Community Fund instead. Now, realtors and clients can donate to it from their closings automatically.”
Chris says that Dickson clients and 350 real estate agents donating a portion of their closing to the Fund adds up quickly — which will help support an organization with great need in 2024. With last year’s Community Fund success for Northern Nevada HOPES, he says momentum is building toward creating an endowment fund in the new year. The Community Fund’s 2023 recipient review process will begin at the end of this year and be announced during February 2024’s Economic Summit.
“We are connectors in the community. When people are new to the area and want to get established within the community, we can connect them with anyone they need,” Chris says. “If they have special interests or job needs, we can tie them to the right organizations. We want to make the community that we live in a much better place for all of us, and we work hard to do that.”
Dickson Community Fund’s Impact Throughout the Years
2021: Supporting Local Education Organizations
The pandemic shined a light on those in the area with the greatest needs. After considering where the Community Fund could provide the most support, local students and children’s organizations were selected as the first recipients. In 2021, the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows received $5,000. This helped support the BGC’s offerings of before and after-school programs, tutoring, arts and recreation.
The Fund also supported the Student Emergency Fund for the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Nevada, Reno. Through a $1,000 donation, university students could receive help with basic needs for food, living expenses and textbooks.
2022: Community Health Needs Skyrocket
Local organizations continued to recover from the pandemic’s impact well into 2022, especially those in the health care and community health industries. Northern Nevada HOPES — a nonprofit community health center that provides medical and wellness services to the insured, uninsured and underserved — was selected as the Community Fund’s second recipient. As the housing crisis increased in Reno, so did homelessness. Many people also lost jobs and health care during the pandemic. This began to overwhelm the HOPES community services.
After opening its first HIV clinic in 1997 and quickly growing to meet the needs of the community, HOPES reached capacity in 2022 and began turning away 40–60 new patients daily. It was time for the next step: outreach and fundraising for its expansion project. The goal was to grow its health care offerings, such as its intensive outpatient program (IOP) for Medicaid patients, and double its capability to serve 12,000 more patients. It also aimed to include transitional and low-income housing, a Same-Day clinic, and the ability to connect qualified Medicaid individuals with their benefits.
The Dickson Community Fund provided HOPES with a $20,000 gift — a $15,000 increase over the Community Fund’s first-year contribution. This April, HOPES opened its Bell Street location and will continue working toward achieving its expansion goals.
Chris says last year’s donation was an incredible increase from the first. He says the Community Fund strives for a larger donation amount for the 2023 recipient, which could lead to a more significant community impact.
What’s Next for Dickson Community Fund?
Expanding the Community Fund’s donations is not the only focus. Chris says there is a growing need to create an advisory committee. The Dickson owners and Chris work as a team to review organizations that could benefit the most from the Community Fund’s donation. They have also utilized external input from economic resources, such as the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN).
Once created, the advisory committee will review local organizations’ needs, assess where the funds would best benefit the community and recommend the recipient to the Dickson leadership team.
Ultimately, the Community Fund will be open to community donations through the Dickson website, Chris says, completing the three-phase inception launch of the Community Fund — educate Dickson employees and agents, open donations to clients through closings and provide an online donation feature.
“As a hyper-local organization, this is one way we’re actively working to improve the areas we live in and make them even better. As community connectors, this is just one more tool to try to help our local organizations that need it the most,” Chris says.