We Are Minnesota

A unifying rally cry for Realtors® across the state

Duck duck gray duck, tater tot hotdish, friendly people, and love of community.
These are a few of the things that make us unique.

At heart, Minnesota is about people coming together to make our state a healthier, happier place to live. From volunteering at soup kitchens to serving on school boards and city councils, Minnesota Realtors® generously give their time, talent and energy to help those in need, and make Minnesota one of the best places in America.

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Minnesota Realtors® Making a Difference

photo of a painting class

Realtor® Danielle Rhodes is devoting her time and energy to helping her community build a new place for learning; the Duluth Folk School.  Danielle has provided a range of assistance and isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty; she has demolished and re-built walls and scraped glue and paint.  She was also instrumental in establishing the board and completing the paperwork to file as a 501(c)3.  Danielle is an “oh-so-talented” artist; she shares this skill by being a class instructor of watercolor techniques. 

Bryan French, the Duluth Folk School’s Executive Director describes Danielle and her contributions as “thoughtful, positive, creative and thorough.  Danielle is definitely a model Realtor®… we would be a poorer organization without her contributions.”

photo of two women in front of cleaning supplies

Fargo-Moorhead Area Association of Realtors® (FMAAR) turned an annual fundraiser into monthly donation drives for nonprofits and groups in need in the Fargo-Moorhead area. Most recently, the association held a “Clean Start” effort, collecting cleaning supplies for the YWCA Cass Clay. Together, FMAAR collected 5 boxes of much-needed supplies!

Read more about their monthly efforts: https://bit.ly/MNR_WEAreMN_FMAAR

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The Greater Lakes Association of Realtors® Foundation is stepping up for veterans across Minnesota. Wanting to put a unique spin on their fundraiser, the foundation decided to hold a clay shoot to benefit the nonprofit Homeless and Wounded Warriors of MN. The nonprofit assists veterans and their families with resources and support. Together the GLAR team raised nearly $4000 to help veterans across the state.

photo of a group of people standing in front of a house with a large check

The Minneapolis Area Realtors® Foundation is stepping up to help veterans and address homelessness. They presented the Housing First MN Foundation with a check for $25,000 for the construction of a Housing for Heroes home in North Minneapolis! With a lack of housing inventory impacting people from all walks of life, the project is a unique opportunity to help create the much-needed housing for people transitioning out of homelessness. The transitional housing project for homeless veterans is a partnership with the MN Assistance Council for Veterans, with construction set to begin this year.

photo of a group of people standing in front of a house making a house gesture with their hands

The Greater Alexandria Area Association of Realtors, Inc. is stepping up to help build a strong community.

Each year, the GAAAR Realtors® partner with Habitat for Humanity of Douglas County to work on one of the local builds. This year, the group was tasked with adding additional curb appeal to newly constructed homes. The team of Realtors® added landscaping rocks, planted trees, and added some lush greenery to new homes. Together the group was able to complete landscaping work for 5 area homes!

photo of a family dressed in winter gear

U.S. Army veteran & Realtor® Steven James is on a mission to help his fellow veterans. After hearing the news that one of Steven’s soldiers had committed suicide, Steven started a nonprofit to help as many vets as possible, founding Veterans In The Outdoors (VITO) in the spring of 2017 to help veterans and their loved ones reconnect with nature, combat PTSD, and promote suicide awareness.

Read more about Steven James & V.I.T.O here

photo of a woman speaking in front of a group of people

Realtor® Seanne Thomas is working to close Minnesota’s racial housing gap – one home, community meeting, and person at a time. Rooted in community, Seanne started ABC Realty, LLC to help break down barriers to homeownership.

ABC Realty works closely with the Eastside St. Paul community to host events like community conversations about housing with the Eastside Freedom Library. The brokerage has also become a launchpad for young professionals starting in their careers.

“The process of buying & selling real estate is a vehicle to do some real advocacy work.”

photo of a woman and a girl standing in Christmas lights

Minnesota Lands and Homes Real Estate team is shining a light during difficult times. When the Celebrate Redwood Falls ‘Night Falls’ event needed to be adjusted to be a drive-through light show in Ramsey Park, the Minnesota Lands & Homes team sprang into action to help. Together their team decorated rocks, trees, and signs in hundreds of lights! The large, beautiful park was covered in lights, and helped the show go on for the annual event!

“Times are hard and anything we can do to help bring a smile to just one person is a win in our books!”- Realtor® Dani Haas

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For Realtor® Sara Anderson volunteering has always been an important way to give back, make connections, and do some good in the world. After hearing a presentation about The Open Door’s mission to help bring healthy food to those in need in the southeast metro, Sara jumped into volunteering. Starting in the non-profit organization’s mobile pantry, she eventually joined the Board of Directors. When the pandemic began, The Open Door had to shut down the mobile pantry. But the team did not abandon its mission to help as many people as possible. Swinging into action, they launched a contactless drive-through pick-up site. It was a huge success: The Open Door was able to help feed over 20,000 people per month!

photo of a large group of people standing in front of a building

Seeing first-hand how COVID affected the community across southeast Minnesota, the Southeast Minnesota Realtors® (SEMR) joined together to create a campaign to make a real difference.

They launched the SEMR Giving Campaign, selecting businesses and nonprofits in each regional hub to receive funds that SEMR matched by up to $10,000 per community! Together they raised $112,000 to help local organizations!

image of food bank

After hearing that many local food shelves & nonprofits were struggling financially in their region, the West Central Association of Realtors® (WCAR) Board of Directors jumped into action and sent out a challenge to Realtors®: contribute to any food shelf or nonprofit, and WCAR would put their name in a drawing for two $50 donations made to the food bank of their choice.

Realtors® from across West Central Minnesota meet the challenge, with both cash and food donations being made to food bank & nonprofits across 5 counties and 2 cities, and so far $1100 - and counting - has been raised!

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Though Jona Flores has only been a Realtor® for a short time, she is already making waves in the real estate community.

A volunteer with the Minneapolis Area Realtors® Foundation & Minneapolis Area Realtors®’ Young Professionals Network (YPN), Jona is driven to help end homelessness & bridge the racial housing gap in Minnesota.

Jona sees volunteering as her social responsibility and is deeply passionate about being proactive in addressing the issues affecting communities and people across the state.

image of greater alexandria realtors

After hearing the Habitat for Humanity of Douglas County was in need of donations, the Greater Alexandria Area Association of Realtors® (GAAAR) organized a Saint Patrick’s Day-themed donation event with the catchy slogan: “Help fill our pot o’gold for the ReStore!” 🍀🌈 And fill they did!

With 30 pick-up stops and over 25 GAAAR members participating, together they completely filled the ReStore’s shed with donations!

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Seeing an overwhelming need due to COVID, Realtor® Amy Murphy jumped into action & organized a socially distanced food drive for VEAP (Volunteers Enlisted to Assist People). Together Amy & her neighbors collected over 400lbs of food!

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After the loss of his infant daughter, Realtor® Dr. Ken Larson founded the Northern Lights Foundation in Duluth in 2007. The organization’s mission is to provide financial support to families with children who have life-threatening illnesses. Through their work, they have distributed over 200 grants and more than $500,000 to families in Minnesota. Ken’s work offers families a much needed light in a dark time.

image of Itasca County Realtors

The Itasca County Board of Realtors® stepped up to support nonprofits that focus on supporting their community in three important areas: health, honor, and food. Together they have raised $7,200 for the nonprofits: New Leaf Healing, Itasca County Veterans, and Second Harvest Heartland!

image of SPAAR foundation

With the number of unsheltered in Minnesota having risen 200% since last spring, the SPAAR Foundation is helping their community stay safe during the subzero temperatures. They teamed up with the Minnesota Homeless Response and jumped into action to collect and distribute hand and foot warmers to help keep people safe & warm.

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A shining star in his community In central Minnesota, Realtor® Tyler Hanson volunteers for multiple local programs, doing everything from helping with boy scout troop trips to assisting with fundraisers at Project Turnabout – a local treatment center that offers hope for a brighter future to people who are suffering from addiction. Tyler regularly volunteers his time being on the board of directors for the Boy Scouts, Wilmar’s Barn Theatre, and Project Turnabout.

image of Coldwell Banker Realty

Every year, the Coldwell Banker Realty Edina Regional Office with a different community charity or nonprofit. For the second year in a row, the team sponsored DAV’s (Disabled American Veterans) Homeless Veteran Project. Together, their agents raised over $4,000 for the project, and with matching grants from the Coldwell Banker Charitable Foundation were able to present DAV with a check for $8,000.

image of Leah & Jill

Realtors® Leah Drury & Jill Numrich have always had a passion for helping people during transitional moments. The two teamed up in 2014 to not only give their clients exceptional service but to also help address housing challenges in the community. To do that, their team committed to setting aside a portion of each commission to the organizations PRG, Inc. & Haven Housing.

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Each year, RASM Realtors® make tie blankets to donate to The Reach – a drop-in center in Mankato for youth who are at risk of or are experiencing homelessness. This year, they made 103 blankets! Blankets were also donated to veterans in St. Peter.

2020 Stories


Realtor® Jessica Lamker volunteers with Loaves & Fishes – a nonprofit that works to serve fresh meals for people across the state. Prior to the pandemic, Jessica & her volunteer team would cook & serve up to 150 meals. During COVID, volunteering has looked different, but Jessica and her team are still able to come together to help feed people, as food insecurity has become even more prevalent because of the pandemic.

Jessica & her team are still able to help their community and together they’ve made 80 boxed meals for people!


In April 2020, brokerage owners Decker and Bonnie Velie launched the Velie Real Estate Foundation, a disaster-relief organization that assists Twin Cities residents and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as destruction from civil unrest. In only a few months, the Velies have raised almost $50,000 from individual donors.


Lisa Dunn’s passion for helping seniors led her into real estate. Through her work she founded The Silver Closet to help seniors in need. In their first six months, Silver Closet was able to supply 8 seniors with everything they needed to get their home started.


The Century 21 Red Shoe Team in New Ulm donated supplies and cash to the Crisis Nursery in New Ulm!


Realtor® Jerry Moscowitz made it his mission to ensure the holiday felt special for families & children in Minnesota. Last December, Jerry Moscowitz & his family hosted their 35th annual Toys for Tots drive where they would collect between 500-700 toys for children. Together with the donations of friends, family, and Realtors®, they were able to collect 1,028 toys this year, smashing the previous record of 774!


For Realtor® Denise Sjoberg, volunteering is an important aspect of her life – and it hasn’t slowed down even during the pandemic. Denise has been stepping up & volunteering with the Open Door to ensure people have access to fresh food. Since March 2020, Denise & volunteers have served over 20,000 people in need!


The Realtors® as Neighbors organized a Give Thanks event for the members of the Lake Superior Area Realtors® to give back this holiday season. As part of their “Realtors® As Neighbors” group, they participated in a “Join-Give-Thank” event & a Best Christmas Ever (BCE) campaign to help families!


Every year Realtor® Joslyn & Nicholas Solomon write ‘Santa Letters’ to children and adults – and Joslyn personalizes every single one! In total this year, Joslyn & Nicholas wrote just under 500 letters to families!


Hearing that their local food shelf was in need, the New Ulm Real Estate jumped in & set-up a contest to help collect food & donations! Together, they raised $815 and over 150lbs of food, plus lots of soaps and tissues, for their local food shelf!


Shelly and her band Shell Shock regularly play for local fundraisers including for Treatment for Trails – a nonprofit that hosts events to raise money for cancer patients.  Shelly also helps organize an event called Trash the Dress for MDS – an annual ATV Ride held in memory of her son after who passed away from MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome) in 2014. Riders wear dresses & help raise money for Treatment for Trails. In 2020, they raised over $12,000!

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Realtor® Natalie Webster wanted to show her support & appreciation for health care workers in a special way this holiday season, so Natalie teamed up with Santa & local businesses to surprise health care workers and their families with virtual visits as well as and donating services to local businesses!

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Realtor® Troy Deutz is passionate about helping the people and organizations that are the backbone of the Marshall community. Volunteering with several organizations in Marshall, including Prairie Home Hospice and Community Care, Ruby’s Pantry, and Toys for Tots, Troy does everything from auctioneering to helping pack meals for food drives.


Realtor® Steve Havig isn’t just passionate about real estate, he’s passionate about people. Steve is involved with a number of nonprofits and charities, including Kids Promise to Charity - an organization that builds homes in Vietnam – and Simpson Housing Services - a Twin Cities nonprofit whose mission is to house, support, and advocate for people experiencing homelessness. Steve is a sponsor for Art 4 Shelter - a major fundraiser held by Simpsons Housing Services - and most recently joined their board of directors.


As a volunteer with Lakeville Optimist Club, Realtor® Nanci Stoddard volunteers alongside other club members, and many fellow Realtors®, to advance development, hope, and a positive vision for local youth. Nanci works on a number of projects for the club, including helping grade school children collect much-needed snack packs, school supplies, and other resources.


Passion about helping others and advocating for equity, Realtor® and 2020 President of Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) Twin Cities, Shannon Lindstrom jumped in to support the community during a time of need. During the summer of 2020, AREAA co-sponsored food donations and also helped package and distribute the produce to families in need at Neighborhood House in Saint Paul. Together they collected and distributed 2,374 pounds of food!


As a Realtor® & a volunteer with Project Haiti, Brenda Mehr is used to making people smile in Minnesota and across the globe. In the spring of 2019, Brenda visited Pignon, Haiti and helped the dental clinic assess their needs so they can continue to provide dental services to their community year-round. It is Brenda’s hope that they can raise funds to send supplies to keep the dental clinic open to treat patients and spread smiles in Pignon.


Tess is a volunteer with Majestic Hills Ranch and their therapeutic riding program for children and young adults with special needs. She assists with catching the horses, grooming them and tacking in preparation for the riding sessions, in addition to leading horses and riders around the arena.

image of Mallorie

Mallorie works with the Red Shoe Society – this picture is from the Brew Love fundraising event that raised money for the houses in the Twin Cities.

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When Detroit Lakes was asked what would enhance their community the answer was more art! So the Lakes County Association of Realtors® team got to work raising money and searching for an artist. After 6 months of work, the “Glassinator” was brought to life!

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Jason and his furry-costumed friend, Curt the Bear, regularly spreads joy to their Willmar community. The pair enjoys walking, waving, and bringing smiles to the children and elderly residents to offer a fun relief.

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A shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) was putting the health and safety of essential workers across Minnesota at risk. So Lake Superior Area Realtors® (LSAR) came together and volunteered with the nonprofit charity Ecolibrium 3’s Pay it Forward PPE project to help assemble the much needed PPE face shields for essential workers. Together they cranked out 6,000 units in a single session!

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For more than 25 years, LeRoy J. Bendickson has led bike teams to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Minnesota Chapter. His “Real Estate Riders” team raised $250K in 2019, and since he began, his teams have raised nearly $2.5 million.

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Geri and Mike scored some sweat equity for future generations by planting a young maple at Redwood Falls Park. The Scenic City Realty brokers joined other community volunteers during the town’s annual Tree-Planting program.

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Emily sews cloth masks for her students and community after seeing the need for protective masks. Emily has made over 200 masks for Duluth area schools, hospitals, recovery centers, friends/co-workers and plans to keep going as long as needed.

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Chuck and his daughter Becca put on the free family friendly weekend of outdoor events called I.C.E. Fest. This event raises money for Flyer Pride Packs, a program that helps support at-risk children in the Little Falls school district by sending them home with a bag of food that is nutritious, nonperishable and easy to prepare. Last year they raised $15,000.

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Bill volunteers with Twin Cities Adaptive Cycling (TCAP), which is a community-based cycling program for youth and adults with disabilities that offers low-cost use of adaptive bikes and equipment. Bill greets the participants and helps get their bikes ready before they are ready to bike.

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Deb helps develop service dogs for Can Do Canines. This organization is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for people with disabilities by creating mutually beneficial partnerships with specially trained dogs.

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Realtor® Anita White wanted to help her local coffee shop The Daily Espresso Cafe during COVID-19. She gave them $100 for a “pay it forward” fund to pay coffee forward to the next person. This started 104 straight days of customers continuing the random act of kindness, and led to $10K in donations.

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Amy dedicates spare moments to local charity fundraisers; the Lunch Buddy mentoring program for school kids; and helps out at the public library, her church, and maintaining the flower garden at Kiwanis Park.

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Ann and Jess pitched in to transform a pile of lumber and packing palettes into the Willmar Destination Playground. Constructing the 19,000 square-foot playground was a labor-intensive project that drew hundreds of volunteers.

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Alissa has volunteered with Small Dog Rescue of Minnesota for the past 10 years and is a media spokesperson. After being featured on a news segment, many of these dogs find new loving homes. Small Dog Rescue of Minnesota is committed to the rescue, rehabilitation, and placement of dogs 20 pounds and under.

photo of Robin Gwaltney

During the school year, the Gwaltneys are volunteer, live-in resident managers for Rochester Better Chance and surrogate parents to six teenage boys from across the United States.

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Each week, Amy shares a meal with unsheltered friends in St. Paul, and brings resources, candles, donations and blessing bags. Amy and her husband pack up 40 bags each month with the help of community partners to give to Walking With a Purpose.

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Premier Real Estate representing and raising money for the Salvation Army during Minnesota Realtor® Ring Day!