Windermere Community May 14, 2024

Kicking Off the 35th Anniversary of the Windermere Foundation

SOURCE: Windermere

This year we’re celebrating the 35th anniversary of the Windermere Foundation, the non-profit arm of Windermere Real Estate. Since 1989, agents and offices across our network have given back to the communities where Windermere operates. We’ve raised over $53 million and supported thousands of our neighbors in need throughout the Western U.S.

Last year the Windermere Foundation donated $3.7 million to 607 non-profit organizations dedicated to assisting low-income and homeless families. Donations provided emergency assistance, supported youth programs, food support, and shelter.

Our 2023 Community Impact Report outlines our efforts and is available to download and read here.

To start off 2024 on the right foot, our offices in Spokane, WA, and Lake Oswego, OR are doing their part to support low-income and homeless families in their communities through grants and fundraising events.


Helping Refugees Thrive in Spokane, WA

Five white people pose smiling with a giant check in a boardroom. The Thrive International logo is on the wall behind them.

Image Source: Windermere Spokane

In their annual grant review, Windermere Spokane considered 32 applications for their 2024 Windermere Foundation donations and were able to grant funds to 11 organizations. While they were able to support a handful of organizations they have donated to previously, they were able to add some new non-profits to their list, including Thrive International.

The stories submitted by Thrive about their temporary housing for refugees struck a chord with a group of Windermere Foundation representatives who come from seven Spokane-area Windermere offices. The funds will help refugee families access housing in a moment when shelter is so important. In addition to temporary housing, Thrive also offers education and empowerment programs to residents, which have helped lead so many into further housing and successful transitions as immigrants to the greater Spokane area. Read on for a story about Yuliia, a Ukrainian refugee who was assisted by Thrive.

Yuliia’s Story

Yuliia smiles in front of a lit neon sign in the shape of the Thrive International logo.

Image Source: With Permission from Thrive International and Windermere Spokane

Yuliia is from Ukraine. She unexpectedly started her journey to come to the United States in May of 2022, just three months after the Russian-Ukrainian war started. Initially, leaving her homeland was not a part of Yuliia’s plans. However, when bombs blasted in her city, she made the difficult decision to seek a secure haven for her family.

“Everything was so good. My life was good before everything happened,” said Yuliia. She was a hardworking administrative manager at a company in Ukraine. Yuliia and her husband had just bought their first home; however, their lives took an abrupt turn when their city became a danger zone, leading them to sell their car to afford flights for their journey to the United States in pursuit of refuge.

Arriving in the U.S. with little more than the clothes in their suitcases, Yuliia faced the daunting challenge of rebuilding her life from scratch. She said, “When we came here, we didn’t have anything. We didn’t have money. We didn’t have any documents. It just looked like we were starting from zero.”

Amidst linguistic and cultural barriers, Yuliia discovered Thrive Center in June, becoming one of its first residents. With the support of Thrive staff, she found not only employment but also a community where she could make connections with other Ukrainian refugees and get help with medical insurance, workshops, and educational resources. Starting as a front desk assistant at a dental clinic, Yuliia’s journey has come full circle as she now serves as the Assistant to the General Manager at Thrive Center.

Expressing gratitude for the opportunities she’s been given, Yuliia finds joy in empowering others to thrive. Yuliia’s story shows resilience and hope amidst adversity. From the once-thriving administrative manager in Ukraine to the unexpected refugee seeking safety in the United States and helping others at Thrive Center, her journey is a testament to the strength of the human spirit.

Stories like Yuliiua’s inspired the Windermere team reviewing applications to fulfill the grant with their available Windermere Foundation funds.

Emma Reeves, with the Windermere Foundation in Spokane, said, “we are excited to continue working with Thrive in the future to ensure that having a ‘home’ is a possibility for all.”


Sally Knauss Tulip Sale in Lake Oswego, OR

Four white women stand, smiling, behind a table with tulip bouquets wrapped in brown paper. They’re in rain jackets and they stand in front of the Windermere Spokane office, with the Windermere logo displayed on the wall behind them.

Image Source: Windermere Lake Oswego

The agents at the Windermere office in Lake Oswego, OR hosted their 27th annual Sally Knauss Tulip Sale in March. Named for the Realty Trust agent who started it, who has since passed away, the tulip sale culminated in an order for 8,000 tulips from Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm, which were used to create 800 bouquets.

“Rain or shine each year [our office] is happy to enable this iconic event,” said Valerie Ross, Principal Broker at Windermere-Lake Oswego

Taking shifts from 8am to 1pm on Friday, March 29, fifteen Windermere agents volunteered for the cause, which raises money for the office’s Windermere Foundation fund. Donations from the sale allow the office to support local non-profits throughout the year. This year’s sale raised $5,800 which will go to one or more of their favorite organizations, like Clackamas County Women’s Shelter, Bridge Meadows, New Avenues for Youth, and Friends of the Children.

SOURCE: Windermere