B&W pledges $150,000 to COVID-19 fund

by Meg White

The president and CEO of Baird & Warner announced the company will be pitching in to a fund designed to stabilize the Chicagoland area, while also expressing confidence in the industry’s resilience and importance in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Steve Baird sent an open letter, to be distributed more widely later this week, to Chicago Agent magazine announcing a $150,000 donation to the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund. Set up by the city of Chicago, The Chicago Community Trust and United Way of Metro Chicago, donations will assist many nonprofit organizations across the region, from food banks to emergency housing providers to neighborhood aid organizations.

In the letter, Baird noted that the importance of the residential real estate industry is even more evident under Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s remain at home order. “As real estate professionals, we’re in the business of helping people and making their lives easier,” he wrote. “In the coming weeks, if not months, more people than ever will be spending lots of quality time at home with a deeper appreciation for what it means to them. Whether it’s now serving as a school, office, playground, or simply a safe space, someone’s home has never felt more important.”

Baird also expressed high hopes for a robust recovery in the letter, noting that, between March 21 and March 25, more than 2,600 properties in the Chicagoland area went under contract. “While we may be sheltering in place, life continues to move on — babies are born, couples wed, families grow, job relocations bring new opportunities, and people retire. And although some decisions will be deferred due to COVID-19, there will always be a demand for housing,” he wrote, adding that Baird & Warner has weathered crises from the Civil War to 9/11. “We’re fortunate that our industry is one of the few that has proven to withstand some of our nation’s most challenging moments in history. … Each time, our agents, loan officers and staff were there to see our great cities and their people emerge tougher and smarter than before.”

The letter highlighted the efforts agents are going through to conduct business in a safe and responsible way, but also leaned into the importance of person-to-person relationships in real estate, urging brokers to do the same. “Let’s not forget that real estate is fundamentally a people business. Going digital doesn’t mean losing the personal touch. If anything, now is the time for more human connection. We need to be there for our clients, listen to them and support them — no matter what,” Baird wrote.

The donation will be provided via Baird & Warner’s Good Will Network, in partnership with the Stephen W. and Susan M. Baird Foundation. In his letter, Baird called on others in the industry to support the fund. “It is imperative that those of us in the industry who can rise up to help the communities that have supported us throughout the years do so now. Many businesses and organizations will struggle to recuperate their lost revenue during this pandemic, but we don’t have to sit on the sidelines and watch this happen,” he wrote. “Navigating this time of uncertainty can feel daunting, but I’ve never been more confident in our industry’s collective resilience. The dream of homeownership has withstood the test of time, and will continue to do so. It’s our job to keep it alive and within reach for everyone who wants to live it. We’re all in this together — and we will endure.”

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