‘Agents of Mercy’, an overseas aid campaign led by Pilot Real Estate in Mornington Peninsula has raised just over $2000 from grassroots fundraising.
Principal Luke Woollard said the funding was going to a worthy cause, with 90 percent of the $2129 raising going to housing programs in the Philippines.
“We are breaking the poverty cycle slowly but surely for some of the world’s poorest people,” Mr Woollard said.
The housing program is in Quezon City, a neighbourhood of Manila where the inequality is extreme; whole families live in cardboard boxes on the street right next to affluent high-rise buildings.
Mr Woollard said he wanted to get involved because he considers himself lucky and wants to help others less fortunate.
“I must be the luckiest person in the world because where I work and live, we don’t have a lot of those issues,” he said.
“The program is not something I have a personal connection with but it’s something I think is a great cause. Pilot Real Estate have partnered with World Release Australia, they deliver 140 projects like this through various NGO’s in different countries. They might dig a well in Africa or support a maternity program or take children out of child slavery in Cambodia.
Mr Woollard encourages other real estate agents to make a difference.
“Some agencies have really good charity type foundations but I think a lot of them don’t do anything. I thought it might inspire people to become part of this.
“We were calling for 100 agents and $100 dollars each. In this part of the Philippines, you can build a house, which is concrete floor and walls and metal roof, for $1000. It’s not much but it is better than sleeping in the mud.”
The ultimate goal is to raise $10,000.
“We kicked it off a year ago, all the support has come from small donations from family, friends or suppliers, we would love others to get involved either through their agencies or on their own.
“Donations are 100 per cent tax deductible. World Release are registered as an overseas aid agency. 90 per cent of the funds go towards life changing housing projects and only 10 per cent goes towards admin and accounting. When you compare that to well-known charities, they all do great work but only 40-60 per cent of the donations end up going to the needy.
Mr Woollard was born and bred in Victoria and set up his company 11 years ago with his wife. He has a marketing and software design background and moved to Queensland for five years, selling apartments and lifestyle properties on the beachfront. The couple moved back to Mornington Peninsula to raise their young family.
He describes Pilot Real Estate as a general real estate agency which manages 600 body corporate units, residential and commercial.
“We are a small agency in terms of size. We are happy being small.
The Mornington Peninsula is a great place for family. There’s great opportunities for education for our children, a lot of work opportunities.”
Donations to the campaign over $2 are tax deductible in Australia via the World Relief secure website. Their Facebook page www.facebook.com/agentsofmercy keeps supporters up to date with progress.