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Committed to community: How Steve Turner is making a difference

“Don’t just write a cheque, turn up.”

That’s the advice Buxton Dingley Village and Keysborough Director Steve Turner has for real estate professionals thinking about giving back to their communities.

“You’re a part of that community that you’re working in,” he said.

“You should be a trusted part of that community as well.

“But don’t just talk about it and write cheques, turn up and turn the sausages or help out at an event.”

Steve isn’t just about giving others advice, he follows it himself as well, committing to a range of charitable causes, including hosting a gala dinner for the National Breast Cancer Foundation last year, calling charity auctions for his local Rotary club, as well as acting as the community board member for his children’s former primary school, even though they have long since left.

“When you have a heart in and for your community, you become a trusted voice in that community,” he said.

Steve said the idea for the pink themed gala dinner to raise funds for the National Breast Cancer Foundation came to him and his wife while they were sitting at the beach on Mother’s Day last year.

“We were talking about doing an event to raise money for charity and my wife said, ‘NBCF is the perfect fit because we’re already aligned with Buxton and we already do Pink October’,” Steve recalled.

“After that the ideas just flowed, the team got on board and we did a dress up, pink themed, dinner.”

The dinner, which included a meal, a pink lolly buffet and a charity auction, saw 170 people attend and more than $25,000 raised for the NBCF.

“We had an amazingly generous jeweller who donated a diamond necklace, which was valued at about $5000, and we ended up getting very close to $5000 for it,” Steve said.

“We also had a fully signed Collingwood premiership jersey that went for about $2500.

“There was just so much good will in the room that night.”

Steve has also helped the Rotary Club of Moorabbin raise $40,000 at a charity golf day at Kingston Heath, with about $10,000 of that coming from the charity auction he called.

“I got to stand up in front of a bunch of golfers, with a couple of beers under their belt, and get them to bid on anything from bed sheets to golf clubs,” he said.

“A lot of those funds go towards MS (Multiple Sclerosis) but there are also other community groups they support.”

Another charity Steve is involved with is CBM Australia, which works alongside people with disabilities, living in the world’s poorest places to fight poverty, exclusion and to transform lives.

He said every time he sells a house he makes a donation to CBM Australia that gives a child their eyesight back.

“Take the money aside, I just want to wake up in the morning and go to bed at night knowing that, if I’ve sold a house, someone else has got their sight back,” Steve said.

Steve also said that his charity work was not something he spruiked in a bid to win business, but potential vendors had heard of his involvement.

More than that, he said helping out his community enabled him to have more genuine conversations with more people and it was the spirit of those bonds and relationships that helped him in business.

“Whether it’s donating food items, donating gifts or doing raffles, just turn up to a community meeting,” Steve said.

“My local community has a residents association, we’re one of the very few suburbs in Australia to still do that I think.

“But turn up, show interest and find out what they’re complaining about or what they’re happy with. 

“What is it that your community wants? See if you can help, and it’s not just your finances that can help, it’s your time.”

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.