Colliers International Dallas-Fort Worth Launches New Charity Partnership with the American Red Cross

DALLAS, TX (July 5, 2012) — Colliers International’s Executive Vice President Mary Stoner Yost is combining her professional career as a service-led commercial real estate broker and her volunteer experience to inspire a giving attitude in her coworkers. The real estate company has announced their selection of the American Red Cross North Texas Region as their workplace charity of choice, which will begin an exciting partnership featuring volunteer and fundraising opportunities as well as unique programming and educational opportunities from the Red Cross for Colliers staff.

The partnership kicked off with a tour of the American Red Cross facilities with an opportunity to learn about the programs and services that the Red Cross provides. They also engaged their staff and the tenants of Granite’s Park17 to participate in an office blood drive benefitting the Red Cross during their nationwide call for emergency blood donations on June 28. Colliers’ clients, colleagues, friends and family gathered on July 11 at the House of Blues, with all proceeds from admission benefitting the American Red Cross. A $10 entry fee covered appetizers and the first round of drinks.

“One of the core values of Colliers is community and another one is fun,” Yost said as she shared all of the Red Cross events on their office calendar. “We really feel like we need to live our values every day and part of that is by giving back to the community.”

Colliers employees in Dallas will also get to participate in a compression-only CPR class in August and an emergency hygiene kit donation and assembly party in September. In the fall, employees will sign holiday cards to be distributed to servicemen and women as well as veterans through the American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes program.

“We learned in April how easy it is for anyone to be impacted by disaster when we watched the tornado outbreak unfold in our area,” Yost added. “We were really excited to have someone from the Red Cross visit us after the storm to show our employees how to assemble their own disaster kits. We’re better prepared now.”

While the company program is a new initiative, Yost has been giving her time and talents to the Red Cross for years. Like many people looking for a new charity to support, she first heard of the Red Cross through her husband and friends who supported its vast community work. It only took a few stories of the organization’s daily response to disasters of all types and sizes for Yost to realize the Red Cross was a cause she wanted to support.

“I thought, ‘People lose everything in a house fire or other disaster. Where do they go and what do they do? If it wasn’t for the Red Cross, who would be providing these services?’” she explained, “Learning more about the Red Cross and how it is completely relying on donors to do this work drew me in.”

Yost initially found a place for her time and talents with the American Red Cross Tiffany Circle Society of Women Leaders, a national group of women who make annual financial contributions to their area chapters and help develop new ways of fundraising and serving the public during times of disaster. Alongside her long-time friend, Suzy Bashore, they now both serve as co-chairs.

Through the Tiffany Circle, Yost was able to work on one of her favorite Red Cross projects, a stuffed dog named Piper the Puppy. Piper is given to someone going through a disaster that needs something soft and special to hold onto. Piper the Puppy is purchased through a $100 tax-deductible gift to the Red Cross. The donor’s name is written on Piper’s footpad and a card is sent when Piper deploys to a disaster to let its purchaser know that their gift is tucked into the arms of a disaster victim.

“Piper was brainstormed here in Dallas by two good friends of mine, Tiffany Circle co-chair Suzy Bashore and Tiffany Circle member Phebe Phillips,” Yost said. “When you think about a child who has lost everything – their toy box, their home, everything – you think about what they possibly have to hold on to that will give them hope. They’re scared and maybe they’re cold, and giving a child a Piper the Puppy is an automatic good, soft touch and feel for them and provides comfort.”

Yost hopes that by making a connection with the Red Cross easily accessible to her coworkers, many will continue to support the organization outside of the work place. She now serves as a mentor to the newly formed American Red Cross Young Professionals Auxiliary of DFW, a group for young professionals ages 21-30 who are looking for unique networking, service and social opportunities in the Metroplex.

“I think it’s important to bring the next generation of young professionals into the charitable world so they can get an idea of how to serve on a board, what you do on a committee and the structure of an organization,” Yost said when asked about her inspiration for helping with the launch of the auxiliary. “I remember when I was young and getting in the business. I never forgot the people that helped me when I was in my early twenties to get involved in both industry and charitable organizations and to give back to our community at an early age.”

When asked what motivates her to strive for her best in all of her professional and personal projects, Mary sums it up simply: “My motto is, ‘You only live once. This is not a dress rehearsal.’ I think we should make the best use of our time here and leave the world a better place.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcrossdallas.org or join our blog at http://redcrossdallas.blogspot.com.