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Local realty company, agents rally to support PURRE

By Staff | Mar 10, 2010

The realtors of John R. Wood volunteer their time and contribute money from each transaction to PURRE; they’re gathered here outside the office with President Joe Mondelli, second from left wearing sunglasses; PURRE Treasurer Dan Schuyler, fourth from left; and PURRE Administrator Emilie Alfino, kneeling front row right.

John R. Wood Realtors and its 28 agents have joined forces in a program to help two island nonprofits achieve their goals, the PURRE Water Coalition, Inc. and Sanibel-Captiva Cares.

“We’re so grateful to have the support of the good people of John R. Wood,” said PURRE Chairman Michael J. Valiquette. “The financial support is very important, of course, but they’re behind us in other ways as well, helping us at events, backing us up when we’re out in the community, and volunteering their time. They believe in what we’re doing, and that means everything.”

Last year, John R. Wood owners Joe Mondelli and Jay Richter wanted to choose two nonprofits to start a matching donation program with their agents.

“We said from the very beginning when we started the company that we would give back to the islands,” said company President Mondelli. “We would certainly like to support all of the nonprofits but it’s unrealistic to think we can do that in meaningful way.”

Individually, Mondelli, Richter and the agents support many other island non-profits as well.

They set out to choose two nonprofit organizations that would earn 100 percent agreement from the John R. Wood staff and decided on Sanibel-Captiva Cares for the Children’s Hospital, and PURRE People United to Restore our Rivers and Estuaries for the quality of life.

“These are our priorities, and when we asked our agents to participate, every one of them said ‘yes,'” Mondelli said. “They all agreed Jay and I were on the right track with these two organizations, and we’re excited to have 100 percent participation.”

The agents now make a contribution with each transaction, and Richter and Mondelli as owners match it. Since May of 2009 when the program started, the agents and owners together have donated $5,000 to PURRE.

“I see the total ramping up each quarter,” Mondelli said. “Our realtors are stepping up even when our market is difficult. We have great people who work for us. I just can’t say enough about our agents.”

John R. Wood agents volunteer for PURRE as well, teaming up for the July 4 parade, stuffing envelopes, staffing booths at events and more.

Mondelli and Richter, both long-time islanders, started John R. Wood in 2007 and it is now second in volume of sales and units of sales. Last year showed an increase of 84 percent in company sales volume, achieving record-breaking sales results 11 out of 12 months. John R. Wood has been in its prime location at 1019 Periwinkle Way (across from the Lazy Flamingo) for one year and its sales unit production has increased 141 percent.

The PURRE Water Coalition is a nonprofit organization committed to improving the health and quality of the rivers and estuaries in South Florida. PURRE began on Sanibel in 2005 and has achieved a number of successes in its mission to improve water quality and change the bad practices and policies that cause it at the federal and state levels.

Late last year, the coalition decided to refocus its attention on the Caloosahatchee Watershed, particularly in Lee County, where sewer overflow and storm water runoff are major problems polluting the waterways.