Paying it Forward

The social responsibility craze shows no signs of slowing down; multifamily knows a thing or two about good deeds

Mosher_DPaying it forward is not a new concept, but the current focus on social responsibility being observed by so many individuals and corporations has reached epic proportions.

You might even call it a craze.

Good deeds continue to come in all different shapes and sizes and sometimes the do gooders receive a practical benefit in return above and beyond a warm fuzzy feeling. PBS NewsHour reported recently that a nursing home in Deventer, Netherlands has been inviting university students to live in rent-free apartments in exchange for providing 30 hours of service a month as “good neighbors” to the elderly residents.

This means that they are required to “hang out” to watch sports, celebrate birthdays and simply offer company when seniors fall ill so that they don’t feel disconnected.

According to PBS NewsHour and the International Association of Homes and Services for the Ageing, similar intergenerational programs are running in Lyons, France and Cleveland, Ohio. This is an idea worth exploring further.

In the May 2015 issue of MHN Magazine we take a look at some of the ways that the apartment sector is expressing the desire to do good. In addition to the Michaels Organization’s participation in a range of social impact programs, for the past 25 years the Michaels Organization Educational Foundation has been offering post-secondary scholarships to residents of affordable and military housing communities.

Holland Partner Group is involved in several efforts including a special partnership program with Forterra, a leading Washington State conservation organization that plants trees to reforest Seattle parks.

Meanwhile, Fairfax, Va.-based Middleburg Management has started its own non-profit organization called Shelters to Shutters that provides employment and housing to currently homeless individuals who are poised to join the workforce. Middleburg also offers paid time off for employees who want to volunteer whether at a mission in Honduras or the local soup kitchen.

There are so many more examples of how the apartment sector is paying it forward. If you’re about to take the plunge, or have an established program already in place, we invite you to share your story with the MHN community. As always you can reach me at

Diana Mosher
Editorial Director