Did you ever imagine that, by buying your dream home, you could also bring valuable arts learning experiences to individuals with disabilities at every stage of life? We certainly had never conceived such a thing. But recently, our long-time supporter and Powderhorn Park neighbor Graham Smith approached us with an amazing idea.
Graham is a realtor who leads a group, The Graham Smith Team, at Keller Williams Integrity Realty. Graham shares the Keller Williams belief that “who you are in business with matters” and “the company we keep can contribute to our lives in untold ways.” As a result of this philosophy, the whole Keller Williams network has a strong culture of nonprofit giving – which is one of the reasons Graham was attracted to work with Keller Williams in the first place.
This past December, Graham decided to donate $200 from every home sale that he makes in 2016 to Upstream Arts [update: this amazing commitment continues in 2017]! Needless to say, we’re blown away by this utterly creative and generous commitment of support! It would be a phenomenal gift even if he only sold one home; but Graham’s already off to the races and, in fact, has a goal of selling 100 homes this year! Whether or not he hits that mark, Graham is making an enormous impact on our ability to bring innovative arts programming to more youth and adults with disabilities.
There are so many worthy organizations that Graham could have selected to support; and so we wanted to find out why he was inspired to choose Upstream Arts. This is what he shared with us:
“When I was a child, my mom used to volunteer at a ‘home’ that was close to our neighborhood. There were multiple children that lived at this ‘home’ who were developmentally and physically disabled. It was commonplace for children to live away from the rest of society and in a controlled environment such as this back then. We would visit on Christmas to deliver presents, and I would always go with my mother. I remember that many of the kids were close to my age. During the short days that I was present, I developed brief friendships that unfortunately never lasted longer than the day of the week that I was there. Segregation was the policy at hand when it came to these kind of things. I cannot say for sure, but I’m fairly confident that nothing like Upstream Arts existed back then. There are so many causes that we can donate our time and resources to that it can often seem overwhelming. Over the last 10 years I’ve gotten to know the great people that run this organization and have seen the incredible work they do. Their dedication and passion is unmatched while working with a group of people that are all too often forgotten or pushed to the side. There’s very few social movements or hashtag campaigns supporting these fantastic children and adults. That’s part of the reason why I want to help. The fact that Upstream Arts helps introduce beauty and creativity to the world while helping an underserved segment of society is enough for me. I hope others will take a look at what they do and help if they can.”
We couldn’t be more honored. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you, Graham!
If you or someone you know is looking for a home and would like to work with the remarkable Graham Smith, click here to visit The Graham Smith Team website or call 612-414-5614. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter.