CHICAGO (July 21, 2016) – Waterton today announced the start of a pilot program at Presidential Towers that will allow residents of the property, Chicago’s largest rental community with 2,346 apartments, to add a charitable donation to rent payments made via the community’s online resident portal. Waterton, which, through affiliates, owns and manages the West Loop apartment community, will match the first $5,000 in resident contributions, with all proceeds benefitting Chicago-based Cara, a non-profit that provides job training and placement services to individuals affected by homelessness and poverty.
“This practice has been a success in the retail sector, with shoppers encouraged to make a charitable donation at checkout, so we thought, ‘Why not take this same model and apply it to our own industry?,’” said Holly Jacobson, general manager of Presidential Towers. “When we decided to move forward with the initiative, Cara jumped out as an ideal organization to partner with, not only because they’re neighbors of Presidential Towers, but also because Waterton has been a longtime supporter of their workforce development efforts.”
Presidential Towers residents who log into the online portal to pay rent will now see a drop-down menu with elective donation amounts starting at $1. The Cara logo is prominently displayed along with a link to the organization’s website and description for those unfamiliar with the non-profit’s history, mission and broader impact on the community.
Waterton has been an active supporter of the organization for more than six years, assisting with mock interviews and other professional development activities designed to prepare students for full-time employment. Waterton employees have also spoken on panels and participated in Cara’s morning “Motivations” sessions.
“Over the years, Cara has helped thousands of Chicagoans struggling with unemployment find quality jobs that, for many, are the first step in turning their lives around,” said David Schwartz, co-founder and CEO of Waterton. “Given the sheer size of Presidential Towers, a simple fundraising initiative like this can be extremely impactful. If every resident donated just $1, that would translate to nearly $3,500 a month, or $42,000 annually – enough to get approximately 100 students through Cara’s foundational training.”
Presidential Towers residents who are interested in supporting Cara in other ways will also be educated about volunteer opportunities with the organization. In addition, residents will be invited to visit the Cara facility to meet with staff and graduates whose lives have been transformed by the program.
“Cara is over the moon for this opportunity to engage neighbors in the work of community building,” said Maria Kim, president and CEO of Cara. “It’s a double joy to have this kind of support from a place people call their home, because the work that we do – and the sense of purpose the individuals we serve regain through the power of a job – brings whole communities back together, and becomes the first critical step toward enabling individuals to secure safe and permanent housing in which their families can thrive.”
The online donation platform is one of numerous charitable initiatives organized by Presidential Towers in recent years. Staff and residents have also participated in toy and book drives benefitting organizations like Toys for Tots and Open Books, and the community is the longtime site sponsor of the American Lung Association in Greater Chicago’s annual “Fight for Air” stair climb, which has raised nearly $3 million since the first Presidential Towers climb in 2009.
“Presidential Towers residents possess a proven generosity based on the numerous charitable drives and programs they have supported over the years,” said Schwartz. “I have no doubt this new initiative will be an overwhelming success as well, serving as a model that other residential buildings in Chicago and across the country can use to make a difference in their respective communities.”
Waterton is a real estate investor and operator with a focus on U.S. multifamily and hospitality properties. Founded in 1995, Waterton executes value-add strategies and manages a national portfolio of multifamily and hospitality properties on behalf of institutional investors, family offices and financial institutions.
Waterton has an expertise in selecting and managing attractive risk-adjusted real estate investments located in major markets around the United States. Since its formation, the company has invested over $5.3 billion in real estate assets. Waterton is privately held by its co-founders and is headquartered in Chicago with regional offices throughout the United States. Currently, Waterton’s portfolio includes over $4.0 billion in real estate assets, including approximately 20,000 multifamily units and 13 hotels. Visit Waterton’s new website: www.waterton.com.