FEDERAL WAY, WA – January 14, 2022 – For the past 11 years, the Keller Williams Puget Sound (KWPS) market center has held an annual auction benefiting their local community. What started as just ten people sitting in a restaurant donating money to help a fellow KW agent purchase hearing aids, has since evolved into a 300-person silent and live auction with a whopping $71,733.93 raised in October 2021.
We sat down with Jackie Parker, head of the KWPS Culture Committee, member of their Associate Leadership Council (ALC), and co-owner of Heritage Home Partners, to take a closer look behind-the-scenes at how they transformed this event into magic.
Give us a snapshot of your annual event. Who runs it and what is its overall purpose?
The auction is run by our Culture Committee, which includes myself and my fellow superstar volunteers: Brandi Robinson, Jamie Parker, Elena Leach and November Parker. We have a KWPS Cares entity that hosts the event, and every year we’re proud to give back 100% of the proceeds to our local community. The auction really started with a simple question – “how do we give back to our agents?” But it’s grown exponentially since its origin in 2010, so we’ve really started transitioning from selecting individuals or families as the recipients, to partnering with non-profit organizations in order to make a greater impact on a larger scale.
How do you select your recipient each year?
We really enjoy partnering with local organizations who focus on providing housing for families in need. That mission is just really close to the heart of what we do here at Keller Williams. We’ve also taken some tips from the KW Cares application model to make sure our recipients fit the need requirements, which is kind of why we’ve gone the organization route more recently versus just one individual or family.
Through last year’s Auction, we were able to build a relationship with the Community Outreach Manager of the Seattle Seahawks and we will be working together to select a deserving recipient in 2022. In fact, thanks to this partnership we were able to arrange for Seattle Seahawks Hall of Famer Walter Jones to attend last year’s auction which brought A LOT of excitement to our attendees.
One of our live auction packages was donated from a personal chef, it was a private five-course dining and wine pairing experience for six people. Walter Jones raised his hand and said, “If the bidding gets to X amount in bids, I’ll come. I’ll show up.” Of course that caused the bidding to skyrocket! During breaks in the event he was even letting guests take a look at his Pro Football Hall of Fame Ring of Excellence. He was just wonderful.
Who did your funds go to in 2021?
Our 2021 auction recipient was an organization called Nine9Line Veteran Services, and they have four homes in our community that currently house 17 veterans, who otherwise would be homeless. Additionally, the organization provides job skills training to support veterans in finding employment and security. They pretty much do it all. The money that we raised is going to go toward remodeling some of the unfinished basements in the homes where the veterans live. We’re excited to be able to contribute to additional housing space for our local heroes.
What can guests expect from attending your auction, beyond the bidding?
We have dinner, live music, entertainment, and we always have a theme as well. Last year we really played on the veterans theme especially with the announcement of the new KW Military segment. Our theme at this year’s auction was “Service Above Self”, which is the motto of our recipient organization, Nine9Line Veteran Services. We asked any Active duty or Veteran service member who attended to come in their military dress. It was an honor to be able to recognize them for their service during the event. We hope that this is the event everyone saves up for and plans for it in their budget. It’s a night to have fun, give back, and make a difference.
We’re still trying to determine the theme for 2022, but we’ll let you know when we’ve got it finalized!
Who attends the event?
Attendees consist mostly of our Keller Williams agents, in fact most of our top producing agents usually purchase a table for ten. Myself and many others at our market center also take the opportunity to invite our contacts to the event, like top clients, our vendors, some of our referral sources. It’s one more touchpoint for our business to say, “Hey, come join us and help us give back to the community.” Plus, it’s just a really fun night for all of us to get together.
This past year actually, the photographer I use in my business for my listings, Northwest’s Best Real Estate Video + Photography, volunteered their time to come and take video onsite. They assembled this beautiful marketing piece for us to use for future event promotions. That kind of exposure should really make an impact for us.
What’s next in 2022 for the KWPS auction?
Our goal this year is to give away $100,000! In 2020, we hosted the event virtually for the first time due to the global pandemic and it wasn’t as successful as previous years. But through that, we found an amazing auctioneer team and they actually came and did our in-person auction in 2021, which I think was a big part of our success. Special shout-out to Baker Auction Company run by the amazing Tyson Baker!
We’ve got to be honest, Jackie. All of this sounds like a lot of work!
Trust me, I’ve had a few people come up to me over the years and say, “You’re doing that again?!” I think they get surprised at how much work we put into it, because obviously we don’t get paid for it, we volunteer our time.
But it’s when you see what we give at the end of the event that just makes it all worth it. It really warms your heart, and the people that I plan it with at Keller Williams feel the same way.
It’s just…it’s pretty cool.
Jackie Parker (left), Heritage Home Partners
Connect with the Keller Williams Puget Sound market center and get involved with KWPS Cares! Contact Market Center Coordinator Goldie Kohl-Merritt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 253.835.4500 for more information.