With all the talk of a hot housing market and changes on the horizon thanks to rising mortgage rates, it can be hard to forget that these market-wide changes are having a real effect on real people, especially those facing loss or health issues in their lives. families. Mortgage Bankers Association charity, Open Doors Foundation, recognizes the individuals who make up our housing market and the challenges they face. Deborah Dubois, President of Opens Doors, sat down with HousingWire to discuss the growing impact of Opens Doors on the lives of families at risk of losing their homes as they care for loved ones. Here, Dubois shares his plans for the foundation’s very near future, such as the annual appeal, and celebrates the major victories of the past few years.

HousingWire: In the roughly ten years since Opens Doors was founded, what have been the organization’s major wins?

Deborah Dubois: Wow…where to start! I would say that we have had great victories in so many areas of the Foundation. We have grown from 37 mortgage grants to families in 2012 to over 3,000 mortgage and rental grants in 2022. We have provided more than 12,000 housing grants and mortgage grants to nearly 10,000 families from every state in the country. In December 2021, we awarded more grants to families in that month alone than in all of 2016. And we’ve nearly tripled our fundraising in the past 5 years – a testament to MBA members who have embraced our mission and nurtured our foundation.

HousingWire: How can housing industry professionals get involved with Opens Doors?

Deborah Dubois: There are a multitude of ways for housing professionals to get involved. The best way is to pledge to support the Foundation with an annual donation, which in itself can be done in different ways. A number of businesses and individuals make donations during our annual appeal in early September or at the end of the calendar year. Some companies want to be more actively involved, so they engage their entire team through corporate campaigns that energize and mobilize employees around our cause. A great example is Lennar Mortgage’s annual Derby campaign, which last year raised over $93,000 in 30 days from hundreds of Lennar Mortgage employees across the country.

Yet other companies choose Opens Doors as their fundraising charity of choice at their annual meetings or conferences. Additionally, companies are hosting events specifically for the purpose of raising funds for Opens Doors. But the best way to get involved with Opens Doors is to simply contact me at [email protected]

HousingWire: The list of companies that donate their time and money to Opens Doors is extensive and includes well-known names in the real estate industry like Radian. Which housing industry organizations would Open Doors like to partner with next?

Deborah Dubois: Honestly, we’d like to partner with everyone! Our mission is rooted in what housing professionals do every day. That said, there are a number of large companies in the industry – both on the commercial and residential side – that I think would be ideal partners, not just because they have the funds to give, but because Opens Doors offers business leaders an opportunity to show the community at large that they care about people and double bottom line, and that giving back is not just a line in the budget, but part of the spine holistic backbone of a business.

We are certainly fortunate to have a number of big names — Radian, Wells Fargo, Rocket Mortgage, Mr. Cooper, PennyMac, CBRE, Grandbridge, CMG Financial and many more – as leading supporters, but we are also grateful for the support of companies such as SWBC Mortgage, Essent Guaranty, Ocwen Financial, Amerifirst Home Mortgage, Lennar Mortgage and so many others.

Every dollar we receive makes a difference for a family with a critically ill or injured child who needs a little help staying home.

HousingWire: In 2021, Opens Doors raised over $4 million to allow families to stay in their homes while their children received life-saving medical care. What are the objectives for 2022?

Deborah Dubois: We received a $1 million donation from a wonderful person at the end of 2020. This donation allowed us to create the Pandemic Relief Fund, which doubled our support for families affected by the pandemic. In 2022, we set an ambitious goal of $3.2 million, but in July we exceeded that goal by approximately $1 million. We will be just as ambitious in 2023!

HousingWire: Are there any upcoming events that Open Doors will be attending or hosting? What details can you give us about them?

Deborah Dubois: Our biggest “event” of the year is our upcoming 2022 annual call. This is not a typical “event”, but rather a one-day email campaign that brings leaders together MBA members, including those on the MBA Board, RESBOG, COMBOG, industry titans at Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Rocket Mortgage and so many others. We will launch on Tuesday September 6th and invite all members of the housing finance industry to participate! In addition to our annual appeal, we look forward to one of the most important events of the year – the Annual Convention Reception in Nashville on Monday, October 24 – which is open to all donors and friends of Opens Doors. .

We are also delighted that in September the law firm Morris, Manning and Martin will host a fundraiser on behalf of Opens Doors at District Winery in DC. We would love to have industry members at this event.

HousingWire: Do you have anything else to add?

Deborah Dubois: I think the most important thing to emphasize is that when members of the housing finance community donate to Opens Doors, they are making a real, tangible difference for families with seriously ill or injured children who live on the line of divide between housing security and eviction/ homelessness. This impact is best reflected in the words of a true Opens Doors family:

“Thank you so much for your generosity and compassion. I can’t even begin to express what a relief it was to have a month’s rent covered while my son was fighting for his life in the hospital’s ICU. for children. Thank you for being there in our time of need. Thank you.” – A family with open doors