Charity Spotlight: MBA Opens Doors Foundation
The Mortgage Bankers Association’s MBA Opens Doors Foundation (Opens Doors Foundation) recently announced it had crossed the threshold of helping more than 15,000 families in their time of need. What started as a desire to help families with critically ill children stay in their homes while their child is in treatment has blossomed into a full-fledged support system for thousands of families across the country.
Check out some frequently asked questions about this vital charitable resource, and see how you can get involved:
What Is the Opens Doors Foundation?
The Opens Doors Foundation was founded in 2011 on the belief that families with critically ill or injured children should not also have to worry about whether their child will have a home to return to after treatment. That passion and mission continues to guide the Foundation today.
In 2012, the Foundation launched its Home Grant Program by providing 37 mortgage grants to families with a child in treatment at Children’s National Medical System in Washington, D.C. Since then, the Foundation provides mortgage and rental assistance grants to more than 3,000 families a year through a network of 13 children’s hospitals in eight states and the District of Columbia.
The Foundation’s grant program aids, nurtures and empowers families and communities and strengthens connections between real estate finance companies, the medical community and vulnerable families. And, because the Mortgage Bankers Association pays 100% of the Foundation’s operational and administrative expenses, 100% of donations go directly to a family in need.
Who Are the Families Receiving Help?
Some of the families the Foundation helps face gut-wrenching situations and decisions. For example, one family had premature twins Emilia and Anahi, and had to make the heartbreaking decision to seek hospice care for their twins when their children’s health took an irreversible turn for the worse.
The Opens Doors Foundation has seen many stories that remain unfathomable for their cruelty. Previously healthy, 15-year-old Wyatt was diagnosed with meningitis that caused a brain herniation and spinal stroke in July 2020. The injuries resulted in locked in syndrome and quadriplegia. He is now dependent on a trach and a ventilator and has a feeding tube for all nutrition. A once-thriving child with the world at his feet, Wyatt was suddenly robbed of the life he and his family thought he would have. The Opens Doors Foundation was able to help Wyatt and his family, providing some relief during difficult times.
Many families are overwhelmed by the Foundation’s support in their time of crisis. In 2022, Opens Doors received a letter from a family that had been helped with a grant in 2013. They enclosed a $6,000 check to “pay it forward.”
Another thank you came from a family whose infant spent 10 weeks in the hospital after he was born. The grant letter from Opens Doors was put into his baby book so he would always know the kindness of strangers that helped his family when they needed it most.
How is the Foundation Funded?
Thanks to the real estate finance community, more than 1,800 individual and corporate donors have joined with the Foundation’s 19-member board of directors providing financial support, organizing campaigns and fundraisers and building awareness of the Foundation and the families it serves.
“Like so many charities, Opens Doors relies on the good will and generosity of its donors,” said Deborah E. Dubois, president of MBA Opens Doors Foundation. “However, we are so very fortunate that MBA members are not just generous, but they have adopted Opens Doors as their own and they have a sense of ownership in the good work we do to support families.”
“In ordinary times, the need to provide housing payment relief to families with critically ill or injured children is extraordinary,” added Matt Rocco, former MBA Chair and President, Colliers Mortgage. “Today, significant changes to our economy have left already vulnerable families struggling to keep jobs and healthcare coverage. It’s not only a pleasure to join my real estate finance colleagues in this effort, but also an important obligation.”
What’s Next for the Foundation?
Opens Doors continues to grow.
“We are a small but mighty foundation, growing at a pace that’s comfortable, thoughtful and strategic,” Dubois said. “More and more people in the industry see Opens Doors as the charity of choice for the real estate finance community because we touch both homeowners and renters. We connect what they do professionally with families who need just a little help to get from the 30th of the month to the 1st of the next month.”
“MBA, Opens Doors, and the thousands of members who support us continue to strengthen the fabric of our communities and empower our industry to lift those who most need our help,” noted Robert Broeksmit, CMB, MBA president and CEO and an MBA Opens Doors Foundation Board Member.
Dubois said the Opens Doors Foundation will need to continue growing, “because the need for our assistance is growing. We have social workers and medical professionals reaching out to us every week to find out more about our program and see if we can expand to their region or hospital. The reality is we can’t grow any faster than our ability to raise money to cover the grants that we provide each year.”
What Can I Do to Help the Opens Doors Foundation’s Mission?
The Foundation has grown exponentially in the past five years, providing more grants most months than it was able to provide in prior years. However, as the market has changed, so too has the demand for support from families that continue to experience the impact of the pandemic and a market that has seen significant jumps in rental costs and mortgage payments. In 2023, the average grant jumped nearly $200 to more than $1,600 per grant. The split between mortgage and rental grants remains the same, with about 40% of the Foundation’s grantees requiring mortgage assistance and 60% requiring rental assistance.
As housing costs continue to rise, the Foundation is calling on the industry community for support. Join the many supporters of the MBA Opens Doors Foundation with a contribution to help keep families with critically ill or injured children in their homes. Visit www.mbaopensdoors.org to learn more. Donations to the Opens Doors Foundation are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowable under law. Tax ID No.: 32-0355086.