Jim Walberg of Pacific Union Honored with Extraordinary Philanthropist Award

John Brian Losh presenting the awardNo one ever seeks out an acknowledgment for their work in community service. I certainly did not. And, what a humbling honor to have Who’s Who In Luxury Real Estate select me to be their 2014 Extraordinary Philanthropist at their 19th Annual Fall conference in Boston several weeks ago where members from around the globe gathered to share best practices and expand their personal connections with the best of the best in luxury real estate.

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What Does Kenny Loggins, Berkeley Honda, And The Wheelchair Foundation Have In Common?

The East Bay rocked last night at Blackhawk Country Club’s Amphitheater with a Kenny Loggins Concert!

Who would have ever guessed that Blackhawk Country Club would be the location of an unforgettable world class concert with Kenny Loggins?  If you clear out tennis court #1, and set up tables on the court and all around the tennis court amphitheater you have the most wonderful and intimate setting for a concert.  Last night this location at the Blackhawk Country Club was another magical moment happening in the East Bay.  To a sellout crowd who paid some BIG dough for a ticket which included dinner, Kenny WOW’d them!  He and his band had the audience dancing in the isles singing along with 30 years of his many hit songs , and even a few new ones from his latest album – “How About Now?”.

Berkeley Honda and it’s owner, Steve Haworth, were one of the few corporate sponsors that allowed this evening to happen.  Steve and his company are key supporters of the Wheelchair Foundation.  Not only does Berkeley Honda sell one of the best cars on the road – Honda, they are committed to giving back to their community.  As you have read in my past articles, I want to hangout with people that have the values of “service above self”.  This company is one of them.  And, their leader, Steve Haworth, is leaving a legacy behind of being the auctioneer at many of the Bay Area’s key fundraising events…from the Lazerex Foundation annual dinner, to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation auction held last year in Danville.  He is also the most sought after auctioneers at most of the school and sports fundraisers in the East Bay.  He personally has raised millions of dollars with his skills as an auctioneer in getting people to open up their check books and give BIG to causes that are critical to the service to our community, schools, and those less fortunate.  Within nine minutes last night Steve was able to have people contribute $40,000 to the Wheelchair Foundation as they purchased items such as a week’s trip for two to Paris, a two day Cal / Oregon football game event ending at the Claremont Hotel for four people, and even an two day wine country event for four people that went for almost $4,000!  He is a marvel to watch as he passionately involves the audience in contributing to this worthy cause.

In the audience was the president of the Wheelchair Foundation – David Behring.  David’s father, Ken Behring – who built Blackhawk Country Club, was so moved by those he has met over the years during his world travels that could not walk, that he decided to make a difference in their lives by providing them a wheelchair.  This simple idea has exploded into the world’s most effective organization that provides mobility to those less fortunate.  The Wheelchair Foundation is a nonprofit organization, headquartered in Blackhawk, leading an international effort to create awareness of the needs and abilities of people with physical disabilities, to promote the joy of giving, create global friendship, and to deliver a wheelchair to EVERY child, teen and adult in the world who needs one, but cannot afford one. This simple idea that Ken had five or six years ago has now delivered over 750,000 wheelchairs worldwide as it continues to keep its promise.  Several years ago they partnered with Rotary International – an international service organization that has created matching grants for the purchase and distribution of wheelchairs.  A person can now donate just $80 for a wheelchair, and these two foundations will pay the rest of the cost!  So, you can make a difference today by going to their website and contributing $80 knowing that the small amount of money you just gave provided mobility for someone who has never walked.  How cool is that?

So, what does Kenny Loggins, Berkeley Honda, and the Wheelchair Foundation have in common – hearts of service.  Don’t forget…to whom much is given, much is required.  There are opportunities around us everyday where we can make a difference.  It is just a matter of paying attention and then acting.  Last night was one of those unforgettable moments.  Until next time…