2021 Good Neighbor Awards Honorable Mention
REALTOR® Denny Moore remembers scurrying downstairs one Christmas morning when he was a child to find a brand-new Schwinn bike under the tree, its chrome shining in the lights. It was a wonderful experience, says Moore—one that every kid should have. But the youths who walk through the doors of Child and Family Charities don’t have basic necessities, let alone new bikes. “They come in with all their possessions in a garbage bag,” says Moore, with Coldwell Banker Hubbell BriarWood. “They don’t even have a suitcase.”
Since 2004, Moore and his wife, Linda Ellsworth-Moore, also a REALTOR®, have worked to ensure that the children in need have bikes to call their own, donating hundreds of bicycles and raising a whopping $345,000 in funds for the nonprofit.
Children in Crisis
“People don’t realize what a bike means to a child,” says CFC Director of Development Demphna Krikorian, who has worked with the Moores for 13 years. The kids who come to CFC, she says, are often the ones who have “slipped through the cracks” of child protective services. They are abused, neglected, and at risk. Through CFC, they find placement in foster care and residential programs and receive support through counseling and juvenile justice intervention programs. Many of the children need to move into new living arrangements, and a bike can help smooth the transition. “A lot of times a foster child is going into a home where there are already children, and they all have bikes,” says Krikorian. “Having a bike lets the foster child play with the other kids and not be left out.”
“These kids have been through really tough times. It takes a lot to get them back to being whole. We hope that what we do helps them grow up to be happy and responsible.” —Linda Moore
CFC currently serves 9,000 children and families through 30 programs, with kids ranging from infants to youth up to age 20. According to Krikorian, the nonprofit is able to raise about 70% of its $7.5 million budget through grants. Volunteers like the Moores help raise the rest. “Denny and Linda are number one on the hit parade,” says Krikorian. “They help us to hit our financial goals. They truly are miracle workers.”
For the Moores, helping kids in need is also about the future. “Our goal is to reach out to as many kids as we can,” says Ellsworth-Moore. “We want them to be able to look back when they grow up and know that someone cared. This could be the experience that changes their lives.”
Bats and Bowling Balls
The Moores began their work for CFC with their very successful “Battle of the Bats” fundraiser, a yearly softball tournament that raised money and bike donations from the community and local sponsors. The event was created and run by the Moores for 13 years, says Krikorian: “It wouldn’t have happened without them.”
In 2019, the Moores decided to transition to a new fundraising event—the “Pins and Pedals” bike drive and bowl-a-thon. The new event—which was held at a local bowling alley and featured a DJ, face painting, and a silent auction—brought in more than $14,500 and provided about 50 bikes for the kids of Gateway Youth Services, a program for teens who lack safe, stable housing, and Angel House, a residential program for pregnant and parenting teens.
A 21-year-old former CFC client and recipient of a bike, who is now a volunteer, explains that to him, the gift of a bicycle has meant freedom. “It has helped me,” says the man, who wishes to remain anonymous. “I ride it to work. Sometimes I like to ride around the downtown area. I can really go wherever I want.”
All in the REALTOR® Family
The Moores’ fundraising efforts faced some serious challenges in 2020—the pandemic forced the cancellation of the “Pins and Pedals” event, and Denny suffered a stroke early in the year. But even in the absence of an in-person event, the couple raised $7,500 by asking everyone they know for donations. One key contributor was their brokerage—Coldwell Banker allowed the couple to distribute flyers to their local offices.
In fact, Coldwell Banker allows the Moores to distribute flyers throughout the company for all their events, and their colleagues often help with the planning and execution. “They’ve been wonderful,” says Ellsworth-Moore. “They really support us.”
The couple credits real estate for getting them involved with CFC in the first place. “We got into this because we sold a condo to Demphna’s predecessor, and we got to talking,” Ellsworth-Moore explains. “Everything just seemed to align.”
“We’re always telling people that anyone can do a fundraiser with a charity. All you need is to have an idea, and then you just reach out.” —Linda Moore
In addition to the bike drives, the Moores run a school supply drive. And they also participate in CFC’s “Hope for the Holidays” campaign, in which kids write wished-for items on a tag—such as toys, art supplies, winter coats, and boots—and the tags are then distributed to donors who purchase the gifts.
This year, the Moores hope to hold a Halloween-themed “Pins and Pedals” event, along with another back-to-school drive and a holiday gift drive. And Ellsworth-Moore has ambitious plans for the future—she’s set her sights on securing big donors like General Motors and Amazon, and she wishes aloud for a vast warehouse full of bikes that they could give to every child who wants one.
“We want to give as much love as we can,” she says.