A well-known travel guru and TV host just gave the gift of a lifetime to the YWCA, the nation’s oldest and largest women’s group: a 24-unit apartment complex to help house recovering drug-addicted women who are looking to reunite with their children.
Rick Steves gave the $4 million apartment to the YWCA after purchasing it in 2005 and spending more than a decade helping the organization place these women in the housing complex.
The building, located in Lynnwood, Washington, was nearly filled from 2005 until 2016, but he said his concerns surrounding the incoming Trump administration motivated him to take further action and donate the building, KIRO-TV reported.
Now, Steves is working to encourage others to embark on similar projects to help those in need throughout their communities.
In a recent blog post, the travel guru and TV host explained how he came to be involved in the YWCA and why he eventually decided to gift the large apartment complex.
“One of my pet social causes has long been affordable housing. Twenty years ago, I devised a scheme where I could put my retirement savings not into a bank to get interest, but into cheap apartments to house struggling neighbors,” he explained. “I would retain my capital, my equity would grow as the apartment complex appreciated, and I would suffer none of the headaches that I would have if I had rented out the units as a landlord.”
Steves continued, “Rather than collecting rent, my ‘income’ would be the joy of housing otherwise desperate people. I found this a creative, compassionate and more enlightened way to ‘invest’ while retaining my long-term security.”
I just gave a $4 million apartment complex for homeless women and kids to the YWCA. Here’s why: http://blog.ricksteves.com/blog/trinity-place-donation
He explained his intention to inspire others to take similar action, noting that he’s devised a program that encourages donors to invest in similar projects. While these buildings can be put to good use, the owners retain the right to take back their land and use the space to retire later on if they so choose.
In his mind, they can donate space to charity as he has and then later, if needed, sell or rent out these buildings upon retirement.
“I was committed to providing the apartments to the YWCA for 15 years. Any time after that point, I could take back control if I wanted or needed to,” Steves said. “I enjoyed the security of knowing I had that equity if I needed it. And I figured I’d likely be doing well enough that eventually I’d donate it entirely to the YWCA.”
While Steves didn’t mention President Donald Trump by name, he said Trump’s election and the “new, greed-is-good ethic in our government” is motivating him to be “more constructive than just complaining about how our society is once again embracing ‘trickle-down’ ethics.”
In line with this thinking, he said he decided to donate the apartment complex to the YWCA this year — a move that brings him great joy.
“Now the YWCA can plan into the future knowing this facility is theirs,” he wrote. “And I’ll forever enjoy knowing that, with this gift, I’m still helping them with their mission.”
Read more about Steves’ mission here.
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