October 1st 2014
The Mann Report
What does clean water in the developing world have to dowith residential real estate in New York City? The two had very little incommon until Jason Haber found a way to connect them.
For many New Yorkers, ‘the hunt’ for real estate is apre-occupation, but in the developing world it is the search for clean waterwhich is a pre-occupation. In 2010, Jason felt it was time to bring these twodisparate worlds together.
Of course, we take clean water for granted. We turn on ourfaucets, showers and sinks fully expecting clean water to flow. In New York, weeven wash our sidewalks with clean water. But what is common for us, isillusory for others. Over 800 million people lack access to clean water —that’s almost one in every eight people on the planet. According to Charity:Water, a non-profit committed to bringing clean and safe drinking water toevery person in the world, diseases from unsafe water and lack of basicsanitation kills more people every year than all forms of violence, includingwar. Of the 30,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water andunhygienic living conditions, 90% are children under five years old. And inAfrica alone, people spend 40 billion hours every year walking for water. Womenand children usually bear the burden of water collection, walking miles to thenearest source, which is unprotected and likely contaminated, while exposingthemselves to greater risk of harassment and sexual assault.
Having recognized the severe need for clean water in variousregions throughout the world, Warburg Realty, which formally acquired Jason Haber’s Rubicon Property, earlier this year, has committed to using a portionof the annual earnings to support Charity: Water. Warburg has pledged to fundat least one new well every 90 days, which will provide clean drinking water tothousands of people in need throughout the developing world.
Warburg was founded in 1896 and is one of New York’s oldestresidential real estate firms. Since its founding, the firm has built, managedand brokered many of New York’s great houses and apartments and hasdemonstrated a consistent commitment to integrity and ethics in its businesspractices. Led by Frederick Warburg Peters, a respected thought leader in theindustry, the firm’s values also reflect the philanthropic activities of theWarburg family, whose contributions to the City of New York helped shape thehistory of the City during the 20th century.
“Conducting business in a socially conscious manner is acore value at Warburg,” noted Clelia Warburg Peters, Director of Strategy,Brand and Innovation at Warburg Realty. “Many consumers want to see theirinvestments and money being put to a greater good. We wholeheartedly agree withthese principles and are excited to put a portion of our profits towardsdirectly increasing access to clean water.”
Warburg’s commitment to Charity: Water began with itsacquisition of Rubicon Property, a real estate brokerage founded by Jason Haberin 2010 with a commitment to a unique social ethos. Jason noticed the successof various socially conscious businesses in other industries, and thought itcould easily translate into the residential real estate sector if approachedthe right way. He set out to build a firm with socially conscious businesspractices at its core. Jason’s plan was effective and his firm quicklysucceeded both in securing buyers and sellers, and in consistently contributingto Charity: Water.
“I really felt that there was an untapped market for a firmthat approached business differently,” said Jason. “Being so small, I knew wewouldn’t be able to compete with rival firms in a typical fashion. Instead Iturned the tables on them, and created an environment where they couldn’tcompete with us,” he said.
Rubicon Property started from scratch with no office, nowebsite and one client. All it had was its core mission — serve its clients andchange the world. Word began to spread about the incredible concept behind thefirm. Sellers started to contact Jason, asking if he would take their listing.Buyers became excited when they discovered their closing would help changelives and over time these donations reached the field in the developing world.Jason started to receive images from the field of wells and rigs that theyhelped to fund. Over the course of three years, the firm dramatically grew itsbusiness and at the same time helped over 3,000 people receive clean, safedrinking water.
“Being able to support the incredible work of Charity: Waterin an impactful way has been incredibly rewarding,” Jason explained. “We measuredour success based on how many people we positively impacted, not on the numberof real estate deals completed.” In the fall of 2013, the firm’s platform andvision caught the eye of Frederick Warburg Peters, President of Warburg Realty.His firm had committed to an ambitious growth strategy, and was looking fordynamic ways to expand their values-driven business.
“At Warburg, we have always been committed to the highestlevel of integrity in our business practices,” said Frederick. “It was anatural extension to use our business platform and our profits to addresssocial issues.”
Known as a values-driven firm, Warburg is establishingitself as a socially conscious player within the real estate space. Continuingand expanding on this incredible effort signifies an evolution in WarburgRealty’s public and corporate identity, but is aligned with a long timecommitment of its founder.
“I’ve always been proud to come from a family with a longhistory of philanthropy in New York City,” said Frederick. “Jason’s commitmentto making a strong social impact through real estate deeply resonated with me,and I was inspired to see how he publically shared his firm’s values.”
Despite the rapid growth of this type of thinking and givingin other sectors, the real estate industry has been slow to participate.Warburg is now uniquely positioning itself as New York City’s premier sociallyresponsible brokerage by tapping into this broader trend, which appeals tobuyers and sellers alike.
Through this initiative, Warburg clients can now get thevery best in service and advisement while helping to make the world a betterplace.
In continuation of this philanthropic vision and history,Warburg Realty will take a variety of steps over the upcoming years to supportboth local and international causes. The firm is committed to remaining a homefor elite agents who share its values while maintaining an open,entrepreneurial and ethical culture.
“This is an incredibly exciting period for Warburg, one inwhich we continue to expand and make room for a new generation while beingrespectful of our firm’s storied history,” Frederick Peters stated. “We couldnot be more excited to increase the size and reach of our firm, while alsobuilding on the impact we have in the world.”