SRM Real Estate Group
Featured Charity: Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation | 213-233-9901 | jdrf.org
As a lifelong resident of the San Fernando Valley and founder of SRM Real Estate Group, Scott Morris offers more than 30 years of experience in the real estate and mortgage brokerage industry, with transaction volume exceeding $1 billion. Type 1 diabetes (T1D) advocacy became one of Scott’s personal missions after his son’s diagnosis. To align this individual passion with his work, Scott was inspired to transform his business model to include social purpose. Scott sits on the board of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Los Angeles chapter and is a cycling coach in their Ride-to-Cure program.
How did you become involved with the juvenile diabetes research foundation?
“After my son’s T1D diagnosis, I made a promise that I would do whatever I could to help him get better and to assist in the efforts to find a cure. This led me to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)—the leading global organization funding T1D research. JDRF is driving research forward in two core areas: curing T1D and improving the lives of the people burdened by this disease today. Partnering with JDRF was a no-brainer for me.”
What does that partnership look like?
“I am passionate about participating in and growing JDRF’s Ride-to-Cure program. My Los Angeles teammates and I raise awareness and funds by riding in 100-mile cycling events around the country. Most recently, I rode through Death Valley—my seventh JDRF century ride. The support my family and I have received from friends, family, clients and vendors through donations and words of encouragement have been transformative. I always return from these events with renewed hope that a cure is on the horizon, which inspires me to find new and innovative ways to do more.”
Is this what led to SRM Real Estate Group evolving into a company with a social purpose?
“Yes, but not initially. My original idea was simply to make a donation to JDRF each time I worked with a home buyer or seller. As I shared my family’s T1D story, I was surprised to discover how many people were willing to share their own story about the causes and charities they support. In many cases, people I had known for years were sharing their struggles with me for the first time. I became convinced that my business—and businesses of all sizes—can play a role in addressing social needs, and I was determined to find a way for my company to contribute.”
So what did you do?
“I decided to emphasize purpose over profits. My focus became how to deliver a better and more affordable way to find, buy, finance and sell homes. I moved away from the traditional, one-size-fits-all commission model in favor of flat-fee pricing and buyer rebates. Our core strategy shifted to saving our clients tens of thousands of dollars so together we can make a social impact. Our clients can use their savings to fund the things that matter to them, including the charity of their choice. Additionally, SRM Real Estate Group makes a donation to JDRF and to whichever charity our client chooses. In those cases where our client does not have a preferred charity, we introduce them to nonprofits doing meaningful work in our shared community.”
Can you share some of the charities that have benefitted?
“Recent beneficiaries include weSPARK Cancer Support Center, Journey House, Alzheimer’s Association, Best Friends Animal Society, The Michael J. Fox Foundation, Union Rescue Mission and Food on Foot.”
What’s next for SRM Real Estate Group?
“Good question. It isn’t always easy to see what’s around the corner, especially in the residential real estate brokerage space, which is changing rapidly. I know we will continue to emphasize purpose over profits
with a focus on creating partnerships that promote social good. Type 1 diabetes advocacy, youth enrichment and community-building initiatives will be part of our core strategy. And a bike. I am pretty sure a bike will be involved.”
What advice would you give a business owner about integrating philanthropy into their company?
“Be authentic, and begin by asking yourself a series of questions: What keeps me up at night? What problem do I want to solve or what injustice do I want to correct? What’s the difference I am trying to make? If the answers feel big and scary, you’re probably on the right path.”