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Greg Schryer and Jaki McKinnon outside the Second Chance store in Bowmanville, Ont., on March 23, 2021.Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

The organizer: Greg Schryer

The pitch: Creating the Clarington Realty Network

The cause: To raise money for Bethesda House, a women’s shelter in Durham, Ont.

When Greg Schryer became a real estate agent in Bowmanville, Ont., a few years ago, he felt the industry suffered from an image problem.

“People think real estate agents are making a lot of money and there is this kind of air of individuals doing their own thing, driving around in fancy cars,” Mr. Schryer recalled.

He wanted to do something to improve the perception of the trade so he sought out agents who were eager to make a difference. He brought together a group of 12 and then went in search of a local charity to support. That led him to Jaki MacKinnon, the executive director of Bethesda House, a women’s shelter in Durham region east of Toronto.

Ms. MacKinnon told him about some of the families the shelter had helped and how demand for its services had soared during the pandemic.

“When she started telling me the stories of some of the women, I felt like this is way, way bigger than my original idea,” Mr. Schryer said. “These women and their kids are literally fleeing their home and abuse, and in COVID a lot of them have nowhere to turn at all.”

The group, called Clarington Realty Network, has decided to donate $100 from every sale they close this year. Each agent is also promoting Bethesda on their social-media platforms and leaving information about the shelter with homebuyers. The network plans to select another charity to support next year.

Ms. MacKinnon said the donations will support the shelter’s community outreach and counselling services. “I’m just really so impressed that Greg has pulled this together and that the team he has put together is so supportive,” she said.

Mr. Schryer gave credit to the other agents who got involved. “When I came into this profession I didn’t have a high opinion of real estate agents,” he said. “But there are some pretty amazing people who do a lot of real estate and who are helping a lot of people.”