Early in 2019, Pat Rants got a call from Friends of Pimpollo, a nonprofit organization he and his father Ron have volunteered with for years. Twice annually the group visits Oaxaca, Mexico to support a high poverty part of the local community by building schools and libraries. When they had another project in mind, they turned to Rants, President and CEO of Olympia’s commercial real estate and development company The Rants Group, for help.
“They needed to build a preschool to replace a building that they lost to another use,” says Danielle Rants, a commercial leasing and sales broker with The Rants Group (and Pat’s daughter). “He asked them how much it would cost to build and when he found out it was $8,000, he said, ‘Okay, we’ll do it.’” It took him only a couple of weeks to contact friends and raise the necessary funds. By the time Ron visited Oaxaca for the dedication later in the year, the school was completed. Two rooms plus a multipurpose shed serve more than 40 children in the area.
That spirit of giving is ingrained in the multi-generational company, according to Danielle, starting with founder Ron Rants. “He really set the tone for community involvement and volunteering. Since he started the company, he’s always been involved in some kind of charitable organization and that set an example for all of our staff and family.”
Ron was one of the founding board members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County and remained on the board until 2017. The family has stayed involved in other ways, says Danielle. “We have supported them financially every year, donating to their auctions and other endeavors and we have family members who also are staff,” she continues. “My sister is the skills coach for the Thurston County clubs and my brother and brother-in-law also worked there as program staff.”
Both Ron and Pat also served on the Board of Trustees at Saint Martin’s University, Pat as Board Chair and Gala Chair for the school’s annual fundraising event. Additionally, he volunteered on the boards of Community Youth Services and the Providence St. Peter Foundation.
Not all of their efforts are domestic, Danielle notes. Aside from the work they do with Friends of Pimpollo, Ron has worked with medical organizations in Vietnam. “Ron started out helping with surgeries,” she explains.
Volunteerism is also built into how The Rants Group does business. Rather than limiting their employees to one day a year of volunteer time or predetermining what organizations they can support, the company allows staff to volunteer during their workday. “We’ve had staff members serve on the board of the Lions Club and the YWCA along with professional organizations like the Washington State Commercial Association of Realtors and the Thurston County Realtors,” says Danielle. “One of our employees volunteers weekly as a reading buddy at an elementary school.” Overall they support more than 40 non-profit organizations each year with time or money.
As a result, staff morale is high and employees experience more job satisfaction, she believes. “It’s part of human nature to feel fulfilled by helping others and it’s beneficial for us to have fulfilled employees. Even if it’s not translating directly to their job, they’re still happier and will be better employees.”
Danielle has continued the family tradition, advising the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce in her role on the Business and Economics Committee. It’s a similar role to those her father and grandfather have played on other boards, contributing their expertise in finance and business to community organizations.
But while other family members have focused more on youth and education, Danielle has found a volunteer niche in the mental health sector. She serves on the board of directors for the Capital Recovery Center, a nonprofit that supports adults with mental health, addiction and homelessness challenges. The center recently opened a low-barrier opioid treatment clinic within their facility.
“Mental health is a big concern in the community right now,” she says. “It plays a big role in the real estate and economy of Olympia. I’ve gotten a lot of fulfillment out of being able to work directly with the staff and meet the members. I get to see the benefits for those who are needing help and also for the community as a whole.”
For more information visit The Rants Group website or call 360-943-8060.