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SDCOL Champion Spotlight

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Meet Richard Kushner, San Diego Council on Literacy donor!

Why is literacy important to you?

Literacy is the key to growth and change. It is the foundation for education, professional development, personal enjoyment and enrichment! Teaching someone to read in this day and age is not only a necessity but also one of the greatest ways to yield exponential return on investment. As the saying goes, "give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach a person to fish and you feed them for life". Teaching someone to read is giving them the tools to feed themselves for life.

Whose idea was it to begin donating funds to literacy and other causes through home sales? How common is this?

I don't know of any other real estate agents doing this but I decided to do this because I have always believed in helping those less fortunate. I am a dog lover and started by donating to dog charities. But then people said, "what about the cats?", so I said, "buy or sell a house and I'll write a check to the cats". Then people said, "What about Wounded Warriors?" so I said, "Buy or sell a house and I'll write a check to Wounded Warriors."

It dawned on me that it would be exciting to let the client decide what charity our relationship would benefit. That is when I started the website www.CharitableRealEstateAgents.com. From that point on I decided that 10 percent of my commissions would go directly to a charity of the client's choice.

A few years ago after selling a house, a client told me to donate to whatever charity I saw fit. They had a small child and it got me thinking about the importance of educating our youth.That's when I first met Jose Cruz at the San Diego Council for Literacy, and made my first donation.

It has become my personal mission to help change the world for the better, in my own small way. This idea also helps me include, in a fun way, others who have good hearts, but just haven't taken action. Hopefully, this will create a ripple effect and inspire others to do the same.

What is your literacy story? Do you remember learning to read? What were your first favorite books?

My parents were always about reading and education. I remember during the summer, my mom would always encourage me to read instead of watching television! She would pay me $1 per book…one summer I made $48! My favorite series of books was Encyclopedia Brown and I think I read every single one of those books ever written.

Have you ever tutored someone or read to children? If yes, describe that experience.

Yes! I have two nieces who I have helped learn to read. It is such a rewarding experience to give someone the tools to change and watch them grow. And when teaching children, it is humorous to hear the questions they ask! There is no more fulfilling experience than helping someone else to discover the gift of reading!

The San Diego Council for Literacy salutes Rich Kushner’s commitment to our mission and other wonderful causes he benefits through his professional relationships. If you wish to contact Rich, please do so at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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