her children was more than she could handle.
That's when a simple conversation helped change the young woman's life. It also forever changed Gina Holbrook's life, and the focus of her company, Premier Association Management.
Gina recalled those moments, "It was just before Christmas when this young woman mentioned to her community manager that she'd been laid off and was having a hard time paying her bills." Tearing up, Gina continued, "Life had caught her off-guard. Here she was, healthy and self-sufficient, visiting her doctor for her yearly breast exam. Two days later she learned she had stage-three breast cancer."
Not one to sit idly by, Gina was called to help the young mother. Providing food vouchers and helping to settle some outstanding bills was first on Gina's list. Next was a Christmas tree and wrapped toys for her children to open on Christmas morning. After weeks of chemo treatments, the young mom began to recover. Gina then helped this young mom get a job that would allow her to continue to recover and be home when the kids returned from school.
Assisting this young mom with her recovery from cancer caused Gina to experience a life-changing revelation. With so many families facing similar financial difficulties, Gina realized she could make a real difference in the many communities her company manages. Thus, the Premier Gives Back Foundation, a philanthropic 501(c)3, was created. Gina shared her vision with her staff and they were all in.
The staff soon held their first fundraiser, a walk-a-thon through one of their communities, and the Foundation was off and running. The staff now holds several fundraisers each year, highlighted by their annual golf tournament. 100% of the funds raised goes to those experiencing financial stress from a serious illness, a job loss or are retired and living on a fixed income.
Gina believes if they can reach families in need early enough, they can prevent the mounting debt some families experience. One of the biggest obstacles, according to Gina, is that many families feel uncomfortable accepting assistance. "It's hard for many to accept our help. That's why all of the families we assist remain anonymous," adds Gina.
Gina's vision is that HOAs were created to build a sense of community but "so often they get stuck
on the rules and finances of running a neighborhood and they forget to be neighborly." She continues, "When was the last time a community held a pot luck dinner? We have to get to know our neighbors."
Over the years, the Foundation has expanded their philanthropic reach. One initiative they actively support is assisting military families travel and stay with veterans who are getting medical assistance at the VA clinic at Lake Nona's Fisher House. "When an injured service member or veteran goes for treatment, travel expenses are not paid for their family members," says Gina. "Through the Fisher House's Hero Miles and Hotels for Heroes programs, people can donate their hotel points and airline miles for the veteran's families to use."
Additionally, employees of Premier Association Management regularly serve lunches at the Ronald McDonald House, work with the Make a Wish Foundation, assist the Orlando House of Hope, and collect school supplies for students. Add dinner vouchers for homeowners in their communities that cannot afford Thanksgiving meals; Toys for Tots; and Christmas Shoe Boxes are among the endless list of good things the Foundation provides.
“Service before self is what makes us human,” says Gina. “There are things in life that are bigger than you. I feel so fortunate that we are able to assist those who just need a step up.”
Today, that single mom is doing well. She kept her home, has a great job and has been cancer-free for over ten years. And when it comes time to assist with the Foundation's fundraising, she’s one of the first to chip in and lend a hand. This full-circle moment is thanks to one company who understands the importance of being a good neighbor.
Celebrating our Corporate Heroes
The Best Places to Work in Central Florida