Here’s how you can contribute to the charities you care about most through everyday real estate transactions – at no cost to you.

Investing in Communities® is a free service that refers brokers to people who are buying or selling a home, and to companies that want to lease office, retail, or industrial space. We can help make your next real estate transaction faster, easier, and more rewarding. It’s a great way to support your favorite charity — anywhere in the US, Mexico, and Canada.

Request a BROKER

How you and your chosen charity will benefit:

  • We offer an entirely new way to support a charity or cause you are passionate about – at no expense to you.
  • We use social media to highlight the charitable impact that you make possible (you may, of course, remain anonymous if you choose).
  • Our process for selecting brokers and donating referral fees is completely transparent.
  • We are a 100% nonprofit social enterprise, though we are not a charity.


For any brokered sales and any commercial leasing anywhere in North America

Waters Today

RECEIVED: $1,766


DETAILS: When Heather Hofman got a new job in Washington D.C., she needed a real estate broker for her home sale in Boise, Idaho. Heather used IIC to find her broker and by doing so, generated $1,766 for Waters Elementary, at no cost to her.

Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law

RECEIVED: $25,000


DETAILS: Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law chose a broker through IIC. As a result of their new office lease, they were able to generate $25,000 of unrestricted funds for their own mission.

Kennebec Estuary Land Trust

RECEIVED: $6,905


DETAILS: As the result of an office lease renewal in the Central Loop, Eckhart Kolak selected Kennebec Estuary Land Trust in Maine, to receive $6,905 through Investing In Communities.

View More Charities


Yes.  When you register your real estate transaction with IIC we will notify your Favorite Charity that you have arranged for them to receive a Charity Support Payment from us if and when your real estate transaction closes. Upon closing of your transaction (and after we receive our Referral Fee from your Representing Broker), we will promptly make the Charity Support Payment in your name to the Favorite Charity you have designated for your transaction.

Yes. You may select different Favorite Charities to receive Charity Support Payments on different transactions that you register with us. You may also select more than one Favorite Charity with respect to a given registered transaction, as long as the transaction will generate a Referral Fee sufficient to allow us to make a Charity Support Payment to each Favorite Charity of at least $350. Otherwise, we will send the entire Charity Support Payment, however much it may be, to only a single Favorite Charity of your choice.

Our founders, Michael Pink and Sharon Porter, conceived IIC in 1995 out of a personal commitment to aid their real estate clients in providing added financial support to the communities and causes that their clients most cared about, but not at their clients’ expense. Michael and Sharon accomplished this by developing a program of sharing a part of the commission that they had received on their clients’ real estate transactions with charities of their clients’ choosing. That program was carefully structured to be in full compliance with the licensing regulations that govern the business activities of real estate brokers in Illinois. In 2010 they launched IIC as a nonprofit corporation, separate from MAP Real Estate, their commercial real estate brokerage business. Through June 2018 Michael and Sharon have arranged for clients of MAP Real Estate to provide over $520,000 in funding through IIC to a wide variety of charities – all at their expense and at no cost to their clients.  See their personal stories at About Us.

Registering your transaction with IIC provides you an opportunity to direct that a portion the commission received by your broker on the transaction be paid to an Eligible Charity of your choice – at no  cost to you! You will also receive our help in finding an experienced broker to handle your real estate transaction (your Representing Broker) if you don’t already have one in mind.

No! IIC charges brokers a rational referral fee that is based on market conditions and on the size of the transaction (which also means the size of the commission). In general, we’ve found that 25% is the most common referral fee that residential brokers offer to pay to any broker for a referral. And, in general, if the referral is for an inexpensive home, the referral fee percentage will probably be lower than for an expensive home. TESTING

We maintain a searchable directory of charities that we have determined qualify as Eligible Charities at our Charity Directory. If your Charity is not listed but you believe that it meets the eligibility requirements, then please advise your Charity of your interest in having them receive a Charity Support Payment from us, and ask your Charity to take a few minutes to complete our brief online application form at Charity Application

We have established guidelines for which Charities qualify as Eligible Charities, able to receive Charity Support Payments from us. Generally, we will approve as an Eligible Charity any organization that is tax-exempt under Section 501(c) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code and whose principal purpose is to address issues of health, education, employment, poverty, safety, shelter, arts, science, animal welfare and/or general welfare on a non-discriminatory basis, and no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual.  We will generally not approve as an Eligible Charity any organization significantly engaged in, or in attempting to influence, political, legislative, or religious activities (though we may approve organizations with a religious affiliation that provide services described above to members of the community at large without regard to their religious affiliation).


No.  We pay an Introduction Fee as a way of compensating an Eligible Charity for the effort of introducing the IIC Program to you, but only in the situation where you choose another Eligible Charity to be your Favorite Charity.

Yes, you may select more than one Favorite Charity with respect to a given registered transaction, as long as your transaction generates a Referral Fee that is large enough for each Favorite Charity to receive a Charity Support Payment of at least $350. Otherwise, we will send the Charity Support Payment from your transaction, however much it may be, to only a single Favorite Charity of your choice.    

You select a Favorite Charity from the list of Eligible Charities contained in our Broker Referral Request Form when you register your transaction with us. If a Charity you wish to benefit from your transaction is not already listed as an Eligible Charity, please contact us at and we will determine if your Charity meets the requirements to be an Eligible Charity.

No. We simply ask brokers if they would like to receive a referral from us. It’s an understatement to say that we anticipate brokers will generally answer yes to that question. So far, more than  99% of the ones we have asked, answered YES!

Payment of referral fees is common in both the residential and commercial real estate brokerage industries. And we believe that most brokers will welcome IIC referrals. Even if you know the  brokerage company or agent that you want to work with, our referral of you to them will still represent new business for them.  We intend the Referral Fee that we charge to be competitive in the market where your real estate transaction is located. For that reason, we believe that an IIC referral will “cost” no more than any referral that a broker receives from other brokers.

We will undertake to identify up to 3  brokers with the appropriate experience based on the specifics of your transaction (residential or commercial, office or industrial, etc.), its approximate size, and its geographic location, not on how charitable they may be. You  make that final decision.

Only after you have registered your transaction with us and we have contacted your selected broker to refer your transaction to them. We will let you know after we have made this referral, and then you can contact your preferred broker to discuss entering into a brokerage contract with their brokerage company.  Otherwise we will not be in a position to receive a Referral Fee from your selected broker, and will therefore be unable to make a Charity Support Payment to your Favorite Charity.

If you would like a particular brokerage firm or a particular  agent (licensee) to represent you in your transaction, then when completing the Broker Referral Request Form please indicate “Yes” to the question “Have a Broker in Mind?” and provide us with the requested information about your preferred firm and/or agent. Be sure to register your transaction with IIC before you contact any brokerage firm  or real estate agent, and before you sign any brokerage contract with any of them, so that IIC will be in a position to refer your transaction to them and earn a Referral Fee.  If you do not have in mind a particular brokerage firm or agent, then please indicate “No” to this question, and we will introduce up to 3 appropriate brokers for you to choose from in selecting your Representing Broker. The final selection of your Representing Broker is always yours to make.

You can register with us the purchase or sale of any residential or commercial real estate or the lease of office, retail, and industrial space located in the United States, Canada or Mexico. At present,  IIC does not work with apartment leasing.

Just register your real estate transaction with IIC before contacting or engaging any real estate broker to represent you in your transaction. Registration is fast and free – you simply complete our online Broker Referral Request Form  at

By using IIC to engage a broker for your real estate transaction, you enable IIC to earn a referral fee, when your transaction closes, from the real estate company with which that broker is affiliated. IIC then enables you to provide 70% of that referral fee to an Eligible Charity of your choice  at no cost to you! If you do not have a broker in mind for your transaction, we will help you identify appropriate brokers for you to choose among one that will become your Representing Broker. IIC selects brokers solely on the basis of being a good fit for the business specifics of your upcoming transaction, and not because they may be charitable. If you already have a broker in mind, we will make the same arrangements with them.

First, Register your transaction using our webform. Here’s that link That simply means telling us the main details of your desired residential or commercial real estate transaction. For example, if you want to sell, how many bedrooms & bathrooms does your home have and in what neighborhood is it located? You can even tell us your language preference or that you want to choose from brokers who are a single parent! We will endeavor to identify brokers based first on matching their professional skills to the specifics of your transaction and second on matching them to your personal preferences.

Second, we find up to three brokers that speak your preferred language, with experience selling homes of your size in your neighborhood. And we enter into a typical referral fee agreement with their respective brokerage companies.

IIC works the same way for home buyers and sellers and for companies leasing, buying, or selling commercial property.

Third, you choose which of those brokers you want to work with.  

And, we can make the same arrangements with brokers you already know.

No! IIC will not act as your Representing  Broker and will not otherwise represent you in any real estate transaction. When you register your transaction with us by completing our Broker Referral Request Form, you are not entering into a brokerage relationship with IIC. You are instead simply authorizing IIC to introduce you to a Representing Broker of your choosing who will be solely responsible for representing you as your fiduciary (your Representing Broker) in your real estate transaction.

Yes, IIC is licensed in Illinois as a real estate broker.  This allows sponsoring brokers in any state to pay us a Referral Fee in full compliance with their state’s licensing regulations. But IIC has not in the past, and has no plans in the future, to act as the licensed real estate fiduciary (representing broker) of you or any other party in any real estate transaction.



We will pay 70% of the Referral Fee that we receive in connection with your registered transaction to your Favorite Charity, as a Charity Support Payment.  We will retain 30% of the Referral Fee to cover our operating costs, and to pay Introduction Fees to any Introducing Charity with respect to your transaction (discussed below).  As IIC grows, we intend to increase the percentage of Referral Fees that we pay out as Charity Support Payments. 70% of the referral fee equates to approximately 18% of the commission that either the seller’s broker or the buyer’s broker will receive if both the buyer and seller have a broker.

Referral Fees vary by transaction type and local market conditions, but we believe that a Referral Fee equal to 25% of the commission that will be paid to the Broker of Record, which is the technical term for the brokerage company that represents the buyer or the seller (the brokerage company of your representing broker) is common in residential real estate transactions. So for example, if you register the sale of your $100,000 home with IIC and then agree with your Representing Broker to pay a 5% total commission on the transaction (to be split between your Representing Broker and the buyer’s broker), then upon selling your home your Representing Broker’s company will receive a $2,500 commission, from which it will pay to IIC a $625 Referral Fee.

Yes! When you share your charity’s IIC page on social media or by email.

Yes. When brokers pay the referral fee to IIC, we keep 3/10 to help cover our administrative expenses, and the other 7/10 goes to your charity. (We round up for the charity share and round down for the IIC share. In the example of a $100,000 home sale or purchase, IIC would keep $185 (29.6% of the referral fee) and your charity would receive from IIC $440 (70.4% of the referral fee).

In our experience, for residential purchase and sale transactions, the referral fee is most typically 25% of the commission; assuming a 5% total commission split evenly by the buyer’s and seller’s broker on a $100,000 home, if either the buyer or the seller use IIC to make the arrangements, the commission would be $2,500 and the referral fee would be $625.

Yes, but by law in all states real estate referral fees may only be paid by sponsoring brokers to other sponsoring brokers. When you register your transaction with IIC (which is a licensed Illinois real estate broker), and we introduce you to a broker whom you select to handle your transaction (your Representing Broker), IIC will be paid a Referral Fee (a common practice in the real estate brokerage industry) if and when your transaction closes. IIC is at the forefront, innovating the approach of using the well-established real estate brokerage referral-fee system as a way for you to support an Eligible Charity, at no cost to you.

IIC uses the information you provide to search for the best possible brokers based on the type of your transaction, it’s approximate size, and its geographic location. We then contact them to ask if they are interested in a possible referral. If they say yes, we can then present them as one of the possible options for you to choose from. It is rare for a broker to decline a referral opportunity.

If you want your transaction to benefit your favorite charity at no cost to you, you would need to select from the brokers that are contacted by IIC in order to enable payment of a referral fee. But, IIC can call just about any broker in the country and ask the magic question, “would you like to have a referral?” We do that after we have identified three brokers that specialize in the specifics of your transaction.

Yes! If you have a contact person at the charity, let them know you’d like to choose their organization to benefit from your upcoming transaction. It only takes a few minutes to complete our online charity application.

The easiest way is for IIC to approach your preferred broker before you sign an agreement with them. Even if you’ve already signed an agreement, many brokers are open to the idea of paying a referral fee to benefit a charity, especially if it might help them get more business. But if you sign with the broker before coming to IIC, since that broker will no longer be in competition to win you as a client, we cannot guarantee that the broker will agree to take less than the full commission.

Of course you can! Everybody has a friend of a friend who’s a broker who would love your business. And there’s google and yelp. But none of those options will yield a referral fee for your favorite charity. IIC can work with any broker you want, but let us contact them first, in order to charge the full going rate for referral fee for the specifics of your transaction. And why not include a couple other options for the sake of due diligence?

Our success depends on our ability to provide you with a choice of brokers that are highly qualified for the specifics of your upcoming transaction. We can even include a broker you already have in mind. With IIC, the focus is getting the right broker. That’s because IIC makes your own transaction do the social good, whether that’s the interest of the broker or not.

No! IIC is not a marketing engine for any brokers. IIC does not accept payment from brokers, in return for  referring them. Instead, IIC is a resource for consumers – a new way for individuals and companies to use brokered real estate transactions to support their Favorite Charities at no personal or company expense, regardless of which broker they choose for their transaction.

Load More