A MoCo philanthropist empowers communities to take action

Heather Jauquet

What can the power of generosity do for your community?

A pair of hands holding a small yellow flowerLina Trochet/Unsplash

“People are full of abundance. They want to help but don’t know where to start or how to give,” says Sheena Saydam, a successful realtor and philanthropist in Montgomery County.

In speaking with Sheena, you meet a down-to-earth woman who will happily share her favorite non-fiction books and is on a mission to grow and learn and empower her community to help their fellow human. Saydam encourages her community to give back, saying, “We need to figure out how to love one another.”

“Figure out how to love one another”—Sheena Saydam, Philanthropist

A self-described army brat, Saydam is inspired by her parents. Her mom, a military spouse, would find a way to give back to her community no matter where they lived. Saydam remembers her mom pulling up a desk and teaching young soldiers how to budget their paychecks.

She shares a story of when her father was laid off while she was in college. She drove with him and waited on the sidewalk while he cleaned out his office. As she waited, she saw a homeless woman a few doors down. When her father came out of his building, he handed the woman $20, and then he and Sheena went on their way. Saydam says, “I’ll never forget how in one of my dad’s lowest moments he was able to see the dignity of another and make a sacrifice.”

In the same vein, Saydam and her husband, Han, have continually found a way to give back to their community. They founded Saydam Properties Group (SPG) with the motto of “Changing the world one home at a time,” using their business as “an accelerator and incubator of generosity.”

The work that has no end

Saydam looks to the world around her and looks for where she can help. She steps outside her neighborhood and even looks internationally. For example, supporting one organization’s mission to provide mobile showers to the homeless in Baltimore grew into a mission of building a well in Kenya, which turned into building a school for girls to move them above a fourth-grade education.

But you don’t have to look internationally. Organizations right here in Montgomery County and beyond would appreciate a helping hand. Do you have time, money, or a passion for making a change in your neighborhood? Saydam shared with me that SPG supports the following local causes:

  • The Treehouse is a child advocacy program that provides support services for more than 600 children in Montgomery County who have faced abusive situations.
  • Comfort Cases, a 100% volunteer-run nationwide organization, provides a backpack filled with comfort and personal care items for youth entering the foster care system.
  • Creating a library for the inmates at Jessup Correctional Facility. In just over two weeks, over 1,000 books are donated.
  • Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless whose vision is to “end homelessness in Montgomery County by building a community where everyone has a safe, stable and affordable place to call home.”

Community Impact

The community impact is measured in more than dollars and cents. The impact is dignity and hope. The impact is empowering people to give back to their communities. It’s people coming together from all backgrounds and seeing the effects of generosity. Everyone benefits.

Saydam Properties Groups congratulates the new homeowners and credit them as “providers of clean water, tutoring for kids in inner cities, mental health and justice for victims of child abuse, and housing for those who have fallen on hard times.” With every sale through their realty company, SPG gives back to their community and, in doing so, empowers and encourages their fellow neighbor to do the same.

Saydam’s Suggestions

This is where you step in. It’s not just one person making an impact. It’s the ripple effect, pulling in your neighbor and seeing how far the power of generosity can go. It’s building relationships with one another and local organizations.

Saydam suggests looking at your community and asking yourself, “What makes you heated? What can you change? If you can’t find an organization that supports your cause, do it yourself.”

Not sure where to start? Ask yourself these 3 questions:

  1. What can I give back to my community?
  2. What is my why or purpose?
  3. Who needs help?

Look to your community to see where you can make a difference and empower one another to make those changes.

Do you have a suggestion of where people can lean in and help their neighbors? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear how we are encouraging and empowering one another to take action to support our communities.

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Certified educator K-12 and Reading Specialist with a focus on the adolescent brain. I write about how educational decisions affect parents, students, and staff. As an educator and parent I also focus on community events for the whole family.


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