Each year, the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR) honors a member that has made an outstanding contribution to the community, primarily outside the scope of the real estate industry. Criteria for the award, which is named after 1938-39 HAR President John E. Wolf, include leadership and service in charitable organizations, service organizations and special service organizations. For 2013, Mike Mahlstedt, a top producer with Heritage Texas Properties and an incoming 2014 member of the HAR board of directors, was selected as most deserving to be so honored.
Charitable giving is a part of Mike’s business model. Mike, a 2012 Houston Business Journal Top 40 Professionals Under 40 and HAR’s Top 20 REALTORS® Under 40, makes a donation to his client’s charity of choice after closing each real estate transaction. But Mike’s commitment to community service extends way beyond that thoughtful gesture.
A dedicated philanthropist, Mike plays an active role in a wide range of charitable organizations, including Cherish Our Children International (COCI) – a Houston-based non-profit that funds programs for children in the U.S., Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, the C-Different Foundation, Chinquapin School, Bo’s Place, the Susan B. Komen Foundation, Habitat for Humanity and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. He also serves on HAR’s Next Gen REALTOR® Group (NRG), whose mission is to develop young real estate professionals through association involvement, career advancement and community commitment.
Mike combines this philanthropy with his passion for athletic competition, specifically Ironman triathlon events. In the 2010 Lake Placid Ironman, Mike finished in the top 15 percent, raising nearly $15,000 for COCI. In May 2011, he guided a blind tri-athlete in the Texas Woodlands Triathlon through the competition and raised more than $25,000 for COCI and the C-Different Foundation. And in 2013, Mike raised $101,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s “Man of the Year” campaign.
Nonetheless, Mike never anticipated being selected as the recipient of the 2013 John E. Wolf Community Service Award. “I was definitely shocked when [the HAR board] announced my name as the winner of this award,” admits Mike. “I really don’t consider myself that gives back more than others do. There are so many people in our industry that do so much for the community.
“I was humbled to be recognized with over 20,000 REALTORS® that do great things,” adds Mike. “It is always nice to be recognized by your peers.”
Mike has a very simple and straightforward philosophy when it comes to charitable giving. “I think it is very important to give back,” he says. “It is very cliché, but when you do good things, you will get so much more in return. My parents have been incredibly influential in instilling the importance to give back, ever since I was a kid. When you grow up seeing that level of giving, it is easy to know what you should do.”