Branch Real Estate Group: Rooted in Giving Back Through Long Island Charitable Partners

Branch real estate charitable partners
The Branch Real Estate Group team with charitable partners; from left, Kristen Ellis-Henderson of Girls Rising, Joan Flynn of Island Harvest, Jaime Teich of Love Your Neighbor Project, Yolanda Robana-Gross of Options for Community Living, Lisa Cashman of Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor, Molly Deegan, Branch owner/broker, Jennifer DeSane, Branch marketing director, John Breen, Branch Residential and Commercial Sales Manager and Steve Buerger, owner and managing partner
Jim Lennon

The spark that ignited a new kind of real estate brand was simple: to make every transaction personal, and to not simply work in different communities, but truly become a part of them.

At Branch Real Estate Group, there is an unwavering commitment to extend knowledge and guidance to help their clients find the home they have always wanted, and to support the important work of local nonprofit organizations along the way.

Behind every listing, sale or rental lies a set of convictions – joy, honesty, diversity, gratitude, and interdependence. These values make real estate something they live for, and not just what they make a living at.

“At Branch, we believe in the collective strength of neighbors. We each play an important role in what makes our communities and neighborhoods so special and unique,” says Molly Deegan, the owner of Branch Real Estate Group.

When Branch launched five years ago, only three of the partners were licensed real estate professionals. Through branching out with their marketing, referrals and partnerships, there are now 23 agents working across Long Island, with more expected to join the team this year. Collectively, the team’s diverse business backgrounds range from Wall Street, healthcare, finance, media, interior design and almost everything in between.

With offices in Sea Cliff and on the North Fork, Branch Real Estate Group is a boutique brokerage firm casting a very wide net. The company utilizes the most cutting-edge technology available on the market today, and they handle all photography, media production and marketing in-house.

This is something rare for a boutique brokerage, but it has greatly contributed to their success.

Branch real estate charitable partners
The Branch Real Estate GroupHeidi Hunt

“Our approach is personal and creative. We value collaboration over competition, which helps us pool our individual skills and talents together and deliver a high-caliber service to our clients,” says Deegan. “Our sincere hope is to be a different type of real estate organization and to keep the principles and values that shape our business at the forefront for the betterment of the communities we serve and for all who interact with us.”

From the outset, Branch wanted to demonstrate the strength of their commitment to supporting organizations that help communities on a day-to-day basis. To that end, Branch donates 2% of the gross sales commission of every sale to a charity chosen by the buyer or seller. 

“When we sell a home, we aren’t just selling a house, we are selling a lifestyle. The neighborhoods and communities we build our lives in are a huge part of that equation. That is why partnering with organizations that support and strengthen our communities is such a natural alignment for Branch,” says Jennifer DeSane, marketing director for Branch. 

Sometimes clients choose to send their donation to local first responders, schools, or to organizations they have a personal connection to. Other times, clients may choose to donate the funds to one of the five non-profit organizations with which Branch has formed charitable partnerships.

Branch real estate charitable partners
The Branch office in Sea CliffBrain Cirillo

“Our charitable partners are organizations with missions that align with our own, and our work with them extends beyond the monetary donations from our sales,” Deegan explains. 

“We have participated in various events including the International Coastal Clean-Up with the Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor, the All You Need is Love Scholarship fundraiser and Vaxapalooza event with Love Your Neighbor Project and the Girls Rising Music Festival,” she continues. “We have also sorted and packed donations with Island Harvest and we are utilizing our real estate expertise to actively search for properties to support the mission of Options for Community Living.” 

Branch real estate charitable partners
Molly Deegan, Owner/Broker John Breen, Residential and Commercial Sales Manager, Steve Buerger, Owner/Managing Partner and Jennifer DeSane, Marketing DirectorJim Lennon

It is the primary goal of Branch to increase awareness on the behalf of their nonprofit partners and to help spread their message across Long Island.  “The more we grow as a company, the more we will accomplish with our charitable partners, ultimately increasing the positive impact we can make together across Long Island,” says DeSane.

As far as the current health of the Long Island real estate market, Deegan offers her thoughts: “The local housing inventory remains fairly low across Long Island comparatively to recent years, but there is still a healthy demand from buyers, which is great news for sellers preparing to list their homes. The real estate market, like most things, is cyclical. The pandemic rocked it into an unsustainable frenzy which we will have to take with a grain of salt when we look back on the data from this time period.” 

She adds, “Long Island is such a wonderful place to live, and there are so many organizations working to keep it that way. There will never be a shortage of individuals and families looking to move here!”


Branch real estate charitable partners
Girls Rising Joan Flynn, Island Harvest, Jaime Teich, Love Your Neighbor Project, Yolanda Robana- Gross, Options for Community Living and Lisa Cashman, Coalition to Save Hempstead HarborJim Lennon

Island Harvest Food Bank is a hunger-relief organization with a mission to end hunger and reduce food waste on Long Island. They accomplish this through efficient food and product collection and distribution systems, hunger awareness and nutrition education programs, a Workforce Skills Development Institute, targeted services for specific populations, outreach activities and advocacy initiatives.

Love Your Neighbor Project is a grassroots nonprofit that connects community through social goodness. Neighbors are empowered to do good through hyper-local events and opportunities that foster connection and they equalize accessibility for neighbors facing financial, mental or physical stress by creating projects with their network of neighbors and businesses to help meet those needs.

Girls Rising was launched in 2014 by the band Antigone Rising. Girls Rising partners with local school districts and youth centers to create programming designed to inspire and empower young girls and LGBTQ youth. The organization accomplishes these goals through live performances, presentations, workshops, and celebrity grants to local youth created by Melissa Etheridge, Joan Jett, Carnie Wilson and most recently, Paula Cole.

Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor is an organization dedicated to identifying and eliminating environmental threats in and around Hempstead Harbor. Their objective is to advance the public interest in restoring the harbor to its full ecological potential and to promote sustainable practices that will ensure the protection and resiliency of Hempstead Harbor and its surrounding communities.

Options for Community Living was established to respond to the need for supportive housing for people with serious mental illness. The program has since expanded to serve individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS and/or disabilities. Options also partner with Long Island Health Homes to offer care coordination services to high-need Medicaid users (adults and children) with chronic illnesses through the Access to Care Program.

This article appeared in Behind The Hedges inside the Long Island Press’  April 2023 issue and was the cover story. Read the full digital edition online. For more real estate stories on greater Long Island, click here