RASM has established a Humanitarian Award to be bestowed quarterly, designed to recognize the REALTORS® who are doing great things in our community. The RASM Community Outreach Committee has proudly recognized Vannesa Poole, REALTOR®, with Catalist Realty, as the RASM “Humanitarian of the Quarter” recipient for the Third Quarter of 2022.

Vannesa is a Florida native who has always been passionate about giving back to her community and providing aide to the less fortunate. This passion is what lead her to join Catalist Realty as the brokerage has a philanthropic business model. REALTORS® donate 15% of their commission back to the buyer and seller’s charitable organization of their choice on every transaction.

“There are so many worthy charitable organizations in Sarasota and Manatee County,” said Poole. “For many of our transplant buyers, this is a great opportunity to connect them to the community, and possibly spark future commitments to the charities that can only thrive with volunteer support. It makes their buying and selling experience that much more meaningful for them as well, knowing that they directly made a difference in the lives of others.”


In addition to her busy career as a REALTOR®, Vannesa Poole is a member of the RASM Community Outreach Committee. She is also a proud member of Donors of Distinction (formally known as Designing Daughters) for over 5 years and is also on the charity’s board of directors. Founded by Shelley Lister, the mission of Donors of Distinction is to enhance the community by granting donations raised through philanthropic endeavors back to local nonprofit organizations. Donors of Distinction members are a volunteer group of diverse individuals from all walks of life who work throughout the year to raise money to be gifted to deserving local nonprofits. Their goal this season is to raise over $100 thousand dollars through their events, giving 100% of all monies raised back to local nonprofits.

The organization plans three to five major events each year, completely sponsored by donations from area restaurants, local businesses, and proceeds raised. During their Annual Grant Ceremony held at the end of the year, the organization donates all the money raised to local charities within Sarasota and Manatee County.

Like many charitable giving organizations, COVID has impacted their reach. Donors of Distinction used to be known as Designing Daughters, but when quarantine occurred, all events were cancelled, and the organization was without funding. Due to various tax concerns and the desire to never give up despite the pandemic, the group rebranded as the 501(c)(3), Donors of Distinction. With the name change also came a change in membership. Designing Daughters was a solely female-based membership, whereas now the organization is open to both male and female members.

“We have been very blessed coming out of an essential hiatus due to COVID,” said Poole. “We are rebranded now and gaining our momentum back. And with more opportunities for membership, comes more opportunities to reach our goals. At our last Grant Ceremony, we were able to raise $90,000 and give that money to 23 nonprofits in the Sarasota and Manatee area.”


Donors of Distinction’s members are well connected in the community, and they are very successful in forming strategic alliances. But every charitable organization relies on help from the community. Donations such as social media shares, radio advertising, and magazine ads, help to spread the word on the impact the organization has on the community, growing membership, and spreading the word on upcoming events.
“Sharing our mission with the community is very important to us,” said Poole. “But what remains more important than growing our brand is making sure that all the money we raise goes into the hands of local charities. We count on advertising donations to help make that happen.”


Donors of Distinction is hosting their 3rd Annual Golf Outing on Monday, September 19, at the Laurel Oak Golf and Country Club. The event costs $200 per person, and includes contest opportunities for first and last place, longest drive, closets to the pin, and more. Guests will enjoy an awards program with banquet and cash bar.


RASM sincerely thanks Vannesa Poole, and the many volunteers she works with at Donors of Distinction, for their dedication and giving spirit. Our local charities are only successful when we are generous with our time and money. To learn more information about this worthy non-profit, visit their website at www.donorsofdistinction.org.

RASM also thanks all our members who volunteer and give to our community and make a difference every day in the lives of others. To nominate someone for the RASM Humanitarian Award, email outreach@myrasm.com.

This article was originally published in the September issue of ELEVATE.