Quarterback, floral arranger, turkey deliverer, patron of visitation parish: these are a few of the roles real estate professional Kristin Francoeur takes on to serve her community. No matter what Kristen is doing she is driven to support her loved ones, make a difference in the Cape Ann region, and work towards a mission that she believes in.
Can you share any rewarding moments from your work? What are you most proud of? Where does your drive for philanthropy come from?
One of my proudest moments was when I participated in a bike ride from Manhattan to Saratoga, New York to benefit the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. My mother suffered from this awful disease, which eventually took her life, so this 210-mile ride was near and dear to my heart. I trained for a year. We were able to raise a record $75,000 to fund groundbreaking research for a cure. Riding next to people suffering from the disease while I was healthy was what I needed. Each mile that I pedaled, I felt like my mom was riding right beside me. I found incredible solace and emotion as I crossed the finish line. The connection to my mother and the profound sense of gratification that I felt was the driver behind my passion for philanthropy. Years later, my sister, who is a senior regional sales director of gastroenterology for Regeneron, continues to help those with this disease.
You have participated in many events and organizations on the North Shore. How do you get involved?
When we first moved to Manchester-by-the-Sea, I was a young mom and wanted to meet people in my community. I went to the Manchester Community Center and got a welcome packet with a list of local organizations. I joined every single one, including the Manchester Garden Club, the Manchester Historical Society, and more. I was later invited to join the Manchester Woman’s Club and approached by the Manchester Community Center in 2010, where I’ve served on the board ever since.
Some opportunities are a bit more organic or just fall into place. Open Pantry is an amazing program in Gloucester that tackles food scarcity on the North Shore. My family joins me in making meals for our community, and my children and I deliver turkeys to local families for Thanksgiving. I hear heartbreaking stories each year, so helping people right in my backyard resonates with me.
Can you share some of the work that you’ve done with the Manchester Garden Club, the Manchester Historical Society, and the Manchester Woman’s Club?
I chose the Manchester Garden Club because, when my mother passed, I visited this garden center at Ingaldsby Farm every Sunday for three years, where I made beautiful floral and window box arrangements for the community. The Garden Club makes arrangements for the local Council On Aging and we plant daffodils around town. It was and is a form of healing for me.
When I was invited to join the Women’s Club of Manchester. After the loss of my mother, I enjoyed a cup of tea with these women as they showed me photos of their grandchildren filled some of that loss. This past Christmas, this network of women asked me to participate in the town of Manchester “The Friendship Tree Lighting.” The tradition dates back to the 1800s. We make meals for people, contribute to scholarship funds for the high school, and more.
Apart from local cycling events, you’ve also participated in a flag football fundraiser. Can you talk about your experience?
Many people in my life are breast cancer survivors. We participated in a flag football fundraiser called “Mom Ball” with a team of eight women and one coach from all over the North Shore. We practiced for three months, all working towards the same goal. After the game, we walked off the field and learned we raised $20,000 for breast cancer research. It was a powerful moment.
As a busy real estate professional, how do you stay engaged in philanthropy? Why is giving back a priority?
Being a real estate professional can be a 24/7 commitment. I am fortunate enough to have enjoyed some success in this field. I feel obligated to do what I can to give back to society. If I look hard enough, I can always carve out an hour or two from my schedule every so often to volunteer my time, talent, and treasure.
The bottom line for me is faith. If I have compassion and empathy for others, everything will fall into place. That’s my stronghold. I feel so lucky and blessed to be part of something.
Do you have any recommendations for those considering taking a deeper dive into philanthropy?
I would recommend anyone considering participating in philanthropic endeavors to support an organization whose mission aligns with your values or perhaps with a cause or cure that has impacted you or your family directly. The passion and commitment will drive your enthusiasm and increase the chance of a successful outcome.
Kristin Francoeur is a real estate professional with Gibson Sotheby's International Realty at 21 Central Street, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts | 978.270.7929 | Kristin.Francoeur@GibsonSIR.com