I’ve written about how the death of my brother, Billy Malnati, has been an impact in my life. Initially, losing Billy felt like it could have a negative impact on my family, but I personally made a strong effort to turn my sorrow into joy. I understood that, despite the difficulties that I was going through, there were others that had it much worse than me. I chose to GIVE so that I would focus on others which led me stop feeling sorry for myself. I realize now that the death of my brother was a wake-up call for me. I have been blessed in my life with some amazing talents. It is important for me to set my family up for financial success, but after my family is taken care of, my blessings are also supposed to make the lives of others better. I took ownership in the fact that Billy no longer had a life to live, and I took responsibility for living my life as best as possible in his honor. That is why I started Billy Malnati Charitable Giving (https://kmalnati.wordpress.com/billy-malnati-charity/)
Billy spent a lot of time at Children’s Hospital, so I felt drawn to start donating there. I learned that I could get his name memorialized there forever after enough of my donations reached a certain amount. We were invited to attend the Remembrance Wall Dedication on 8/6/2014. The ceremony was designed to thank donors and help celebrate the individuals we cared for deeply. There were 50 Honorees recognized from 2013. The ceremony started with a reading of an amazing poem by Connie Kiefer Boyd that really connected with my feelings; I have provided it below.
“To Honor You,” by Connie Kiefer Boyd
To honor you, I get up everyday and take a breath,
And start another day with out you in it.
To honor you, I laugh and love with those who knew your smile and the way your eyes twinkled with mischief and secret knowledge.
To honor you, I take the time to appreciate everyone I love.
I know there is no guarantee of days or hours spent in their presence.
To honor you, I listen to music you would have liked, and sing at the top of my lungs, with the windows rolled down.
To honor you, I take chances, say what I feel, hold nothing back, risk making a fool of myself, dance every dance.
You were my light, my heart, my gift of love, from the very highest source.
So everyday, I vow to make a difference, share a smile, live, laugh, and love.
Now I live for us both, so all I do, I do to honor you.
Courtney and I invited my parents to the dedication of the Remembrance Wall. My mom wrote us a letter afterwards, “Dear Kyle and Courtney, The dedication at Children’s Hospital was a very moving day for your father and me. We were full of emotion and all kinds of memories. You both have carried us through this difficult journey and we are truly grateful to both of you.”
In 2012 I was awarded by REALTOR Magazine as a “30 Under 30” (http://realtormag.realtor.org/30-under-30/honoree/2012/05/kyle-malnati). REALTOR® magazine does a great job chronicling the lives and experiences of 30 REALTORs annually (you guessed it… all of us are under 30-years old). You have to answer about 15 essay-style questions to win this award, and REALTOR® Magazine notes that they receive a, “high volume of applications (more than 500)” each year. They also state that, “Initially, all applications are screened by REALTOR® Magazine editors to ensure all necessary information has been provided. In the initial screening, we also narrow the group down to 75-100 semifinalists. A panel of judges then reviews this group, weighing the factors mentioned above, until a consensus is reached on 50 finalists. Of those, we tentatively choose 30 honorees and five alternates. The 30 are vetted with their local and state associations and with the state regulatory boards for ethical violations or disciplinary actions. If a finalist is disqualified for any reason, a replacement is chosen from the list of alternates.” Two of my answers are shared below as they have driven me forward since 2011.
REALTOR® Magazine 30 Under 30 Question #10: How are you involved in your community? Describe your charitable contributions. ANSWER: I place a substantial emphasis on philanthropy in Denver and believe it is important to donate my time and my money… Billy Malnati Charitable Giving – When my brother, Billy Malnati, passed away, I was struggling to find a way to grieve his passing. I found that Closings provided me with great joy for obvious reasons, and Closings enabled me an opportunity to remain positive despite my loss so I started donating a portion of my commission in his memory.
REALTOR® Magazine 30 Under 30 Question #6: What has been your greatest challenge in real estate and how did you overcome it? ANSWER: The greatest challenge in my career was the entire year of 2011. I experienced 3 major events in my life less than 90 days apart: 1) my wife, daughter, and I happily welcomed twins into our lives on March 20, 2011; 2) my family experienced great heartache when my 24-year-old brother, Billy Malnati, suddenly died because of a heart defect on May 16, 2011; 3) I left a very “comfortable” situation at a commercial real estate brokerage firm on June 10, 2011 to pursue an opportunity to become partner at a residential real estate firm with the task of creating a commercial division from scratch. Out of the adversity, I drew strength from focusing on the fundamentals of real estate, delegating more to my capable assistant, and learning when to disconnect.
Below is the excerpt from the award section of the magazine:
Rocky Mountain Highs and Lows: “In 2011… the year was marked with tragedy, too; his younger brother [Billy] died suddenly from a congenital heart defect (Hypoplastic left heart syndrome). “It was a surreal period of time in my life,” Malnati says. “I harnessed that pain and emotion. My career didn’t stop.”
Tip: “Simply focus on life balance: Be a good spouse, a good parent, a good businessperson, and an active participant in your community.”