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What do Minnesota, St. Paul and real estate have in common? Mya Honeywell. Born and raised in greater Minnesota by an artist, builder and carpenter, this longtime St. Paul resident has seen countless building and remodeling projects come to fruition. She harnessed her passion for homes and community, and turned it into a thriving real-estate business built over nearly two decades.

The Coldwell Banker Realty agent quickly became a trusted advisor, providing honesty, integrity and fairness to her clients during one of their most important life decisions: a home purchase. As families grew or life situations changed, her knowledge and understanding of the markets grew — as did her customer base.

Over the past few years, Honeywell has become increasingly disheartened by growing evidence of her fellow Minnesotans experiencing poverty, especially when it comes to food and housing insecurity. She wanted to be a part of the solution, so she began revising her business to unite real estate and social responsibility.

At the end of 2019, she established the donor-advised HIVE Fund through the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation with the aim of making grants to local nonprofits with every home purchase or sale. And with the help of her team and clients, the fund was able to grant $5,000 to the Sanneh Foundation, Second Harvest Heartland and Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity earlier this year.

Photography by Crystal Liepa

When the pandemic hit, Honeywell’s plans to distribute grants changed. “We initiated this fund to contribute on behalf of our clients, and there will always be need,” she notes. “But people are in need of support now more than ever. We’ll get through this together.”

Honeywell says her work with the Sanneh Foundation has been particularly eye-opening; she has witnessed hundreds of families line up at the Conway Community Center to receive fresh, healthy produce. Watching a mother and her son attempt to balance their bags on their bicycles’ handlebars as they pedaled off, she thought, This isn’t going to get better unless we do more.

To that end, she has worked with friends and community members to gain access to artisan breads, local goods and monetary donations exceeding $20,000 to support emergency food relief efforts. “For some people, it’s their first brush with food insecurity, and others have been battling poverty much longer,” she says. “But everyone deserves food and shelter.”

“As realtors, we see our clients through incredibly human experiences,” Honeywell adds. “We have the privilege of interacting with people at their most authentic state, across different life paths. More than anything, we all aspire for a place to belong, a community, a home.” 

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Read this article as it appears in the magazine.

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