Community Service

Sterling Real Estate Group has been dedicated to giving back to the community, both near and far, since it began operation.  We run a thriving business surrounded by a supportive, vibrant community so we feel a responsibility to share our good fortune.  Our brokers donate a percentage of their commission to worthy causes with each transaction they make.  We focus on addressing and supporting specific needs rather than broad traditional service organizations.  For the past several years our efforts have been focused on helping disadvantaged children in Whatcom County and abroad.

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Students in front of school in Cambodio

The Dyer Family Friendship School
Beng Korng, Cambodia…the-dyer-family-friendship-school

From 1975 to 1979, a political organization called Khmer Rouge ruled the country of Cambodia, eventually destroying the education system and orchestrating a mass genocide.  It is estimated that between 1.7 million to 2.5 million people were killed, including most of the teachers in the country.  Since then education has been a persistent need in Cambodia, especially in rural areas.

Sterling Real Estate Group Owner Phil Dyer was stationed in Vietnam in the late 1960s, as part of the US Navy.  The Khmer Rouge took over soon after Dyer left Southeast Asia, targeting the educated class including teachers and government officers.  “I was so saddened and outraged that nobody would help these people,” Phil said.  He learned about the Cambodia Rural Schools Program and decided to fund the building of a school in 2005.  The organization enables organizations and individuals to build or adopt a school and provide essential needs like computer training, English lessons, vegetable gardens and more.

The structure is a brand new five classroom building replacing a thatched hut with a palm frond roof and no sides.  The new school is 6500 square feet and is solid concrete.  Phil and his family attended the grand opening in December of 2005.  The school opened with 99 students and three teachers.  Over time Sterling helped fund the addition of a well, vegetable garden, and a computer with a satellite link to send and receive email.  They have also hired additional teachers and a nurse, as well as housing for the teachers, nurse, visiting teachers and other travelers who visit the school.  “I think education is the base, the fundamental thing someone needs to have a chance.  Unless you have an education, you’ll always be on the low end of poverty,” said Phil.