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A EGACY OF GIVING NP DODGE COMPANY: BUILDING A COMMUNITY
As the Omaha metro’s largest full-service real estate firm, NP Dodge Company has been associated with some of the community’s most beautiful properties and subdivisions. However, when the Dodge family first arrived to the area in the mid-1850s, local settlers were still fighting for survival.
“The joke was that by the time we were driving home, they had P DODGE COMPANY PRESIDENT NATE DODGE never met his great-great-grandfather Nathan Phillips (N.P.) Dodge, already put ‘new’ signs up,” Dodge said, wryly admitting that his father whose name he carries and namesake company he now oversees, but he became mildly annoyed with his humorously repetitive take on the knows a lot of stories about his ancestors. Like the story of N.P. and his situation. “At about 24th Street, then 36th Street…I kept saying, ‘Dad, brother Grenville leaving Massachusetts, one in 1853 and the other in look! They’ve changed Dodge Street to Dodge Street,’” Dodge said. 1854, to homestead in Douglas County, followed by their parents and COLLEAGUES WHO CARE sister a few years later. Or how the brothers took their experience as Dodge said he’s proud of his family’s history of philanthropy and surveyors and founded a land office in Council Bluffs, Iowa, in 1855 that grew to become the longest-running real estate firm in the country under community involvement (“Each generation has been a part of the N.P.’s leadership. And there are the stories of Grenville’s Civil War service growth and giving of the community.”) but is even more pleased by (he became a general) and his role in the founding of Union Pacific Railroad. how the current-day employees and sales associates have embraced But Dodge also remembers stories of the family’s challenging early giving opportunities. years farming their claim near the Elkhorn River and how they helped “It used to be it was just some of the principals who worked in the others whose struggles were even greater. firm who would give their time, talent and treasure. I’m proud to say “What a difficult time to survive in!” Dodge said. “I think they saw the that the amount of time given to the community is eclipsed…now realities of how difficult it was to survive and how you we’re blessed with roughly 700 employees and had to work together. I’ve heard the stories of people about 600 sales associates who give,” he said. “I THINK who were starving and were served dinner at the “Mom (Kate) and Dad, and (wife) Meg and I are house on the Elkhorn. People would be lost and (my [MY ANCESTORS] all doing things throughout the community, but ancestors) would find them and feed them. I think SAW THE REALITIES so much more is being done by the people who that spirit has always been in the fiber of our company.” are affiliated with our firm. It’s a privilege for us OF HOW DIFFICULT to work in this organization with colleagues that FIVE GENERATIONS OF GIVING IT WAS TO SURVIVE care so much.” As the company prospered, its contributions AND HOW YOU HAD Giving activity is “very much encouraged within increased. NP Dodge Company is known today for TO WORK TOGETHER.” the organization and takes many, many forms,” five generations of not just business and community Dodge explained: more than a thousand volunteer leadership, but also a giving spirit. The family name ~ NATE DODGE appears throughout the community in honor of the hours, a canned food drive that yielded 5,000 pounds’ President family’s many contributions: NP Dodge Park, worth for the Food Bank last year, matching funds Dodge Park in Council Bluffs, Laura Dodge Elementary. for employee donations, and a nonprofit organization ran by the company’s “We’re about to be in our 163rd year,” Dodge said. “For the first three residential sales associates for a group of charities that provide shelter are generations, the company just wasn’t as big. Most of the giving was done just a few examples. by people with the last name of Dodge.” “Our associates select where the funds go and we really support that,” Dodge Street, however, may or may not be named for the family. Dodge said. Some sources say it’s named for a controversial senator from Iowa. Giving is a carryover from the earliest days of both the business and “There’s a bit of a debate. Some people thought it was named for the Dodge family and fellow early settlers, Dodge said. Augustus Dodge, some people thought it was for Grenville Dodge. “I believe what existed when people first arrived on the frontier is in There are records within the city that cite both,” Dodge said. In many ways still important today. There are some that need help, and September 2016, the Douglas County Board of Commissioners voted to sometimes you need help. It’s really a Midwestern thing to help your “rename Dodge Street in honor of Omaha brothers General G.M. Dodge neighbors and make room for them at the table, and to help out when and N.P. Dodge” upon governor approval. Dodge and his father, Sandy Dodge, were at hand for the vote and after the meeting, they headed there’s need. I think that’s a characteristic of our organization as well,” he west on Dodge Street toward the company headquarters located at 8701 said. “And by the way, we’re not unique. We’re all blessed to live in this West Dodge (of course) Road. community where giving is so important.”
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