Broker Will Donate Portion of Commissions to Non-Profits

Michael Daly, photographed in front of the site of the old Sag Harbor Cinema on Sunday, May 20. Michael Heller photo

If you’re lucky enough to live in the Hamptons, you’re lucky enough.

Misguided and exclusive, it’s a statement that highlights the one-percent that accounts for just a small part of the community. Though they too have their place, multi-million-dollar homes shadow the marginalized, local poverty, and the need for affordable housing. With the understanding that a truly sustainable community needs to have people of all ages, cultures, and socioeconomic levels to remain healthy and grow, realtor Michael Daly endeavors to make his work about the community. For the remainder of 2018, he will be donating 10-percent of his net proceeds to local non-profits.

“If you look at giving as an expense, then you treat it as an expense,” says Daly, a licensed associate real estate broker with Douglas Elliman. “Then it becomes a negative. But if you look at giving as part of what you’re committed to doing, then it becomes something that you have that you want to share.”

Walking through his Sag Harbor home, Daly talks about the various works of art he has purchased over the years, explaining each piece has supported more than the artist by way of giving back. In his garage hangs a sign he made for the A Day Without Immigrants March in Hampton Bays last year that reads “More Love, Less Hate.” Daly started collecting pieces and flyers from the different organizations and events he supports to serve as a daily reminder of what impacts the East End.

Daly supports several local non-profit organizations in three main areas: environmental and conservation, the arts, and social justice. “I have concerns for the marginalized that are not of the Hamptons, but in the Hamptons,” he explains, adding many only think of million-dollar mansions in the Hamptons and don’t see the high level of poverty in places like East Hampton. “I see a lot of people being left behind. My thing is not about being exclusive to anyone. I don’t have a resentment toward the wealthy. I appreciate, love, and respect the wealthy and do business with them every day. But there are people who live here full-time that are middle class and under strains, and then there are the truly marginalized who are close to poverty and struggling who don’t even get thought of.”

Yes In My Backyard (YIMBY) has long been a passion of Daly’s. YIMBY advocates for the creation of community-based housing on the East End, allowing local workers to afford the opportunity to live and raise families here. Workforce housing has been tug and pull for years with many finding it to be a negative. Daly says people see it in a racially charged way, that residents would be Section 8 or people of color. Then there are property owners that want to sell land to the highest bidder, and concerns of increased water pollution and ruining of vistas. Daly sees it differently.

“We’re spending a lot of time finding that balance with workforce housing where you can have apartments,” Daly says. “People complain about getting in and out of the East End. Part of the reason is so many commute. But if they live here, they would also support the businesses here year-round.”

Recalling the days when parents would see their child’s teacher in local stores, Daly says there once was local accountability. Even Southampton Village has passed a resolution to recruit people from outside the village to sit on the board as the people who are willing to serve can’t afford to live there. Localism has become important to him as farms, conservation, preservation, culture, fishermen, and more need to be protected. Adopted from a course he took in Cape Cod, Daly made his first presentation recently at the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce for East End Affordable Housing Advocacy Training. More are planned for the summer.

Daly has always endeavored to treat each client equally, whether someone is buying a $15 million home or a family of five is looking for a $2,000 rental. He often does business with friends, he says, meeting new clients at community meetings. “I’m finding that I am more interested in working with people that are like minded,” he shares. “I work with billionaires and I sell big homes, but I also work with local people. I think that the tendency when you’re chasing the big deals is that you forget about the local people and I just don’t feel like we can any longer.”

As part of his commitment to the community, clients can choose a charity for Daly to make a gift to or choose from ones he supports, including Bridgehampton Child Care Center, East End Hospice, Guild Hall, Madoo Conservancy, Parrish Art Museum, Peconic Land Trust, The Retreat, Sag Harbor American Music Festival, Sag Harbor Cinema, Shinnecock Foundation of the Arts, Surfrider Foundation, Sylvester Manor Educational Farm, and Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the South Fork.

For more information on Michael Daly, visit