Stories That Inspire Us to Act: Client Pledges $100K from Oakland House Sale to Indigenous People

Stories That Inspire Us to Act: Client Pledges $100K from Oakland House Sale to Indigenous People


Sometimes you meet a client who has a story that just blows you away.

For us, that client is Josip Markus.

Josip is putting his Oakland house for sale in Upper Rockridge and moving to Ohio to help his father, who has been battling Parkinson's for 13 years. But Josip’s story of generosity doesn’t end there.

Josip is pledging to donate $100,000 from his home sale and 20% from the sale of his possessions to a foundation dedicated to helping indigenous communities preserve their culture and wisdom, including the Yawanawá Tribe of the Brazilian Amazon.

"I wanted this to become more than a transactional sale of a house," Josip says.

Listing agent and Abio Properties co-founder Linnette Edwards, who has been in the industry 16 years, says she’s never had a client announce this kind of philanthropy. In fact, she was so inspired by Josip’s story that she decided to donate 20% of her commission when his house sells, too.

“His generosity makes me so excited, and I want to spread the word about what he’s doing and why,” Linnette says.

The ripple effect of giving has already begun! Josip's story, which was featured on NBC's "Bay Area Proud" segment on May 28, has inspired Abio Properties to launch ...

Abio Impact: A new charitable venture!

Abio Impact's mission is to spark a chain reaction of giving by supporting home sellers like Josip who want to donate a portion of their proceeds to charities that strengthen communities and enrich lives.

If you sell a home with participating Abio agents, they will donate a percentage of their commission to that same cause. Let’s make an impact together!

Stay tuned for more info. 


Josip's story: From Rockridge to the rainforest


Josip is a life coach and former business executive in the exoskeleton industry (wearable robotics) as well as an avid world traveler.

In 2016, he journeyed deep into the Brazilian Amazon rainforest for a cultural immersion with the indigenous Yawanawá tribe. There he learned that the Yawanawá community is striving to revitalize and protect its native language, spiritual traditions, medicinal knowledge, and ancestral wisdom after years of interference from the outside world.

“It was a profoundly life-changing experience that awakened a memory within me of who I am and why I'm here,” says Josip, who returned to the Yawanawá community in 2017 and again in February this year. He’s planning to lead a group there in January 2020.

When the time came for Josip to put his four-bedroom house at 5507 Harbord Drive on the market, he didn’t hesitate to pledge part of the proceeds to The SOFIE Foundation.

“When it comes to establishing the value of a home, there are the common measurements – the number of bedrooms and the square footage. But in the case of 5507 Harbord Drive in Oakland, one must also take into account the size of the owner's heart, because it's big.”

~ Garvin Thomas, NBC News "Bay Area Proud" reporter

5507 Harbord Drive Oakland

SOFIE, or Saving Ourselves from Indigenous Extinction, is a global organization that has been supporting the Yawanawá tribe’s efforts on rainforest conservation, medicinal plant research, building an education center, replacing diesel with solar power, and producing a feature-length documentary about the last days with shaman Tatá Yawanawá. Before he died at age 103, Tatá was one of the oldest shamans in the Amazon and was responsible for safeguarding the tribe’s spiritual legacy through the difficult years of colonization and interference by rubber tappers and missionaries.

“The first time I visited the Yawanawá I had a powerful vision that I would be there many times in my lifetime,” says Josip, who recently joined SOFIE’s executive team in a volunteer role.

“Though I didn't comprehend at the time what it meant, over the past couple of years I’ve developed a very deep connection to this indigenous community and the approximately half million acres of Amazon rainforest that they call home.”

About 1,200 Yawanawá live in nine villages along the Gregório River.


More than a real estate transaction


Josip’s 1,859 square-foot Spanish style house in Oakland’s desirable Upper Rockridge neighborhood went on the market May 23 at $1.095 million.

He bought the home in 2014 after falling in love with the spacious living room’s vaulted wood beam ceiling and picture window, and the sunny backyard’s gorgeous oak trees and spacious lawn. In the open kitchen, where a breakfast nook overlooks the tranquil garden, Josip added white wood cabinetry, quartz counters, and stainless steel appliances.

Linnette says potential homebuyers always love hearing personal stories about homesellers. In this case, the next buyers not only get a house in a coveted Bay Area neighborhood with a great story; they also get to feel good knowing their dollars went to a humanitarian and environmental cause.


Oakland house for sale

Oakland house for sale

For more information:


Are you inspired by Josip's story and want to know more about how you can pay it forward through your own home sale? Check out Abio Impact at our new website, and see how Abio Properties is changing the way people think about real estate. Contact us anytime at 888-400-ABIO (2246) or


Pictured above:  Matsini Yawanawá, who was named the new spiritual leader of the Yawanawá community by longtime shaman Tatá Yawanawá before Tatá died at age 103.