The Realtors Relief Foundation (RRF) marked its 20th anniversary this week. Within hours of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the National Association of Realtors began to secure contributions to help those impacted by those devastating events.
The Executive Leadership team utilized its leadership, infrastructure and standing as the world’s largest trade association to reach out to members and supporters seeking donations. These donors stood in solidarity with their fellow countrymen and countrywomen to help affected families.
They raised more than $8.4 million to provide urgent housing-related assistance for those struggling in the aftermath. These funds were raised and distributed within 100 days to ensure families were able to remain in their homes.
The foundation continued the work and over the past 20 years; they have awarded in excess of $33 million to more than 100 disasters across 38 states helping some 17,000 families. The are funds raised by members and partners of the National Association of Realtors including state and local associations.
RRF funds are not just limited to Realtors; they can go to anyone impacted by a disaster.
Similar to the RRF, the California Association of Realtors Disaster Relief Fund (CAR Fund) was established in the wake of devastating wildfires in 2003 across California. The CAR Fund provides relief for natural disasters to Realtors, employees of Realtors, and staff of local associations.
Given the increase in fires and other natural disasters across California, this fund has raised more than $500,000 to assist in times of need, and our local areas have been a direct beneficiary of both of these funds.
The 2017 Thomas Fire and 2018 Montecito debris flow saw massive damage and destruction in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. The Santa Barbara Association of Realtors was able to distribute some $650,000 from the RRF and the California Disaster Relief Fund to victims to cover rent and mortgage payments.
These funds can never replace everything the victims lost, but making sure our neighbors have a roof over their heads while they work to overcome their loss makes a difference.
We have disasters going on right now across our state, and our local Realtors are answering the call from our neighbors throughout California to provide assistance to those who are hurt the most.
Brian Johnson is the new president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. He is a California licensed real estate agent and the managing director of Radius Commercial Real Estate. Brian handles all types of commercial real estate transactions, but has a special focus on multifamily investments. He can be reached at 805.879.9631 or firstname.lastname@example.org.