Supporters of the REALTORS® Relief Foundation gathered Friday evening for a reception at the elegant Westin St. Francis hotel in San Francisco’s Union Square. Their purpose: to celebrate the work of the foundation over the past 18 years and renew their commitment to the foundation’s mission, providing short-term housing assistance to people in the critical weeks and months after a disaster. The reception, billed a “Fun-raiser,” brought in $30,000 for RRF, including $20,000 presented to the foundation’s trustees from longtime sponsor Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.
RRF was started in 2001 as the REALTORS® Relief Fund following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Over its 18 year history, the foundation has raised more than $32 million for victims of disasters, including wildfires, tornadoes, floods, and hurricanes. Working in tandem with state and local REALTOR® associations, the foundation has poured 100 percent of those funds into communities facing immediate needs.
A recent example: In Ohio this year, REALTORS® helped “rebuild communities and restore lives” after a Memorial Day disaster in which 19 tornadoes pounded the western portion of the state, says Carl Horst, the vice president of external affairs for Ohio REALTORS®.
The state association launched a relief effort in early June. With help from RRF, as well as local associations in the state and others, the Ohio REALTORS® association was able to make $479,000 in direct grants to 613 residents whose homes or apartments were damaged by the storms.
“We are extremely grateful to the National Association of REALTORS®, along with our partners at Dayton REALTORS® and the Midwestern Ohio Association of REALTORS®, for their assistance and support in helping make a meaningful difference,” Ohio REALTORS® President Anjanette “AJ” Frye said following the effort.
The reception was just one of the events underway at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo to support RRF. Following Friday night’s fundraiser, conference attendees arose early Saturday morning and headed to San Francisco’s Oracle Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, for a stair climb. Proceeds from Saturday’s event will benefit both the REALTORS® Relief Foundation and the San Francisco Association of REALTORS®’ Welcome Home Project.