How REALTORS® Can Step Up

NAR President Charlie Oppler's list of ways to help communities heal is varied and urgent.
Charlie Oppler

© National Association of REALTORS®

As the country opens up, what are you most looking forward to in the coming months?

Being with members in person! I took my first official trip to the Chicago headquarters during the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings in May. Soon we’ll be joining many of you, too. NAR is gearing up for in-person events with a virtual option; the REALTORS® Conference & Trade Expo in San Diego in November takes that format, as does the C5 Summit , Sept. 27–29 in New York City. It’s an exciting time because the best is yet to come.

Many of your initiatives this year center around giving back. Why is it so important?

“Giving back” sounds like it’s in the past. I prefer “do more,” which is what I try live up to as a servant leader. “Do more” is forward-looking, just like the members who’ve eagerly volunteered for our new mentorship experience, NAR Spire. They’ll mentor underrepresented folks interested in a real estate career and in the wealth-building benefits of home-ownership. The mentors have shown me it’s not about making the sale; it’s about helping the next person. One of the people I most admire, 2009 President Charles MacMillan, lived that. For him, wealth wasn’t about dollars but what you do for others.

Speaking of paying it forward, the upcoming 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks has become a focal point for you. Tell us about that.

Anytime I need perspective, I watch a short film called “88 and Sunny” (available on YouTube) about a boy’s ongoing struggle over the loss of his father after 9/11. The boy, Garrett, was a family friend. The grief never lets go. I’m proud that within hours of the attacks, NAR launched the REALTORS® Relief Foundation to help ensure victims’ family members could stay in their homes. Think about what a comfort that is to grieving families. We must make sure the foundation can continue its work for the next 20 years. We’ve set a goal to raise $8.5 million, the amount raised after 9/11. Stay tuned for details on a fundraising event to be held in early September. Donate here.

How else will you spotlight members’ generosity?

REALTORS® are Good Neighbors, volunteering at double the rate of the typical American. Let’s celebrate that. Log your monthly volunteer hours here. You’ll be entered into a random monthly drawing for $1,000 for a charity of your choice, and NAR will be able to tell an exceptional story about the work you do for others.