CHICAGO (February 5, 2021) – The REALTORS® Relief Foundation, which has disbursed tens of millions of dollars in support of the victims of hurricanes, wildfires, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes and terrorist attacks in the 20 years since September 11, 2001, has announced changes to its leadership team and structure.
Michael Ford will take over as RRF President, with Martin Edwards, Jr. stepping down after heading the foundation since 2011. NAR's 2021 Advocacy Vice President Leigh Brown will also serve as RRF Vice President, assuming the role filled by Debbie Dwyer since 2013. With the changes in leadership, the RRF is implementing new two-year terms for its president and vice president, with Brown set to lead the foundation as President during the subsequent term, from 2023-24.
"The 20-year history of the REALTORS® Relief Foundation is a testament to the visionary leadership of our 2002 and 2001 NAR Presidents, Martin Edwards, Jr. and Richard Mendenhall," Ford said. "The day after 9-11, they acted without hesitation to create our foundation to meet families' housing needs in times of crisis. I am honored to continue this critical work and carry out their legacies alongside the other leaders of RRF as we look ahead to the next 20 years of service. I don't believe there is anything we do as Realtors® that defines 'Who We R' more accurately than the mission and achievements of RRF."
In stepping down from his role as President, Edwards will serve the next two years as the foundation's immediate past president. Edwards has held a seat on the RRF Board since 2006, was its Director in 2006 and from 2008-09 – following a one-year stint as the foundation's 2007 president – and also served as its vice president in 2010.
With Realtors® from all corners of the U.S. banding together to form the RRF in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, more than $8 million had been raised within days of the attacks to ensure the families of the victims would not be left homeless. More than 19 years later, the REALTORS® Relief Foundation continues to respond to the nation's greatest tragedies and its most destructive natural disasters, ensuring Americans have a roof over their heads and a place they can call home even in the worst of times.
"Realtors® spend every day committed to making their clients' dream come true, and the nature of our jobs transforms what begins as a career into a way of life," said NAR President Charlie Oppler. "The $33 million that has been raised and given to support Americans in need since 9/11 is a testament to the hard work, dedication and generosity of so many Realtors®, most notably Martin Edwards, Jr. and Debbie Dwyer. I thank them for their commitment to this foundation, and look forward to seeing the RRF continue to advance such a wonderful cause under the leadership of Mike Ford and Leigh Brown."
With 100% of its administrative costs covered by NAR, every dollar donated to the RRF goes directly to disaster relief efforts, and the foundation is generally among the first on the scene when disaster strikes anywhere in America. To date, funds have been used in response to some 98 events across 38 U.S. states and territories, helping 17,000 American families find shelter in the process.
The National Association of Realtors® is America's largest trade association, representing more than 1.4 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
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