AE Committee Chair Update: Outreach Is in Our Heart

“Wherever you turn, you can find someone who needs you. Even if it is a little thing, do something for which there is no pay but the privilege of doing it. Remember, you don’t live in the world all of your own.” —Albert Schweitzer  

It was late one spring night in 2014, way past dinner. The National Association of REALTORS® Organizational Alignment PAG, had been meeting all day, and snow was falling hard outside the NAR building in Washington, D.C.

We were stuck on how to best capture the essence of meaningful “consumer engagement” and communicate what Core Standards would need associations do to satisfy this outreach requirement. I believe was Cindy Butts, CEO of the Connecticut Association of REALTORS®, who said something like, “This is the easy one. This is what associations do every day regardless of their size or resources. This is who we are.”

What Cindy was saying is what we all know: REALTOR® associations have had making their communities better at their heart for more than a hundred years.

It was REALTORS® who lined up with Lady Bird Johnson in the 1960s to help in the Keep America Beautiful campaign. It was our REALTORS® Relief Foundation in 2005 that supported the construction of nearly 100 new homes for victims of Hurricane Katrina all along the Gulf Coast. It was through the efforts of our state associations that aid was mobilized and delivered to victims of tornadoes in Oklahoma and flooding in the southeast.

It was our 2016 NAR President Tom Salomone who said, “Let’s do all of that and then some, and focus our support on the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.”

This issue celebrates the greatness of outreach that is our organization: local, state, and national.

I have my own outreach story. Last year I met an inspiring woman, Chef Minnie, executive chef for the Gospel Rescue Mission in Tucson. As it turns out, Chef Minnie (aka Robin Hardy) was a REALTOR® for many years before following her passion for cooking and providing food support for nearly 100 of our city’s most vulnerable women and children every day.

Through a connection on Facebook, I learned that her rescue mission had a need. Over a few weeks of planning and fundraising, the REALTOR® organization and the Tucson YPN group designed and installed four raised-bed herb gardens so Chef Minnie and her team could have a sustainable source of herbs and spices for their kitchen and a learning lab to help mission residents learn how to grow food for themselves.

What strikes me most is that this story isn’t unique. REALTORS® teaming up to help their neighbors happens every day. It’s who we are.

Life has a funny way of changing our course from time to time. As I write this final column as the 2016 AEC chair, I am no longer working with the Tucson Association of REALTORS®. I want to thank everyone in Tucson for their support. Together we accomplished some amazing things and had some great times.

Thank you for the honor of being your 2016 chair of the Association Executives Committee. 

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