On June 6, residents of Bonita Springs, Fla., awakened to find a beloved community park had been vandalized. The park is a popular gathering spot for holidays and special events, and city leaders were concerned that the graffiti spray-painted on the bricks and concrete of the park’s band shell and other structures would overshadow an otherwise peaceful protest calling for racial justice and equality.
Bonita Springs-Estero REALTORS® stepped in.
Meighan Harris, the association’s CEO, was the first AE to apply for and receive the National Association of REALTORS®’ new 2020 Community Rebuilding Grant. NAR launched the grant program in early June to support REALTOR®-led efforts to rebuild and restore communities rocked by tension and unrest. Harris worked with lawmakers to bring in a professional cleaning crew — and used the cleanup as an opportunity to convey through traditional and social media that her association stood for equality, fair housing, and inclusion.
So far, 14 REALTOR® association projects have been approved for grants of up to $3,000. The Fredericksburg Area Association of REALTORS® in Virginia used its grant to sponsor a communitywide event it dubbed a “Love Scrub.” REALTOR® volunteers cleaned downtown areas, including a community park, streets, and a police memorial.
“As REALTORS®, we commit to be part of the overall solution,” says Ezekiel “Zeke” Morris, REALTOR® Party community engagement liaison and owner of EMA Realty & Management in Chicago. “The grant is a great first step.”
Learn more at realtorparty.realtor/communityrebuilding.