A simple Google search of Columbus will reveal the many ‘top 10’ lists our great city has made over the past 18 months, including the most-recent ‘Hottest Hipster Market’ in America (according to yelp and realtor.com). While stats like this are great for home values and clients looking to sell their homes, we must be vigilant not to destroy what has made Columbus so special in the first place – the community.
Columbus REALTORS® members, maybe more than any other industry, embody a philosophy of giving back, not just at the closing table, but through our involvement in our neighborhoods, schools, and local nonprofit organizations. We understand we are not just selling homes; we are selling the community and know that ultimately, our future is only as strong as the weakest among us.
Rather than passive residents, each REALTOR® advocates for the central Ohio community with every transaction. To ensure this bright future and to ultimately protect our bottom lines, we must be aggressive, committing to ‘paying it forward’ every day.
It is because of this that I am very proud to serve as your chair of this year’s Columbus REALTORS® Foundation Board of Trustees.
The Columbus REALTORS® Foundation is the charitable arm of Columbus REALTORS® and thanks to the vision of past Association leaders, has emerged as one of the strongest REALTOR® nonprofit organizations in the country, committing nearly $1 million dollars to the community since 1991.
Our mission is simple, support dynamic organizations and entities who promote responsible home ownership and affordable housing opportunity in central Ohio.
This year, in addition to overseeing Foundation committees (Fundraising, Benevolence Fund, Community Grant, Scholarship, REALTOR® Care Day), the Trustees have been focused on spreading awareness of the program’s largest partnership yet – the South Side Renaissance (SSR) initiative.
Committed to providing $300,000 in funding over three years to the collaborative, the partnership is helping to create 45 affordable, single-family homes on the city’s south side, one of Columbus’ oldest most unique neighborhoods.
Spearheaded by past Columbus REALTORS® leaders, the city of Columbus, and local nonprofit housing organizations, the initiative is empowering the neighborhood, ensuring the ongoing progress our city makes includes all residents.
The Board is determined to not cut funding from other Foundation initiatives and happily, thanks to the generosity of the REALTOR® community, I am proud to relay this has been accomplished so far this year.
In addition to the $100,000 SSR grant, the Foundation has administered over $72,000 in additional funding in 2017, including $11,000 in local Area Association REALTOR® Care Day grants, $12,000 in scholarship funding, and $35,000 in grants to the following nonprofit organizations: The Buckeye Ranch, Community Shelter Board, Franklinton Rising, Furniture Bank of Central Ohio, Homeless Families Foundation, Homes on the Hill, and YWCA Family Shelter.
The program has also provided emergency aid funding via the Benevolence Fund to fellow REALTORS® in need, both locally and across the nation (Hurricane Harvey).
The Foundation would be unable to do so much good without our generous donors; we ask that you help us ‘pay it forward’ by attending one of our upcoming events, or as you contemplate your year-end giving and estate planning; donate a tax-deductible gift to the program by way of a planned gift, bequest, or even property. Donations are accepted on the Columbus REALTORS® website, or by calling Ida Seitter at the Columbus REALTORS® (614) 475-4000.
A sincere thank you goes to this year’s Foundation committee chairs, Melissa Friermood (Benevolence), Kathy Shiflet & Peggy Halbrook (Fundraising), Jesse Shkolnik (Scholarship), and Zach Appleby, Jodee Gallagher, Trish Morrow (RCD), for all of their hard work and dedication, along with each of the 120+ Columbus REALTORS® members serving on Foundation committees.
Not just seeking dollars, we ask that you consider serving as a member of one of the Foundation committees next year; whether it’s through one day of service with REALTOR® Care Day, or by sharing your education background, nonprofit experience, or event planning/fundraising skills, your unique voice will help us ensure the Columbus REALTORS® Foundation burns bright for many years to come.