Founded in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the National Association of Realtors‘ disaster relief charity is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year with a goal to raise $8.5 million.
In the last two decades, the Realtors Relief Foundation has distributed $33 million in housing aid — $8.4 million of that raised within 100 days of the 9/11 attacks — and helped 17,000 families across 40 U.S. states and territories affected by some 105 disasters, NAR said in a press release.
Because natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods and wildfires have become increasingly common, the foundation has been “forced to intensify its focus on sustainability for the years ahead, particularly as it is currently distributing funds almost as quickly as they are received,” the release said.
Therefore, the 1.48-million member trade group has decided to take a proactive approach and this week launched Hope Rising, a fundraising campaign NAR hopes will ensure the foundation has the resources to respond to disasters effectively and at a moment’s notice.
“Today, almost 20 years after its founding, the Realtors Relief Foundation continues to respond to the nation’s biggest disasters, ensuring Americans have a roof over their heads and a place they can call home even in the worst of times,” said NAR President Charlie Oppler in a statement.
“RRF embodies a history of giving back and a future of paying it forward, and as it is called upon to respond to natural disasters with increasing frequency, the role it plays becomes even more critical.”
NAR covers 100 percent of RRF’s administrative costs so that every dollar donated to the foundation goes directly to disaster relief efforts, according to NAR. The foundation has already raised more than $4 million of its $8.5 million goal, according to RRF President Michael Ford.
“As we commemorate the RRF’s 20th anniversary, we have a bold vision to ‘never say no’ to a victim in need,” he said in a statement.
Asked whether RRF funds are only used to help victims of natural disasters and whether they could potentially be used to help those affected by the catastrophic building collapse at Champlain Towers South, a luxury condo development near Miami, NAR spokesperson Wes Shaw told Inman, “RRF evolved after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and since then the majority of assistance has been directed toward natural disaster relief. The Foundation’s directors will certainly consider any relief request that comes in as a result of the tragic and ongoing situation in Florida.”
NAR declined to specify which sources it will tap to raise the funds for the Hope Rising campaign, though the release noted that realtor.com is a Founders Club-level supporter of the campaign and was RRF’s first corporate investor in the real estate industry.
“RRF wants to be in a position to help whenever any major disaster occurs on American soil,” Shaw said. “The point of Hope Rising is to equip the Foundation with the resources necessary to ensure no one is left homeless when disaster strikes. We are confident that we will meet our goal during this 20th year, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with the vast network of 1.4 million NAR members along with our supporters across the real estate industry and elsewhere to get there.”