There is no question that REALTORS® have a passion for giving back, and that generous spirit was never more evident than in the hours following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on our nation. Our world as we knew it was shaken to its core and REALTORS® jumped into action to create the REALTORS® Relief Foundation (RRF), raising $8.4 million from REALTORS® and others, vowing that no American should be at risk of losing their home because of the loss of a breadwinner in a terrorist attack on American soil. Post 9/11, RRF’s commitment evolved to also provide assistance to those whose homes have been damaged or destroyed by disaster.
As someone deeply and personally affected by 9/11, 2021 National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) President Charlie Oppler has made the RRF a top priority during his tenure.
“Today, the REALTORS® Relief Foundation continues to respond to the nation’s biggest disasters, ensuring that Americans have a roof over their heads and a place they can call home even in the worst of times. RRF embodies a history of giving back and a future of paying it forward, and as it is called upon with increasing frequency to respond to natural disasters, the role it plays becomes even more critical,” says Oppler.
For the last 20 years, during times of heartbreak, REALTORS® have never failed to step up and support the RRF because That’s Who We R. The RRF and the thousands of victims of disasters who’ve benefited from that generosity will be forever grateful. Whether a tornado in Arkansas, a flood in Michigan, fires in California or this year’s Hurricane Ida—affecting states from Louisiana to New York—when disaster strikes, our REALTOR® family instantly goes to work, sending money to RRF so the foundation can quickly help affected families and their communities. In fact, the RRF has helped more than 17,000 families in 40 states and territories, and has stepped in to provide $33 million in support for over 100 natural disasters.
Hope Rising Campaign
“This year, as the nation marked two decades since 9/11, RRF commemorated its 20th anniversary by launching Hope Rising, a campaign designed to ensure that RRF can respond to disasters as quickly and effectively as possible,” says RRF President Michael Ford, a broker from West Memphis, Arkansas. “At this inflection point, our vision has shifted from reaching out for support when a disaster strikes to building a sustainable, growable fund so we’ll never have to say ‘no’ to a victim in need of assistance.”
With a goal to raise $8.5 million, the Hope Rising campaign will allow the foundation to build reserves, enabling it to pivot quickly to provide funds, mortgage assistance and temporary housing for families whenever or wherever disaster occurs, even if that’s in your community. And the pledge made in the days after 9/11 remains: 100% of funds donated to RRF go to relief efforts.
Spreading Goodwill in the Community
REALTORS® are at the heart of the community. They are active, engaged and deeply connected, with intimate knowledge of local happenings and true concern for their neighbors. RRF is also rooted in community. When families apply for disaster relief, we invite volunteer REALTORS® to spread the word about RRF assistance and, whenever possible, personally deliver checks to the applicants—sending a strong message to the recipient and the community that REALTORS® are there for them in good times and bad.
To learn more, please visit nar.realtor/rrf.
John Pierpoint is CFO and senior vice president, Finance and Buildings, National Association of REALTORS®.