By Peggy Kayser, CAE, CIPS, RCE
Chief Executive Officer
Realtor Association of NorthWest Chicagoland
It began with a simple idea — how could we, as an association, help the families of soldiers that had been called to active duty? We had always wanted to band together as an association for a specific cause, since it would be a great way to work together as a group while contributing time and energy to those in need of assistance.
The Realtor Association of NorthWest Chicagoland’s (RANWC) affiliate committee chair, Ken Hager, came up with the original idea to help those families, and as an association we all agreed it was a worthy cause. RANWC’s Board of Directors approved the concept, and created the RANWC Charitable Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization. This is something any association can do, and it’s a great way to reach out to the community in which you belong in a positive way.
Sadly, Ken Hager passed away unexpectedly, but was able to see the beginnings of his dream take form. He would be so proud to know that since its inception in 2004, the Foundation has spent $31,030.90 helping 26 families by paying rent, mortgage payments, plumbing repairs, utility payments, security deposits, taxes, lawn care, snow removal and other housing related expenses on their behalf.
The Foundation was a success, and getting involved brought our members closer as they all pitched in for one specific purpose. We all know that there is competition in this industry, so I treasure the moments when we can all work together as a team.
Recently, the Foundation has expanded its support by sending “care” packages to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. We currently support 27 soldiers in all parts of the Middle East. We are also supporting a soldier at a main camp in Afghanistan by sending him bread makers and boxes of bread mix. After fresh bread is made, it is transported to soldiers stationed at a fire base, which has no electricity and no running water.
The majority of the assistance requests we receive are from central Illinois; the Springfield Armory has had many soldiers called to active duty. But now we are working with several veterans groups in Chicago by assisting in rental expense of some of the veterans who have become homeless.
The majority of our membership meetings are offered at no cost to our members, but we are now asking those attending to bring a bar of soap, a pack of disposable razors, deodorant, nuts, hard candies, goldfish crackers, trail mix, protein bars, etc., to the meeting to help us supply the soldiers with items they need and use. And again, it brings our members together for a common goal.
Regardless of one’s personal feeling about the war, we feel these soldiers are fighting to protect our freedom, and appreciate anything and everything we do for them. I feel blessed to be part of this program, and honored to share it with the other members of our association.
In addition to sending a care package, you can also help support our Heroes on June 23rd by either sponsoring a hole or registering to golf a round at Mission Hills Country Club in Northbrook, Ill. “Helping Our Heroes” has demonstrated to the community that Realtors joining hands can accomplish virtually anything.
PEGGY KAYSER, CAE, CIPS, RCE IS THE CEO OF REALTOR ASSOCIATION OF NORTHWEST CHICAGOLAND. SHE CAN BE REACHED AT 847.506.5002.
Copyright 2008 Agent Publishing LLC