TRAR, Illini Valley lend help to nearby tornado victims

Illini Valley Association of REALTORS® CEO Gail Pyszka receives a stack of VISA gift cards from Three Rivers Association of REALTORS® CEO David McClintock.

The Three Rivers Association of REALTORS® (TRAR) and the Illini Valley Association of REALTORS® are working together to supplement assistance given by the American Red Cross and other relief organizations to victims of last week’s tornadoes in LaSalle County.

TRAR donated $500 in VISA cards and delivered them to Illini Valley last weekend. Illini Valley CEO Gail Pyszka thanked TRAR CEO David McClintock and President Matt Persicketti for the speed of the donation.

Three Rivers was very generous. They drove down with $500 in gift cards,” Pyszka said.

“Having been through two terrible tornadoes in the last three years, we were certain they could use the funds immediately,” said McClintock.

“We have been distributing applications for disaster relief from the Illinois REALTORS® Relief Foundation at the Multi Agency Resource Center (MARC) in Ottawa, as well as 80 Wal-Mart gift cards Illinois REALTORS® donated. Illini Valley members donated gift cards too.”

Several Illini Valley REALTORS® living in the affected area had damage to their homes and property, she said.

See the blog post about the tornadoes.


IRRF accepting applications to help Tuesday’s tornado victims

Bigstock tornado damage

As a result of the violent storms that ripped across several areas of Illinois Tuesday night, the Illinois REALTORS® Relief Foundation (IRRF) has sprung into action.

The IRRF is accepting applications to assist victims whose property was damaged by tornadoes, high winds, heavy rain and hail. The foundation, which is one of the charitable arms of Illinois REALTORS®, provides assistance to disaster victims. The latest outreach is for those who were affected by the storms which swept through the south suburban Chicago area, north-central Illinois and southern Illinois.

Thursday the National Weather Service confirmed six tornadoes in northern Illinois, including EF-3 tornadoes that hit Ottawa and the nearby village of Naplate as well as Washburn, northeast of Peoria. Two Ottawa men died as a result of injuries when a tree fell during the storm. Another man in the southern Illinois town of Crossville (White County), near the Indiana state line, died during a storm, too.

Damage was heavy in Naplate and on the south side of Ottawa, with a report of one fourth of Naplate’s 200 homes damaged. Gov. Bruce Rauner visited the area Wednesday morning. In the entire county, nearly 10,000 customers were at one time without power and residents of a nursing home had to be evacuated for safety reasons.

Who is eligible for IRRF assistance?

Anyone who is a full-time Illinois resident, a U.S. citizen and who meets the criteria of the program is eligible to obtain funds.

  • Relief assistance is limited to $500 per application.
  • Assistance can be used for the applicant’s daily needs and employment.
  • Assistance is need-based and other forms of assistance may be taken into consideration when awarding grants.
  • All grants made through IRRF are based on availability of funds and applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you know someone who was affected, or want to apply for aid, the form is here.

Apply for NAR’s Volunteering Works mentoring program before Feb. 28

Image by Bigstock

REALTORS® who want to increase the impact of their community service should apply for the National Association of REALTORS®’ (NAR) Volunteering Works program before the Feb. 28 deadline.

Five applicants will be chosen to receive a year of one-on-one mentoring from successful volunteers who are members of the Good Neighbor Society, according to the NAR. The five winners will also receive $1,000 grant as seed money to improve their community service program. (Get the application.)

Winners are chosen based on the dedication they show to their community and the potential for their charitable work to be enhanced by an expert mentor. REALTORS® engaged in charity work and have specific challenges they want to address will be ideal candidates for the program.

Mentors will be chosen from NAR’s Good Neighbor Society, which includes more than 130 previous Good Neighbor Award winners and Good Neighbor Award honorable mention recipients. Mentors average 20-plus hours weekly on volunteer work. They have built and led some of the most effective charitable organizations in the United States.

Get more information about Volunteering Works.

In 2015, REALTOR® Daniel Goodwin, chairman and chief executive officer for the Inland Real Estate Group, Inc., of Oak Brook was selected as a Good Neighbor Award winner. Nominations for the 2017 Good Neighbor Awards are due May 12. Find out more.


REALTORS® can help fight hunger in their communities

REALTORS® can play an important role in fighting hunger in their communities by informing sellers about Move for Hunger. Move for Hunger is a nationwide non-profit organization that provides local food pantries with unopened, non-perishable food through cooperation of local real estate professionals, home sellers and moving companies.

Often, for convenience, sellers will throw away food during their move. Move for Hunger collects those non-perishable food items that would otherwise be thrown away and delivers them to local food pantries, whic directly benefits the communities where the sellers live.

You can help by asking your local association to partner with Move for Hunger and making sellers aware of the program. Visit to learn more and get involved.

Task force maps REALTOR® participation in state’s 200th birthday

Illinois REALTORS® Bicentennial Task Force members meet in East Peoria Illinois during the association’s Public Policy Meetings. Photo: Scott Moomaw

Members of the Illinois REALTORS® Bicentennial Task Force met Monday in East Peoria to discuss the association’s plans to honor the state’s 200th anniversary.

REALTOR® Vicky Turner at a meeting of the Bicentennial Task Force. Turner serves as chair of the panel.

The association began planning last year to commemorate the state’s milestone birthday in 2018, and heard presentations from task force committee members and a representative serving on the Illinois Bicentennial Commission.

The state association task force outlined plans to have local associations to adopt local historic landmarks. Capital Area REALTORS® recently announced it was adopting a Springfield historic site, and other local REALTOR® associations are in the planning process.

“This can be a small project, it does not have to be big,” said Vicky Turner, the task force’s chair. “We want to make sure the community knows about our work.”

Rebecca Thomson gives an update that the Bicentennial Task Force meeting on Monday, Jan. 23, 2017.

Jim Kinney, a former Illinois REALTORS® president who serves on the state commission, said the commission met for the first time in January. He praised the state association task force’s planning.

“This is a great opportunity where as REALTORS® we can show the public and the state our leadership potential,” Kinney said.

The state association is looking at developing property on the north side of its Springfield headquarters into a park commemorating the state’s 200th birthday.

The REALTORS® effort to celebrate the bicentennial has a Facebook page, and uses a Twitter hashtag, #REALTORSworkingwithHeart.