Illinois REALTORS® recognized with third annual Springfield volunteer award

On Monday night, Illinois REALTORS® was named to the Springfield Good as Gold Business Honor Roll for the third consecutive year.

Created by the University of Illinois-Springfield Volunteer & Civic Engagement Center, the Junior League of Springfield and the United Way of Central Illinois in 2009, the Good as Gold Ceremony recognizes individuals for their community service and businesses for their support of employees that volunteer for nonprofit and charitable organizations. Good as Gold also recognizes Springfield businesses for their charitable giving. Each year, community members thank volunteers and businesses for those efforts, which make Springfield “a better place to live and thrive.”

In 2017, Illinois REALTORS® won recognition in the category for businesses with between 51 and 151 employees.

The association has been working with the city of Springfield and the Illinois Executive Mansion Association to help revitalize the Jackson Street Corridor with a pedestrian walkway from the Lincoln Home to the State Capitol.

Also, during the past year, Illinois REALTORS® supported several organizations with sponsorships, monetary donations and goods:

  • An annual holiday giving program through Contact Ministries;
  • The Hope Institute
  • Play for the Cure
  • Jared’s Keepers Foundation
  • Illinois Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs
  • Springfield Striders
  • Early Learning Center
  • Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum
  • University of Illinois Foundation
  • Springfield Good as Gold and
  • Downtown Springfield, Inc.

The Illinois REALTORS® provided meeting space to these organizations, too:

  • Illinois Housing Development Authority
  • Association of Women in Communications
  • Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Leadership Springfield, Inc.
  • American Institute of Architects Green Symposium
  • Mini O’Beirne Crisis Nursery
  • Better Government Association
  • Advance Illinois, Community Foundation of the Land of Lincoln and
  • Citizens Club of Springfield.

NAR offers help for Illinois tornado victims too

Illini Valley CEO Gail Pyszka and Ottawa REALTOR® Katie Troccoli were two of the volunteers helping tornado victims near Ottawa in early March. Others included Andrea Greenwalt, Linda Taglia, Alice Green, Tom Guttilla and Dara Weikel.

Starting immediately, Illinois’ late February-early March tornado victims can apply for up to $1,500 in housing relief assistance from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) REALTOR® Relief Foundation, too.

REALTORS® can share this application with tornado victims whose primary residence has been affected by tornado damage. Victims can use the assistance to make a monthly mortgage payment or to pay for temporary shelter.  The maximum available amount is $1,500 per applicant, per household.

The deadline for application submission is July 1, 2017.

Your state association helps too

This financial assistance is in addition to money available to Illinois tornado victims through the Illinois REALTOR® Relief Fund (IRRF). The IRRF offers a maximum of $500 per application, with the money to be used for documented housing, subsistence, and other needs such as assistance with insurance deductible. Applicants must be full-time Illinois residents who meet program criteria. Assistance is needs-based and grants are given on a first-come, first-served basis.

Members of the Illini Valley Association of REALTORS® (IVAR) helped staff the Multi Agency Resource Center in Ottawa in the days and weeks following the tornadoes, passing out IRRF applications for disaster relief and Wal-Mart gift cards to victims whose homes were severely damaged in the storms. IVAR CEO Gail Pyszka says the generosity of REALTORS® around the state has been appreciated.

“We are so grateful for the outpouring of support by both our community and the surrounding area association members,” she says.

The IRRF has received 27 applications for assistance so far says Cathy Madaus, Illinois REALTORS® Director of Operations, and liaison for the IRRF.

The National Weather Service confirmed six tornadoes in northern Illinois the evening of Feb. 28, including EF-3 tornadoes that hit Ottawa, the nearby village of Naplate and Washburn, northeast of Peoria. Two Ottawa men died from injuries after a tree fell during the storm. Another man died in the southern Illinois town of Crossville, in White County, near the Indiana state line.

Damage was heaviest in Naplate and on the south side of Ottawa, with one fourth of Naplate’s 200 homes damaged.

One of the first local associations to offer assistance to the area was the Three Rivers Association of REALTORS® delivering $500 of gift cards to the relief efforts. However, since then, the Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® and the Heartland REALTOR® Organization have given $1,000 and $500 to IRRF, says Madaus. REALTORS® who would like to donate money to IRRF online can do so via debit card, credit card or PayPal account. Go here to donate.


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.