The Rhode Island Association of REALTORS® went all-in when it decided to make a big splash to raise funds for disaster relief. The leadership team of the association took a cold dip in the Atlantic Ocean on Jan. 2 to bring attention to, and raise money for, the REALTORS® Relief Foundation. Next year, they plan to make an even bigger splash, and they’re already looking to drum up interest from other associations that may be inspired to take the plunge as well.
At a recent holiday party, the leadership of the Rhode Island Association of REALTORS® quickly assembled a team of willing participants who would accept a challenge to jump into chilly, 46-degree ocean water. They wanted to rally more attention among their members for the REALTORS® Relief Foundation, which is operated by NAR and raises funds for short-term housing assistance to families and individuals displaced by disasters. Over 20 years, the REALTORS® Relief Foundation has disbursed $33 million to help 17,000 families in 40 states and territories cope with the devastation of displacement and loss after a natural disaster.
Those who didn’t want to take the polar plunge could still participate—for the benefit of staying dry and warm. The small group willing to take the plunge raised about $1,000 in private donations.
They’re already putting their members on notice for next year: Be ready to take the polar plunge and learn about ways to participate in RRF.
“I’ve had some friends in Kentucky and Tennessee who were affected by the recent tornados … and then I heard about the Colorado wildfires,” says Chris Whitten, treasurer at the Rhode Island Association of REALTORS®, who wore a shirt and tie for the polar plunge. “There have been REALTORS® affected by that too. … We really wanted to help raise funds at a state level for those affected by recent disasters.”
Joining Whitten for Sunday’s polar escapade were Leann D’Ettore, immediate past president of the Rhode Island association; Bryant Da Cruz, its president-elect; Joe Luca, past president; Alexander Parmenidez, president of the Northern Rhode Island Board of REALTORS®; Brian Russell, president of the Newport County Board of REALTORS®; and Bill Fain, president of the Kent-Washington Association of REALTORS®.