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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

REALTORS® Helping REALTORS®: Columbus REALTORS® Benevolence Fund

Author(s):Kathy Shiflet

Let’s face it. No matter how carefully we plan and prepare, life has a way of disrupting our best intentions, and from time to time we all face emergencies in our professional or personal lives.

As healthcare access, natural disasters, and the effects of the opioid crisis continue to make national news, it’s important to remember the many local REALTOR® families impacted by disasters every day.

We are such a giving industry. So many donate their money and volunteer countless hours of their time and energy helping others facing adversity, but where can they turn when they are the ones facing trouble? The Columbus REALTORS® Benevolence Fund.

Beginning with a mission to provide a way for REALTORS® to help fellow REALTORS® in need, the Benevolence Fund has evolved into the emergency assistance program for Columbus REALTORS® members, their employees, and families.

I am very proud to serve as this year’s Benevolence Fund Chair and happy to share with you our many successes since the program’s inception in 2012. To date, we have been able to provide an incredible $62,000 in emergency aid to 32 deserving families and colleagues.

Our primary goal is to help the applicant continue working, assisting with payments that unless paid, would hinder the individual unable to work, creating a ‘cycle’ that is often so hard to break.

As the process is 100 percent confidential, it is hard to share the details of those who have been impacted by the program, but I will share a few examples of past grant funding, as we would like to both encourage persons to apply and to donate to the program.

Past Benevolence Grant Funding:

  • Longtime member sick with bone cancer, funds to cover prescriptions and gas for weekly trips to Cleveland Clinic.
  • Tragic house fire (including the loss of three family pets), emergency funds to provide housing and basic needs assistance for family of five while awaiting insurance claim.
  • 50-year member struggling to pay for dentures that prevented being able to continue working.
  • Funeral and transportation costs for longtime REALTOR® who died out of state with no will or insurance.
  • Funds to assist with the purchase of mobile oxygen device not covered by Medicare to allow member mobility to keep working.
  • Family struggling with medical insurance payments for REALTOR® father sick with cancer.
  • Christmas funding for family whose father (sole earner) suddenly passed with no will or life insurance.

The process is confidential and done with upmost discretion. One may apply personally or on behalf of another member.  Requests are accepted anytime and may be obtained by visiting the Columbus REALTORS® Foundation website or by calling Ida Seitter at Columbus REALTORS® (614) 475-4000.

The only way we can assist our fellow members is with your help. We thank everyone for coming out and attending the third annual ‘Bowling for Benevolence’ on Oct. 22, 2019, with another sold-out crowd of 200+ REALTOR® community supporters, we absolutely furthered the mission of the program.

I end by asking you to remember the Benevolence Fund program as you contemplate your estate planning. Pay it forward by donating a tax-deductible planned gift, bequest, or even property to the program. Columbus REALTORS® staff is waiting to hear from you!

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