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Collin County Association of Realtors

The Collin County Association of Realtors' (CCAR) charitable organization, the North Texas Realtors in Action Foundation, became official just in the nick of time. When the tornadoes hit on December 26, the Foundation was ready to provide support unlike any other organization in the area.

"CCAR wanted to start a charitable organization to aid area residents for a long time," says CCAR Chief Executive Officer Mary Leidy. "It just so happened that after weeks of filling out and filing paperwork, as well as meeting with accountants and attorneys, we received our official 'okay' to do business just three days before the tornadoes hit." 

While the Foundation had planned to hold a kick-off event to announce its creation, CCAR's team knew that helping residents impacted by the tornadoes was paramount. Within just a few hours of the tornadoes touching ground, CCAR and its Foundation began collecting truckloads of item donations for the Red Cross, Realtor volunteers were on the ground helping with the clean-up efforts, and monetary support was being provided to victims.

"I don’t know of any other organization out there that can say 100-percent of the money donated to aid tornado victims, actually goes to the victims," says Matt Hilton, CCAR Immediate Past-President and the Realtor volunteer leading the Foundation's clean-up efforts. "I'm proud to say that CCAR's North Texas Realtors in Action Foundation is able to give 100-percent of all money we receive to aid tornado victims to those actually impacted by the tornadoes. To be able to do that, has made a tremendous impact for those individuals who have contacted us for support."

Since the tornadoes touched down, the doors to CCAR's offices in Plano, Wylie and Dallas have been swinging non-stop with support from the real estate community. At its Disaster Relief Donation Drive event on January 4, the generous monetary donations received added to the more than $16,000 that the Foundation has raised in just one week. All of the money raised goes directly to local tornado victims who contact the Foundation for assistance.

Aside from the monetary donations the Foundation has received, CCAR's Realtor members have stepped up to lend a hand. Every day for the past week, Collin County Realtors have been "feet on the ground," helping residents in Collin and Dallas counties with clean-up efforts.

"Since 2011, I have led groups of around 20 to help with debris clean-up in several disaster areas such as Joplin, Missouri, Moore, Oklahoma and West, Texas," says Hilton. "I had the honor of leading over 100 volunteers in the last week in the debris clean-up efforts in Collin County and Rowlett. We have worked hard as a team in these initial days, and we will be deploying again in the weeks to come."

"While this is not the kick-off we had planned for the Foundation, I cannot think of an absolutely better way to give back to our community. We're where we need to be, offering support to the residents and communities we care about it," says Leidy. "Whether it's on the ground clearing debris, providing monetary support to help a family make ends meet for the time being, or simply being there with open ears and hearts, this is what our Foundation was meant to do. I'm so glad that we can be of service."

The North Texas Realtors in Action Foundation encourages those affected by the December 26 tornadoes to contact CCAR at 972-618-3800 for assistance. In addition, CCAR has partnered with the Texas Association of Realtors to promote the Realtors Relief Fund, which provides up to $1,000 to those who have suffered losses due to natural disasters in Texas. More information and an application for assistance can be found at www.texasrealestate.com/relief.