The four real estate boards and associations of New Brunswick were part of more than 30 across Canada who participated in REALTORS Care® Week 2020. Through the “Buy a Night in a Shelter” campaign, the “Collect for the Cold” fundraising drive and direct donations, the New Brunswick Real Estate Association (NBREA), Greater Moncton REALTORS® du Grand Moncton, the Real Estate Board of Fredericton Area, Inc. and Saint John Real Estate Board all stepped up to support those experiencing homelessness across the province.
When planning for REALTORS Care® Week, NBREA sat down with Fredericton Homeless Shelters to figure out how best they can support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. They learned a very interesting, and educational, statistic: it only costs $10 to house a person in a homeless shelter for one night in New Brunswick. Armed with that knowledge, they sought out to fundraise and educate with their “Buy a Night in a Shelter” GoFundMe campaign, soliciting $10 donations. They reached out to the three local boards to participate and help spread the word within the province’s REALTOR® community.
The campaign was promoted on social media and NBREA hosted podcasts with some of the benefitting shelters to shine a light on some of the unexpected costs they’ve seen through the pandemic. Greater Moncton REALTORS® du Grand Moncton, the Real Estate Board of Fredericton Area, Inc. and Saint John Real Estate Board all played critical roles in rallying REALTORS® in their local community and raising funds.
At the end of the campaign, New Brunswick REALTORS® had raised over $6,800, the equivalent of 680 shelter nights. The funds were distributed between Fredericton Homeless Shelters, Outflow Saint John, Nazareth House in Moncton and Explore Youth Centre in Bathurst.
“Our efforts with the national REALTORS Care® Week initiative exceeded my expectations,” shared Jamie Ryan, NBREA CEO. “This is thanks in large part to our partnership with the local real estate boards, REALTOR® enthusiasm and the initiative of our Communications and Events Officer in ensuring we had given lots of advance notice to our members of our goal to raise as much money for a number of shelters in the province.”
The Saint John Real Estate Board brought their competitive fire to the fundraising campaign. By rallying local REALTORS® as “Team Saint John,” they were able to contribute close to half of the funds raised through the “Buy a Night in a Shelter” campaign.
On top of contributing to the GoFundMe campaign, the Real Estate Board of Fredericton Area, Inc. held their second annual Collect for the Cold collection drive. Fredericton and area REALTORS® and local community members answered the call, donating enough new or gently used winter clothing to fill up their entire boardroom! One community member was kind enough to knit boxes full of warm winter essentials, while a local REALTOR® went out and spent close to $800 on new winter coats. The donations were distributed to shelters and foodbanks in Fredericton, Oromocto and Woodstock.
While contributing to the province-wide fundraising campaign, Greater Moncton REALTORS® du Grand Moncton wanted to ensure that a few local organizations close to their heart were taken care of during REALTORS Care® Week. In a typical year, they would have hosted a charity golf tournament, donating the proceeds to local charities during their annual “Big Cheque Day”. With COVID-19 making the golf tournament impossible, Greater Moncton REALTORS® decided to skip straight to “Big Cheque Day,” donating a whopping $20,000 to Habitat for Humanity, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Crossroads for Women.
“This year our donation recipients were all especially grateful, as demand for their services are up and resources and funding were down,” shared George Murray, Executive Officer of Greater Moncton REALTORS® du Grand Moncton. “We heard many heartfelt comments that stick with you and make ‘Big Cheque Day’ the best day of the year.”
The efforts seen in New Brunswick demonstrates the impact we can make when REALTORS® work together. “No one person or group can do it all,” continued Murray. “Knowing that every bit the REALTOR® community has done has helped others makes me smile a little bit wider, even under the mask.”