Ontario REALTORS® giving much-needed boost to charities stressed by COVID-19 impacts

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, Canadian charities are facing a drastic decline in revenues as well as access to the services of their volunteers. On May 12, 2020, the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) announced they will be donating $480,000 to shelters and shelter-based charities across the province via emergency grants from the Ontario REALTORS Care® Foundation, to help them continue to protect the most vulnerable populations. OREA’s 37 member boards have each received a portion of this donation and distribution of the funds is underway in communities across the province.

“I am proud to be part of a community that sees first-hand, the positive impacts of having a safe place to take shelter and what it can do for an individual and a community,” said Michael Collins, President of the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB), in a news release about the use of their board’s portion of the emergency funds.

One of the charities that will benefit from TRREB’s support is the Toronto Foundation for Student Success, which provides more than 200,000 students across the GTA with a meal every day.

“When the schools closed, we knew that children would still need food,” said Sandra Best, the organization’s social media and donor relations coordinator. “This $50,000 donation will buy 1,000 grocery cards, which is the equivalent of 30,000 meals.”

The Chatham-Kent Association of REALTORS® (CKAR) has donated their emergency funds to the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance Foundation to help them purchase essential equipment to protect local front-line workers from COVID-19.

“We feel that these funds will be put to excellent use during this unprecedented time, and truly appreciate the contribution that the Foundation gives to our hospital and the front-line essential workers,” said CKAR President Michael Gibbons.

As of June 1, 2020, the following emergency grants had been distributed, with more to come:

  • The Cornwall and District Real Estate Board provided $2,930 to Maison Baldwin House;
  • The Durham Region Association of REALTORS® distributed $5,985 equally amongst the Shine Through the Rain Foundation, the Nanny Angel Network Inc., and Luke’s Place Support & Resource Centre for Women & Children;
  • The Kawartha Lakes Real Estate Association provided $950 to CMHA HKPK and $1,000 to A Place Called Home;
  • The London and St. Thomas Association of REALTORS® distributed $11,560 equally amongst the St. Thomas Elgin Food Bank, The Salvation Army Strathroy Community and Family Services, Mission Services of London, the London & Area Food Bank, and Meals on Wheels London;
  • The Mississauga Real Estate Board provided $6,010 to The Mississauga Food Bank;
  • The Northumberland Hills Association of REALTORS® provided $2,680 to the Northumberland Hills Share Food Bank – Cobourg;
  • The Ottawa Real Estate Board distributed $15,651.43 equally amongst Hospice Care Ottawa, Jericho Road Ministries, the Lanark Highlands Youth Centre, Ancoura, A New Day Youth and Adult Services, and the Eastern Ottawa Resource Centre;
  • The Rideau St. Lawrence Real Estate Board distributed $2,160 equally amongst Food for All Food Bank Serving South Grenville Area Inc., the Athens Food Bank Crisis Fund Association, the Smiths Falls Community Food Bank, and The Table Community Food Centre;
  • The Sarnia-Lambton Real Estate Board distributed $3,190 equally amongst Habitat for Humanity Sarnia Lambton and The Inn of the Good Shepherd;
  • The Thunder Bay Real Estate Board provided $3,310 to Crisis Homes Inc. operating as Faye Peterson House;
  • The Windsor-Essex County Association of REALTORS® provided $7,280 to Community Living Essex County; and
  • The Woodstock Ingersoll & District Real Estate Board provided $2,840 to VON Oxford Sakura House.

Although these are uncertain times, the unwavering support that Ontario REALTORS® have demonstrated for protecting at-risk populations has proved, once again, that their hearts are in the communities they serve.

“It is our hope that this donation will help shelters and food banks through this incredibly difficult time,” shared OREA President Sean Morrison. “And when this is behind us, Ontario REALTORS® will still be there, as they’ve been for more than 40 years, raising money to support our local shelters and food banks.”

Pictured: Michael Gibbons, President of the Chatham-Kent Association of REALTORS®, presents donation to Mary Lou Crowley, President and CEO of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance Foundation.

One thought on “Ontario REALTORS® giving much-needed boost to charities stressed by COVID-19 impacts”

  1. What if… your organization and/or its members went upstream from the charities? In terms of impact, it could actually be greater if OREA organized to assist/influenced landlords to avoid evicting people who will otherwise be put into incredibly precarious situations. Evicted people have no reference from their prior landlords and become couch-surfers, homeless shelter users, or tent-dwellers. In terms of the target of your members’ charitable givings, i.e. “charities stressed by COVID-19 impacts,” I think I can quite reasonably draw a line straight from evicted folks to charitable organizations. Newly evicted people facing incredibly precarious situations will further stress those charities, let alone family members and the public sector. For indefinite periods of time.

    From the gift amounts listed in this post, what do they represent relative to the fee your average real estate agent receives for sale of a home? As a group, your members have benefitted more than most Ontarians from double-digit rates of growth in home prices. And your members have directly contributed to the literally untenable, structural rise in home rental prices. Is OREA willing to weigh in to beneficially impact the home rental crisis before even more strain is placed on its charitable beneficiaries? If you will consider doing so, please reach out to me or your beneficiaries to ask about how best to make an upstream impact–to divert people from need of their services.

    Very sincerely yours,
    Josh Harrower

    p.s. If there are factors you believe I have unfairly overlooked, I would enjoy the chance to learn about/acknowledge them.

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