(from December Commercial Connections Magazine)
This is my last President’s Column in Commercial Connections before I pass the gavel on to 2017 NAR President Bill Brown. Without a doubt, every minute of every day has been an honor serving as the president of the world’s greatest association and representing the world’s most important industry. Thank you for this opportunity and thank you for all of your support along the way.
Last year, when I announced the theme for 2016, the concept of “…And Then Some” – always going that extra mile… for our families, our communities, our associations, our industry, and the clients and customers we serve, I hoped the NAR Family would embrace this philosophy. REALTORS® and REALTOR® Associations didn’t just embrace it, you all embodied it! Working together we have made a difference – not only for our associations, our fellow REALTORS®, and our industry, but for property owners and communities throughout the United States and around the globe.
The work commercial practitioners and boards have done in the “And Then Some” spirit is inspiring. In 2016 the National Association of REALTORS® dispersed 35 Commercial Innovation grants. While the purpose of this funding is to help local and state associations launch or make innovative enhancements to commercial services, what we found was that a majority of the submitted projects were designed not only to help REALTORS®, but also to help REALTORS® impact their local communities. For example, the Commercial Association of REALTORS® Wisconsin obtained a grant to host a program focused on commercial real estate opportunities outside the boundaries of the robust Downtown Milwaukee market. This event, held in an underdeveloped neighborhood, brought thought leaders from private industry and the public sector together to discuss best-practices of existing community development programs. With the goal of highlighting strategic investment and initiatives that grow jobs, improve safety, and bring economic opportunity, members and community leaders engaged in thoughtful discussion about the importance of commercial real estate practitioners in community development.
Other extraordinary “And Then Some” examples include the work REALTORS® and REALTOR® Associations are doing in conjunction with REALTOR® Party Smart Growth Action Grants. These grants help to fund a wide range of activities that support REALTOR® engagement in land or transportation-related issues with the primary goals of affecting public policies that support a more sustainable development paradigm, raising the profile of REALTORS® as community leaders, and enhancing REALTOR® relationships with elected officials. This summer the Bronx-Manhattan North Association of REALTORS® utilized a Smart Growth Action Grant to partner with the eight neighborhoods that comprise Bronx Community Board 9 (BXCB9) to develop a comprehensive plan, and help ensure future growth benefits existing communities, new residents, and businesses. BXCB9 is 22 percent denser in population than the Bronx overall, and has very little vacant land available to develop. For years BXCB9 residents were concerned that no one was paying attention to their vision for the wise growth of their neighborhoods. However, the Bronx-Manhattan North Association of REALTORS® stepped in to help this community find their voice and become more empowered.
These are just two of the many examples of how REALTORS® working together have made a difference over the last year. As 2016 winds down and we look ahead to 2017, I hope that you will continue to give your all ….and then some. It’s incredible what you can accomplish when we work together. Not only do REALTORS® make our industry better; REALTORS® make the world better!
NAR President, 2016