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2018 Issues Mobilization Program Policy Review Workgroup

2018 Issues Mobilization Program Policy Review Workgroup

The Issues Mobilization Program provides financial and technical assistance to state and local REALTOR® associations to support their public policy advocacy efforts. The program provides assistance on a wide range of state and local public policy issues. The program is governed by a policy document that covers the scope of the program, the grant application process, and the grant consideration/approval process. It is revised periodically as the program grows and matures.

The program budget increased substantially with the advent of the REALTOR® Party in 2008, and the program has continued to grow in budget and usage since that time. The 66 grants awarded in 2017 significantly exceeded any previous year, and 2018 grants are on pace with 2017.

The program is managed by the State and Local Issues Mobilization Support Committee, which is comprised of NAR volunteer members and state/local association staff. In accordance with Work Group recommendations in 2014 and 2015, the committee approved program policy changes that addressed such subjects as: a grant applicant “skin in the game” contribution requirement; usage of Corporate Ally program funds; and a streamlined process for considering smaller grant requests.

Considering that the program continues to experience significant growth, a 2018 Work Group has been approved for the purpose of reviewing current program operations and recommending policy revisions that will enhance its efficient and effective operation. In 2018, demand (grant requests) has far exceeded supply (grant funds). Program staff and leadership have requested and received additional funds from NAR Finance three times in the 2018 budget year, and we will likely need to make an additional request in 2018 given the continuing high demand.

Since we expect that strong demand will continue to strain program resources in the coming years, the Work Group will consider and recommend policy revisions designed to: 1) improve management efficiencies; 2) improve Committee oversight; and 3) better meet increased demand.

Download the 2018 Issues Mobilization Program Policy Review Workgroup Recommendations 

Watch the 2018 RPAC & Issues Mobilization Workgroup Recommendations Webinar

Workgroup members included:

  • Greg Herb (PA), Committee Vice Chair/Work Group Chair
  • Chris Rost (KS), Committee Chair
  • Rick Violett (CA), Committee Immediate Past Chair
  • Eric Sain (FL), Committee Liaison
  • Kenny Parcell (UT), Vice President of Government Affairs
  • Cady Thomas (NC), GAD Committee Chair
  • Cindi Bulla (TX)
  • Nancy Cardone (FL)
  • Mike Ford (AR)
  • Steve Francks (WA)
  • Erin Hervey (MO)
  • John Kmiecik (IL)
  • Robert McMillan (AL)
  • Susan Renfrew (MA)
  • Chris Sloan (UT)

 

 

Questions? Contact Gerry Allen at 202-383-1109.

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2018 RPAC Fundraising Goals & Policies Workgroup

The four areas of scope within the Workgroup’s purview had not been reviewed and analyzed for program effectiveness in the last four to five years. The President’s Circle Conference and Major Investor program were last reviewed and amended during separate Workgroups in 2013. The Corporate Ally Program was created as the result of a Presidential Advisory Group in 2014 and has not been analyzed deeply since its inception. Finally, a wholesale review and update of the RPAC Fundraising Partnership Grant Program has not been conducted since the creation of the program in 2011. Recent feedback on these issue areas from members to NAR Leadership resulted in the need for this Workgroup to convene and revisit the efficacy of these important RPAC fundraising areas.

Download the 2018 RPAC Fundraising Goals & Policies Workgroup Recommendations 

Watch the 2018 RPAC & Issues Mobilization Workgroup Recommendations Webinar

Workgroup members included:

  • Bradley Boland (VA), Chair
  • Otto Catrina (CA)
  • David Alan Cox (TX)
  • Adam Davis (MO)
  • Russell Grooms (FL)
  • Jeff Hill (KS)
  • Michele Holen (OR)
  • Travis Kessler (TX)
  • Steve LaRue (KS)
  • Sara Lipnitz (MI)
  • John Powell (VA)
  • Linda Rheinberger (NV)
  • Tony Schippa (MI)
  • Carl Tackett (KY)
  • Jennifer Vucetic (NY)

 

 

Questions? Contact Lauren Facemire at 202-383-1080.

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Election 2018 Toolkit

Election 2018 Toolkit

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Every Vote Counts.

Sign the pledge to vote in the 2018 election.

  • 470 seats in the U.S. Congress (35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats)
  • 298 state executive seats up for election across 43 states
  • 69 seats on state supreme courts are up for election.
  • 166 statewide ballot measures in 38 states.
  • Elections are being held in 49 of the 100 largest cities by population in 2018.
  • Dozens of mayoral offices and city council seats across the country.
  • 925 school board seats up for grabs across 26 states

The work we do as REALTORS®, and as an organization, is noble, good, and lasting. Voting is opportunity to exemplify and solidify this point.

This November, the National Association of REALTORS® wants to make sure your voice is heard: PLEDGE TO VOTE IN THIS YEAR’S ELECTIONS!

I pledge to make my voice heard, and VOTE in the election this year.

My vote counts, and together, REALTORS® can continue advancing public policies and candidates that build strong communities, protect property interests, and promote a vibrant business environment.



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Text ‘Help’ to 30644 for help, or email comments@realtoractioncenter.com.

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Greater Nashville REALTORS® Put Placemaking Grant to Work for Pedestrian Plaza

In East Nashville this past spring, a dangerous intersection was transformed with vision, elbow grease, community collaboration, and help from a REALTOR® Party Placemaking Grant. The roughly 2,300-square foot traffic island, a once-dismal, triangular concrete slab bounded on all sides by busy thoroughfares, is now a cheerful and much safer pedestrian refuge. How cheerful and safe? The nearby public library is actually using the new pedestrian plaza for small events.

In fact, the island in question is the only public space for more than a half mile in any direction, and the only pedestrian connector between the library, a public high school, residential buildings, and a church, explains Alison Hendrickson, Director of Events and Government Affairs Coordinator of the Greater Nashville REALTORS®. Rapid growth, and with it, increased vehicle traffic and congestion had been making the intersection, already notorious for its lack of infrastructure and its convoluted traffic patterns, even worse. “When the Nashville Civic Design Center (NCDC) reached out to the REALTORS® with a plan for beautification and safety improvements, we jumped right on board,” she says, noting, “We have an extremely passionate Housing Opportunity and Affordability Committee, and opportunities to foster safer pedestrian conditions in our local neighborhoods are always met with enthusiasm.”

The NCDC is a well-established non-profit organization dedicated to improving the city’s built environment and promoting public engagement in its efforts to create attractive, functional spaces. It had targeted the problematic East Nashville Gallatin Avenue triangle for a placemaking project to coincide with the annual conference of the Complete Streets Coalition taking place in Nashville in early April 2018. Greater Nashville REALTORS® received a $3,000 Placemaking Grant to help purchase supplies; it also provided about twenty volunteers from its Housing Opportunity and Affordability Committee and Board of Directors, who each took two-hour shifts during the all-day installation event. Their big task was to help paint a light-hearted ground mural that covers the entire triangular surface, complete with directional ‘way-finding’ indicators to help pedestrians find local amenities and destinations. The mural, designed by a professional local artist, is intended to be permanent, along with some new seating; it was initially enhanced by temporary plantings, colorful overhead cords, and fresh sidewalk striping.

One of those volunteers was Brian Copeland, 2017 President of the Tennessee REALTORS®. In a compelling video produced by NCDC that captures the cheerful collaborative effort, he expresses gratitude for the programs in place that all state and local REALTOR® associations can tap into: “The National Association REALTORS® has a Placemaking Grant where we’re able to partner with great community organizations like the Nashville Civic Design Center.” Sher Powers, Copeland’s partner in paint, and current President of the Greater Nashville REALTORS®, adds, “We’re very excited to be a part of this and we believe it’s a great addition to the community that will offer safety, seating, and social areas away from traffic.”

  • Intersection Before

 

The installation has been a great success, and pedestrians are clearly drawn to the newly colorful and engaging site, reports Hendrickson. The response among the Greater Nashville REALTORS® membership has been wonderful, too, she says. “Lots of our members drive by every day, and we’ve been hearing about the project in every committee meeting since April! They’re so proud of what we’ve been able to help accomplish for the neighborhood. We would absolutely do this again.”

To learn more about how the Greater Nashville REALTORS® are embracing opportunities to revitalize community spaces, contact Alison Hendrickson, Director of Events and Government Affairs Coordinator, at 615-254-7516.

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Is Smart Growth the Key to Preserving Montana’s ‘Big Sky?’ Gallatin REALTORS® Funds Study to Find Answers.

In a land known as ‘Big Sky,’ it should come as no surprise that there’s a certain cultural resistance to development density. Yet in Gallatin County, Montana, which has been topping best-places-to-live and best-places-to-retire lists in recent years, tremendous growth is forcing a closer look at the best ways to accommodate the burgeoning population. A Smart Growth Action Grant recently funded a comparative analysis study that will inform the ongoing development debates by clearly quantifying the fiscal implications of dense development versus sprawl.

In fact, the 1,100-member Gallatin Association of REALTORS® (GAR) received two grants to contribute to the complex process of developing a growth plan for the greater Bozeman region: a $15,000 Smart Growth Action Grant supported the study by an Asheville, NC-based urban planning consulting firm called Urban3; and a $1,500 Housing Opportunity Grant helped to fund an Affordable Housing Summit that brought stakeholders together to begin discussing goals for Bozeman.

“I have a handwritten note of thanks from the mayor on my desk right now,” says Ellen Beck, GAR’s Government Affairs Director. Between the in-depth analysis that was provided by the Urban3 study and the data collected at the Housing Summit, she says, the REALTORS® have earned not only the gratitude of City Hall, but also recognition as a serious partner in discussions about the region’s future growth.

The comparative analysis study, which was completed in July, highlighted the significant return of property tax per acre that would be realized by reinvesting in urban centers and historic commercial corridors; the findings were illustrated by a series of colorful 3-D images that convey relative land value, tax value, and value-per-acre at a glance. On July 11, Joe Minicozzi, principal of Urban3, presented the study results to three different Bozeman audiences: at a breakfast for the REALTORS®; at a City Hall luncheon for city staff, the local homebuilders association, and developers; and once more in the evening for the general public. Beck, who attended all three sessions, says “The primary goal was to educate the public with this very clearly reasoned analysis. I think a lot of minds that had been skeptical were opened, when presented with the tax implications of building up the urban core, as opposed to on the outskirts, or way out in the country. The graphics made a very compelling argument for Smart Growth.”

Two weeks later, GAR joined the city in hosting an Affordable Housing Summit that gathered representatives from the university and the local hospital, the region’s largest housing consumers; AARP; the Department of Transportation; the school district; the local land trust; and, of course, REALTORS®. A facilitator from the university had small groups work together to answer a series of questions ultimately seeking to determine an acceptable definition of ‘affordable housing’ beyond the HUD standard. “It was a fascinating and highly effective exercise,” says Beck, “and by having teams from such different sectors working together, it really made us all think in broader terms.” City Hall was so thrilled with the results, she says, that it asked the REALTORS® to follow up with an even more comprehensive summit.

“We could not have achieved all this without the support of the National Association of REALTORS®,” notes Beck. “Our goal, going in to these programs, was to inform the growth policy planning process, which will promote Smart Growth development standards and spur an uptick in compact, walkable neighborhoods,” she says. “Another really positive outcome is that the city is looking to us as partners with valuable resources, expertise, and information.”

To learn more about how the Gallatin Association of REALTORS® is working as a valued partner of City Hall to plan the region’s Smart Growth, contact Government Affairs Director Ellen Beck at 406-585-0033.

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Maine Association Facilitates Smart Growth for Once-thriving Mill Town

The Stenton Mill

The state of Maine has the nation’s oldest population, the eighth oldest housing stock, low median income, and essentially no public transportation infrastructure. At the same time, the vacant and unused manufacturing spaces in once-thriving mill communities all across the state offer an opportunity for revitalization through mixed-use development of their downtown centers. To help the once-prosperous mill town of Sanford envision a future with walkable affordable housing and fresh economic contributors, the Maine Association of REALTORS® received a Smart Growth Action Grant to support a three-day charrette, or stakeholder-informed design session.

Trish Ohler, a Program Manager at the 5,000-member Maine Association of REALTORS® (MAR), explains that “MAR prides itself on longstanding advocacy for the value of housing choice and opportunity as essential components in a thriving economy. It also continually strives to create smarter alternatives to urban sprawl.” The region is fortunate to have a non-profit called the Workforce Housing Coalition of the Greater Seacoast (WHC) whose work in Sanford was supported by the REALTOR® Party grant. In this case, the municipality had already done a lot of advance leg work: redefining its zoning code, creating a Recreation Master Plan, and hiring a staff member focused on housing. By the time the WHC facilitated the design charrette in Sanford, says Ohler, “the event was a springboard for lots of good ideas that had already been percolating for a while.”

On the first day, participants went on a site walk of the mill complex, and submitted ideas, as well as perceived obstacles to development. The second day saw the professional team of architects and planners organizing and analyzing the community input, from which they created two plans, accompanied by a feasibility document, revealed at the end of the third day. About ten REALTORS® participated in the process, along with dozens of other local stakeholders.

The Lofts at Stenton Mill Design Concept presented during the The Stenton Mill Area Revitalization Workshop: A Workforce Housing Coalition Design Charrette

Greg Gosselin, 2017 MAR President and a current member of NAR’s Housing Opportunities Committee, has been involved in infill development projects in several Maine towns in the past few years; he was on the committee that selected the old mill site as the focus of the Sanford charrette. “The work of the Workforce Housing Coalition is changing communities by providing a vision derived from community input. As REALTORS®, our involvement can help insure that future development includes both market rate and middle market housing.”

Rebecca Lapierre, a REALTOR® living and working in Sanford, and a committee member for the local charrette, agrees. “As a REALTOR®, I was able to advise on the type of housing that would work best for the mill area,” she says. “My professional expertise will have a real impact on this development, which will in turn have an impact on the future of Sanford.”

Since the charrette, the development in Sanford has been progressing swiftly, reports Ohler, with additional funding secured for Brownfield abatement, new interest in the former mill structures, and one being prepped for development, with plans for intown residential units and retail units underway. The civic leaders of Sanford have expressed their gratitude to the REALTORS® for their leadership and support. “This project was a great opportunity to bring REALTOR® knowledge and expertise into the community housing, planning, and development process,” says Ohler, “and the NAR Smart Growth funding was key to this collaboration.”

To learn more about how the Maine Association of REALTORS® is using its leadership, energy, and the resources of the REALTOR® Party to promote downtown revitalization and workforce housing, contact Trish Ohler at or 207-622-7501. See the final report on the Stenton Mill Revitalization Charrette.

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Residential Real Estate Council Invests in RPAC at Record Levels in 2017

You see the letters “CRS” and you know it identifies sales agents who’ve met the exacting standards of experience and education set by the Residential Real Estate Council (RRC).  So, it might not surprise you to learn that the more than 34,000 active REALTORS® who are members of the organization are also engaged at a high rate in industry advocacy: in fact, in 2017, their collective RPAC investment reached $4.5 million, up from $3.9 million in 2016.

This dramatic increase can be credited to a movement RRC (formerly known as the Council of Residential Specialists) calls Building the Complete REALTOR®, whose hashtag #morethanhouses refers to all those ancillary activities, like volunteering and civic involvement, by which its members improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods and strengthen and protect the real estate industry. The energetic movement, says Michelle Huffman, RRC’s Director of Communication, can, in turn, be credited to Leigh Brown, last year’s RRC President.

Brown, who is now 2018 RPAC Fundraising Trustees Chair, says “One of the biggest and most successful undertakings of the National Association of REALTORS® is our advocacy efforts. The members of RRC are already leaders in so many regards, when it comes to professionalism, education, achievement, etc., that it was a natural progression to examine and improve our efforts on the advocacy front as well,” she says, adding, “The members of RRC represent a large portion of the investment and volunteerism that leads to success. The focus on improving our reach among members is that of outreach and education:  I have personally found that many members WANT to do more once they know WHAT is being accomplished.”

In addition to emphasizing RPAC awareness at meetings and in email and social media campaigns, Brown also addressed the importance of investing in her President’s Letter at the front of The Residential Specialist, the group’s every-other-monthly magazine. Also in the magazine, RRC began celebrating its Major Investors in a high-profile list that’s become a popular bi-annual feature. Brown also initiated a new icon on the CRS.com website’s Find a CRS page, identifying RPAC Major Investors:

“There’s a growing movement among RPAC Major Investors to refer to one another, as that means the end consumer is more likely to be served by a REALTOR® who is involved in more than just their transaction. As such, we added a filter to the Find a CRS app, to help members locate CRS Designees who are also Major Investors. It’s been well received and becomes an ongoing effort to reach more members, so they can belong to the group and also use the app!” she says.

Huffman notes that “Leigh’s efforts were focused and tireless, and her message of investing in and protecting the industry really took hold with our members. Raising the visibility of those who invest has also been a successful strategy:  not only are they strong advocates, but great role models for their peers.” Says Brown, “Nothing makes me prouder as a REALTOR® than to know how many of my peers are engaged in changing this profession forever, while we also protect it from unnecessary and damaging regulation.”

To learn more about how the Residential Real Estate Council encouraged record investment in advocacy last year, contact Michelle Huffman at or 312-321-4428.

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Investing in a Legacy of Success

bobGoldberg_sm.jpge_mendenhall.jpgWe’ve just come back from the 2018 President’s Circle Conference. RPAC and, specifically, President’s Circle had a banner year in 2017, breaking records with 35% member participation and 1,207 President’s Circle members, respectively. This year’s President’s Circle Conference was no different with more than 1,500 attendees and a stellar line-up of speakers. The event also led to record investments, totaling more than $178,000.

For those of you who are not familiar with this RPAC Program, President’s Circle allows REALTORS® to contribute directly to REALTOR® Champions at the federal level. Why? Federal election law prohibits RPAC from making more than $10,000 in direct contributions to any single federal candidate during an election cycle – a pittance in today’s age of multi-million dollar congressional races. However, individual members may make contributions of their own. As a result, NAR member contributions routinely exceed $100,000 for each Member of Congress chosen for President’s Circle support. This level of financial strength ensures our REALTOR® Champion candidates have the financial resources they need to successfully seek re-election and continue advocating for public policy positions shared by REALTORS®. To date, nearly $12 million in direct contributions to have been given to 151 candidates from 47 states*.

The President’s Circle Conference is a two-day annual meeting that gives President’s Circle members the opportunity to meet and hear from congressional leaders and staff, and political and public policy experts to discuss salient issues. This year, South Carolina Senator and REALTOR® Champion Tim Scott inspired the crowd, thanking our members and staff for their bipartisan support of homeownership. He noted that, “financial independence is the cornerstone of the American Dream,” and told personal stories of his close relationship with his Federal Political Coordinator, Michael Sally, and the support he received during the tax reform debate.

We encourage you to learn more about President’s Circle, and hope to continue breaking records and seeing more friendly faces at the 2019 President’s Circle Conference.

 

*This figure does not include national political party contributions.

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