Take Real Estate’s Summer Splash Challenge to Support Disaster Relief

July 19, 2019

In a nod to the popularity of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014, the Citrus Valley Association of REALTORS®’ Young Professionals Network has come up with its own challenge for real estate pros across the country to raise funds for those affected by recent natural disasters. Several real estate professionals have already accepted the challenge, but the YPN hopes that more will accept the Summer Cool Down Splash Challenge (#ypn4rrf).

To take part, make a video that urges others to donate to the REALTORS® Relief Foundation and help those devastated by natural disasters, make a minimum $20 donation to RRF yourself, nominate at least three others to take the challenge within 24 hours, and then pour a bucket of cold water over your head. Post your video on your social media accounts using the #ypn4rrf hashtag.

The challenge is similar to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that in 2014 set off a wave of people nationwide throwing buckets of ice over their heads. The challenge ultimately raised $115 million in donations for ALS research and is currently celebrating its five-year anniversary.

The Citrus Valley Association of REALTORS®’ YPN in Glendora, Calif., started the Summer Splash Challenge in June as their chosen charity to support for this summer.

“This seemed like a cause REALTORS® across the nation could rally behind because it really affects everyone,” says real estate pro Danielle Fontes, past chair of YPN and president-elect for the Citrus Valley Association of REALTORS®. Fontes cited recent examples of hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, flooding, and wildfires that RRF funds have gone to help victims with housing-related aid. “In California, we’ve certainly been a recipient of RRF funds from recent wildfires. So this was a way for our YPN to give back and help support the importance of RRF.”

At first, the Summer Splash Challenge started as a way for YPNs to challenge other YPN associations, but it has grown since then, with everyone from association leadership to real estate professionals of all ages and even those outside the industry accepting the challenge.

The Summer Splash Challenge received a boost in spreading across the country when real estate pro and trainer Leigh Brown of Concord, N.C., accepted the challenge on camera following her annual National Real Estate Ethics Day, which was hosted by the Citrus Valley Association of REALTORS® in late June. Her annual ethics event also separately raised funds for RRF, amounting to about $20,000 in donations this year alone.

So far this year, RRF has distributed $1.5 million in grants. The funds have been distributed toward housing-related aid for victims of several recent natural disasters this year, such as flooding events in Nebraska, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Iowa as well as to those affected in tornadoes in Ohio, Missouri, and Lawrence, Kan.

RRF was established in 2001 in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Since then, the foundation has raised about $33 million for housing-related aid, supporting mortgage and rental assistance for disaster victims. One hundred percent of all donations to RRF go directly to the victims of natural disasters; the National Association of REALTORS® covers all administrative expenses.

For the Summer Splash Challenge, those who take part are asked to make a minimum $20 donation to RRF and then challenge at least three others to take the challenge to keep the movement spreading.

“It’s been great to see our industry’s future leaders with the YPN do this challenge that has now taken off nationally,” says Mark Epstein, CEO of the Citrus Valley Association of REALTORS®. “It’s been great to be apart of something that is for such a great cause. RRF has done so much to support us with the California wildfires, and we want to do our part in making sure this foundation can keep supporting others. We hope others will accept this challenge in supporting RRF too.”