Your Impact: Community Development

Learn how REALTORS® show the Power of R by helping their communities grow in smarter ways.

January 21, 2014

The Power of R showcases the value of the REALTOR® organization and the impact of REALTORS® in action. Share your stories on Facebook or Twitter using #PowerofR, or contact Graham Wood at


A Fresh Coat of Compassion

Some home owners in Scottsdale, Ariz., are facing an impossible situation: Because they don’t have the financial means to maintain their homes, they’re in danger of violating city property codes and facing stiff fines. Luckily, they have the Scottsdale Area Association of REALTORS® as an ally.

Twice a year, the association hosts a Paint-a-Thon, where members volunteer to fix up the home of an owner in need. The Paint-a-Thon works through the city’s Operation Fix It program, which joins local volunteers with businesses to provide labor and materials to help home owners clean up their properties.

Nearly all Operation Fix It volunteers come from SAAR, says Amanda Sue Eberson, the association’s director of communications and technology. Besides painting, Eberson recalls other memorable projects: SAAR members helped repair an elderly man’s deteriorating mobile-home roof; they pulled the weeds overtaking the front yard of a disabled woman in a wheelchair; they fixed broken windows for a man who was recovering from open heart surgery. “These are people who just can’t do the work [on their homes],” says Patty Carlson, 2014 chair of SAAR’s Community Outreach & Awareness Committee. “When you’re touching someone on a personal note, that’s huge. You get that overwhelming feeling of ‘oh my gosh, look what we did.’ ”

Developing Street Smarts

Crossing the street in Memphis, Tenn., is not for the faint of heart. Major arteries clogged with traffic run through the city, while crosswalks are sparse. To improve life for pedestrians and cyclists, the Memphis Area Association of REALTORS® signed on as a member of the city’s policy development team, tasked with implementing a new street design program. So far, the initiative has slowed traffic and added bike lanes and crosswalks.

Bringing Downtown Out of the Dumps

Just over a year ago, a third of the Main Street storefronts in Seville, Ohio, were empty. The downtown strip was bookended by shuttered gas stations and a vacant elementary school. Rick Stallard, chairman of the Medina County Board of REALTORS®’ Legislative Committee, made it his work to revitalize the street. Using a $15,000 Smart Growth Action Grant from the National Association of REALTORS®, Stallard, who also serves as the town’s director of economic development, brought in historic preservation experts to help draw up a blueprint for the strip. Right away, the resuscitation began. Businesses, seeing investment returning to the area, began flocking to the vacant spaces.

Graham Wood
Senior editor

Graham Wood is senior editor for REALTOR® Magazine. He can be reached at