PRESIDENT’S CORNER: Always Committed to Protecting the Consumer
Marcene Hedayati | October 2016
Homeownership and property rights are the pillars of our industry and by showing support for those two ideals, through contributions to RPAC, we have protected and empowered our members so they can be the best at what they do.
Undoubtedly, our primary goal as an association is to ensure that our members continue to grow their business and that remains our chief purpose. However, one can argue that as members of NAR, our Code of Ethics mandates that we put the interests of our clients ahead of our own, putting forth the notion that, although the association is committed to the health of its members, there is an inherent understanding that this must be aligned with the prevailing principle that the needs of our consumers must also be served. For this reason, there is no other industry that is more committed to the well being of the consumer than ours.
The National Association of Realtors, of which we are all members, recognized the broader implications of the role we play in society and in May 2014, the Board of Directors, as part of an organizational re-alignment, introduced a new set of “Core Standards,” or requirements, that every local and state association must fulfill as a condition of membership. These requisites are divided into six categories, one of which is Consumer Outreach, charitable fundraising being a significant part. Consequently, and because many of our members are passionately dedicated to helping those who live in our area, Drew Kessler, our past president, revived HGAR’s Realtor Foundation and made it one of his noteworthy initiatives during his term.
Late last year, we formalized our Realtor Foundation and gave it legs by voting in nine of our members as trustees. They, along with many other member volunteers, conducted multiple events throughout the year to raise money for charities that were asked to submit applications to the Hudson Gateway Relator Foundation for consideration. The crown jewel of these events was the foundation’s Gala held on Sept. 15th at Glen Island Harbour Club in New Rochelle. More than 200 people attended “Monte Carlo Night,” which featured an open bar, dinner and a multitude of casino games. The event raised more than $30,000, all of which will benefit a number of 501-C3 charities focused on assisting the housing, hunger, health, happiness and humane needs of all citizens.
As much as we are a trade organization whose primary goal is to support its members, including but not limited to fundraising for RPAC, we must never forget the needs of those we come into contact with every day—those who live and work in our communities. I would like to personally thank and commend the trustees of our Realtor Foundation: Linda Crispinelli, Maryann Tercasio, Michael Graessle, Don Cummins, Gail Fattizzi, Kerry Fedigan, Drew Kessler, Bonnie Koff, and Harding Mason for reminding us that there is more than one way to help those we touch every day.
They, along with HGAR members and staff, and all those who attended the events throughout the year, played a significant role in making sure the following charities received a total of $55,000, aid they so much need and deserve:
Association for the Visually Impaired, Spring Valley
Children’s Village, Dobbs Ferry
Community Capital of New York, Hawthorne
Drug Crisis in Our Backyard, Carmel
Friends of Karen, North Salem
Furniture Sharehouse, White Plains
Green Chimneys, Brewster
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh, Inc., Newburgh
Hi-Tor Animal Shelter, Pomona
Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, White Plains
Make-A-Wish Hudson Valley, Tarrytown
SPCA of Westchester, Briarcliff Manor
Support Connection, Inc., Yorktown Heights
The Food Bank for Westchester, Elmsford
Volunteer New York, Tarrytown
White Plains Business Improvement District, White Plains
Even though we, as an association, are committed to safeguarding the real estate industry, we should not forget that the health and well being of those we serve must never be far from our thoughts. We are all fortunate that, through our association, we have been given the opportunity to contribute to two entities that can simultaneous serve both our members and those we serve.