Twenty Years of REALTORS Disaster Relief

By Brian Johnson
2021 President
Santa Barbara Association of Realtors

The REALTORS Relief Foundation (RRF) marked its 20th anniversary this week. Within hours of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the National Association of Realtors began to secure contributions to help those impacted by those devastating events. The Executive Leadership team utilized its leadership, infrastructure, and standing as the world’s largest trade association to reach out to members and supporters seeking donations. 

These donors stood in solidarity with their fellow countrymen and countrywomen to help affected families. They raised more than $8.4 million to provide urgent housing-related assistance for those struggling in the aftermath. These funds were raised and distributed within 100 days to ensure families were able to remain in their homes.

The Foundation continued their work and over the past 20 years, they have awarded over $33 million dollars to over 100 disasters across 38 states helping over 17,000 families. These are funds raised by members and partners of the National Association of REALTORS including State and Local Associations. RRF funds are not just limited to REALTORS. They can go to anyone impacted by a disaster.

Similar to the RRF, the California Association of REALTORS Disaster Relief Fund was established in the wake of devastating wildfires in 2003 across California. The CAR Fund provides relief for natural disasters to REALTORS, employees of REALTORS and staff of Local Associations. Given the increase in fires and other natural disasters across California, this fund has raised over $500,000 to assist in times of need.

Our local areas have been a direct beneficiary of both of these Funds. The 2017 Thomas Fire and 2018 Montecito Debris Flow saw massive damage and destruction in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. The Santa Barbara Association of REALTORS was able to distribute over $650,000 from the RRF and the California Disaster Relief Fund to victims in order to cover rent and mortgage payments. 

These funds can never replace everything that the victims lost but making sure that our neighbors have a roof over their heads while they work to overcome their loss makes a difference. We have disasters going on right now across our state and our local REALTORS are answering the call from our neighbors all over California to provide assistance to those most hurt.

Brian Johnson is a California licensed real estate agent and the Managing Director of Radius Commercial Real Estate. Brian handles all types of commercial real estate transactions but has a special focus on multifamily investments. He can be reached at 805-879-9631 or


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