Alberta Floods 2013: A look back with CREB®’s Alan Tennant

I was floored the Canadian REALTORS Care® Foundation raised more than $200,000 for the Canadian Red Cross’ Alberta Floods Fund in a matter of days. As email after email hit my inbox, I expressed our thanks to the generous donations of individual REALTORS®, brokerages, and 40 real estate boards and associations from across the country. I was so carried away, I even included shout-outs to their local hockey teams as a tribute – clearly a painful, but heartfelt, expression of gratitude.

The support we are receiving is fantastic. Below are excerpts from a couple of blogs I posted to our membership. You can see from my perspective how dramatic events were and how words of support, wisdom and encouragement hit the mark:

June 28: Random thoughts during the flooding

On Friday, June 20, the rains were relentless and we started the day with an assessment of our infrastructure… We planned to finish the day with a skeleton crew, but by lunchtime it had become apparent that the storm was getting worse and our staff needed to be with their families.

Over the weekend, our leadership emailed and discussed potential media hysteria on how the flood would impact the housing market in greater Calgary, how it would impact pending transactions and on plans to cancel events the coming week. I spoke to fellow EOs and suggested travel to Calgary was a bad idea.

Monday morning began with more assessments of staffing and infrastructure; all good, only one staff member lost everything in the flood and all those displaced were getting support. One of our most empathetic staff members was tasked with calling affected brokerages to learn of their situations and offer support. Her report was more positive than we expected. I forwarded this report to AREA and CREA. CREA CEO Gary Simonsen called to express concern and advise that the Canadian REALTORS Care® Foundation had a board meeting that afternoon. He had one question: What do you need? Our answer: send money to the Canadian Red Cross. Within hours of that initiative being launched on Monday afternoon, nearly $9,000 had been raised across Canada.

July 12: How can we offer even more support?

As I’ve blogged about before, the outpouring of support and quick action has been very impressive. There have been many highlights, but the standouts for me have been:

  • Our Charitable Foundation stepped up right away with a $10,800 donation to Inn from the Cold;
  • Thanks to the Canadian REALTORS Care® Foundation, nearly $200,000 has been donated by real estate boards and associations across Canada and the U.S., including a $50,000 donation from our friends at the National Association of REALTORS®;
  • A flood information session was quickly assembled and generated rave reviews;
  • The board of directors approved a monthly fee abatement program for brokerages and members directly affected by the flood;
  • Our REALTOR® and Family Assistance Program is providing confidential support for members in crisis. 

The leadership at our Charitable Foundation is looking at other ways to offer support by partnering with other organizations. The challenge from other real estate boards across the county as part of the Canadian REALTORS Care® Foundation initiative has generated quick and generous donations for some key agencies, but perhaps CREB® can go deeper into the community to help those most affected. What do you think?

I hope the foregoing gave you an over my shoulder look at the incredible impact the generosity of REALTORS® had in our crisis. As a member of the CREA Board of Directors when the Canadian REALTORS Care® Foundation was formed, I knew that we didn’t need to dig very deep to learn that REALTORS Care®. They always did and always will, and for that, we thank you.

Alan Tennant joined CREB® as CEO in September 2011. Alan has 26 years of experience in real estate, most recently as former associate broker of Airdrie’s RE/MAX Rocky View. He is strongly committed to giving back to the community and was past recipient of CREB®’s REALTOR® of the Year award as well as the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal. He also served as President of CREB® in 1998 and President of CREA in 2006. Alan lives with his wife Rona and is the proud father of two daughters, Michelle, a REALTOR® and Lisa, a physiotherapist.

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