A man and woman hold shovels outside during a park cleanup
Santa Clara County Realtors Foundation Chair Jenny Ford and San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan at the Jeffrey Fontana Park cleanup on Feb. 17, 2024. Photo courtesy of Santa Clara County Association of Realtors.

When we talk about real estate, we tend to address housing affordability, current statistics and market analysis. It’s seldom we take a deeper dive into how our real estate professionals continually create a positive impact on the communities they serve.

Realtors are among the most giving professions in the economy to date. In fact, 69% of realtors volunteer monthly and 86% of National Association of Realtors members contribute donations to a myriad of causes — up from 79% in 2022.

Courtesy of National Association of Realtors.

The Santa Clara County Association of Realtors is no exception to this. In 1990, the organization founded the Santa Clara County Realtors Foundation (SCCRF). The mission of SCCRF is to bring organized real estate together by investing in our neighborhoods with compassion, foresight and action. To unite realtors into making a difference by helping families, revitalizing our communities and assisting in disaster relief.

SCCRF Chair Jenny Ford explains what motivates her to give back to the community.

“There are several reasons that I prioritize giving back to the community,” she said. “I do it because I know that helping even just one person helps our community on a much broader scale. I, personally, am at my best when I am at service to others. Over the course of many years of volunteering and working with nonprofits, I’ve found that by helping to support the needs of women, children and families, I am not only building stronger individuals and families, but also making our community stronger. The Santa Clara County Realtors Foundation has a legacy of local impact and making Santa Clara County a better place to live. I feel fortunate to be able to continue the legacy and have an impact of my own while building my own skills and strength of character.”

The foundation supports first-time homebuyers by achieving the dream of homeownership through its Down Payment Assistance program, dispensing seven grants totaling $70,000 in 2023. In February, SCCRF participated in the Jeffrey Fontana Park cleanup, partnering with San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan, and in April helped repair homes by partnering with Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley.

Data shows the real estate industry accounted for 17.6% of the gross state product in 2023. Courtesy of National Association of Realtors.

From an economic standpoint, the real estate industry in California accounted for $678.5 billion or 17.6% of the gross state product in 2023, according to the California Association of Realtors. It is estimated that the total economic impact of a single home sale in California is $233,500. It is this economic development that drives the demand for labor and thus provides economic resources to the surrounding community.

In summary, while discussions about real estate often focus on market dynamics and affordability, it’s essential to recognize the profound positive impact real estate professionals have on the communities they serve. Realtors exemplify this commitment through their generous contributions of time and resources, with a significant percentage engaging in volunteer work and charitable giving.

The Santa Clara County Realtors Foundation stands as a shining example, dedicated to revitalizing neighborhoods, supporting families and providing disaster relief. Through programs like the Down Payment Assistance initiative, they make the dream of homeownership a reality for many. Moreover, the economic significance of the real estate industry cannot be understated, with its substantial contribution to state GDP and job creation.

As SCCRF Chair Ford aptly describes, giving back not only strengthens the community but also enriches individuals personally and professionally. Indeed, the legacy of community impact continues to thrive, driven by the dedication and compassion of real estate professionals like those in the Santa Clara County Association of Realtors.

San José Spotlight columnist Neil Collins is CEO of the Santa Clara County Association of Realtors, a trade association representing more than 6,000 real estate professionals in Santa Clara County and surrounding areas. Contact Neil at [email protected] or follow @neilvcollins on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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