The Sedona-Verde Valley Association of Realtors is doing their part help make a difference in the community they serve.
Jacque Weems, with the association's public relations committee, said the real estate agents are starting a community service fund to help those who face a set back and need a little extra help.
She said the idea started three years ago when two realtors co-listed a property in Cornville. The seller was a dying woman with two children. She needed to sell the home as soon as possible. Weems said that at the time, the woman didn't have enough money to send the children to Tucson so the could live with their grandparents after her death.
"So often in real estate, people sell because of a death," Weems said. "Realtors run across this frequently, but this was especially touching."
Weems said the agents started calling businesses around the Verde Valley for donations. They were able to raffle off what the businesses donated and sold $600 worth of tickets.
Weems said the kids got to Tucson.
"That incident made us aware that we should have a community service fund," Weems said.
She said the association can't directly support a charity because they are a non-profit organization. But the public relations committee is different and can do things to promote the association.
Recently the idea of a community service fund really started to take off. Weems said the association wanted to enter into the Sedona St. Patrick's Day parade. The theme of their float had to do with pioneer homes.
"We thought we'd have a frontier play house," Weems said.
She said Elite Custom Homes and Schuck Component Systems Inc built and donated a pioneer playhouse for their float. Weems said it's well built and has every detail covered down to the front porch.
"They took the project to heart," Weems said.
The house was left for the association to keep and they decided to raffle it for the community service fund.
They have sold about $500 worth of tickets so far. They go for $2 each or three for $5. Weems said the drawing will be held July 4 at the Sedona Centennial party. The playhouse now stands in the M&I Bank parking lot in Sedona.
Nelda McClaskey, with Elite Realty and Investments is a member on Weems' committee with the association. She recommended the companies that donated the playhouse to the committee. She said the house is probably worth about $2,500 and it gives the realtors that are involved a great chance to help out their neighbors.
"I think it gives us an opportunity to help someone who may be threatened with losing their home," McClaskey said. "It's a great opportunity for the association of realtors to give back to the community."
Weems said the playhouse is just the first step for the community service fund.
"We've always known we needed something like this," Weems said.
She said the association will soon set up criteria for who can receive the money in the fund. But for now the money is just used for people in a crisis situation and the person in need has to be referred by a real estate agents.
She said giving back is just as important for the realtors as for the people they help.
"They just want to do something," Weems said. "There are an awful lot of good people in the association."
She said they are planning on future fund raising ideas and hope to help more people in the future.
"So frequently people are selling a home when in duress, Realtors want to help," Weems said.