A familiar dread set in as the project due date loomed not too far ahead. As the final piece of a highly rewarding 9 month program through the Nashville Institute for Faith & Work, I was assigned to come up with a project to better a brokenness in my profession. But I had higher hopes. This was my time –my time to create something that could positively affect everyone and bring awareness of need to all those who have been economically blessed. As the deadline passed, I was still staring at a blank piece of paper so I had to “cheat” on my grand ambition. The low hanging fruit for me in residential real estate was the catch 22 in the remarkable growth of our city – the number of those getting left behind. I had thought about that little box on the tax return where you could voluntarily contribute a small amount to the presidential election fund (not the best example since I always chose no and the election process speaks for itself). But what if Realtors had a form at every closing where we could each voluntarily contribute a small amount and the collective power of a $10 donation by each agent could yield up to $400,000(20,000 closings x $20)? And what if Sellers could contribute too? These funds could go into a large pool for affordable housing and offer a tangible way for the Realtor community to address a real concern for our city.

I was amazed at the way the GNAR committee on Affordable Housing embrace the plan and spearheaded by Denise Creswell, current President of GNAR, gained board approval and is now being rolled out to the membership in the coming months.
I have learned a lot in the beginning steps of this journey and one key lesson is the value of thinking small. This goes against everything I have always thought – maybe all Dream Big captions need to have added; But Start Small underneath.
The Barnes Fund immediately came to mind as a legitimate established place for the funds to go. My next blog will focus on my new hero, Reverend Bill Barnes. When you meet a man like him who has dedicated his life to helping those in need, it is a humbling yet rewarding experience.

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