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REALTOR® Party - Game Changer Ideas

The REALTOR® Party Game Changer concept originated in 2011 from the thought that a state or local association may have a great, original public policy, advocacy or outreach idea relating to real estate, but it still may not fall under the tools and services included in the REALTOR® Party. For that reason, the REALTOR® Party Game Changer Program was established.

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) looks for new programs, events, or plans that change the way business is typically conducted, thought about or made. In addition, Game Changer ideas should be ones that can be replicated with other states and local associations.

Starting in 2015 Game Changer applications will be available to applicants year-round.  Applications will be received and reviewed twice a year (due January 31 and July 31).  Following the application deadline, ideas will be reviewed by a Game Changer Review Group, comprised of state and local association executives and government affairs directors. Winners will be determined by vote within about one month after the application deadline and will be based on idea originality and adherence to outlined criteria (see below).  New for 2015 -- award amounts will be available for up to $15,000 per applicant.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the Game Changer application or the process, please contact Kyle Lambert London at klambert@realtors.org or 202-383-1203.

Criteria and Process for Game Changer Proposals
Game Changer Application (pdf)

2015 Game Changer Program Winners

While selection may be partially subjective, based on the tastes of the Review Group and current trends, all awardees meet REALTOR® Party goals and outlined criteria. The winning ideas come from both state and local REALTOR® associations. NAR would like to congratulate the winners of the first round of the 2015 Game Changer Program, and encourages all state and local associations to keep thinking out of the box for ways to enhance their involvement in local political advocacy and community issues.

 Name: Lodi Association of REALTORS® (California)
Henrietta “Hank” VanDyk, CEO
Award Amount: $15,000
Program:  L.A.R. Energy Program
This Program allows REALTORS® the exclusive ability to offer their qualified clients the opportunity to make their home more comfortable and lower their utilities bills at no cost. The Lodi Association of REALTORS® has a goal of retrofitting at least 300 homes this year, which would create a reduction of at least 300 tons of greenhouse gases annually. We hope that L.A.R. Energy Program will have an impact by influencing local residents, organizations and businesses to continue to take steps towards creating greener communities & reducing carbon pollution.

Partner, Greener Solutions, will hold responsibility for the day-to-day tasks required to run the program including participant qualification, paperwork completion, and scheduling the installation of the upgrades. Greener Solutions is volunteering labor to help keep the hard costs per home at $300.


 Name: Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of REALTORS® (Indiana)
Steve Sullivan, CEO and Chris Pryor, GAD
Award Amount: $15,000
Program:  MIBOR and the City of Indianapolis Graffiti Abatement Program
MIBOR will support the City County Council's Graffiti Ordinance with an option for a private homeowner or commercial property owner to seek assistance with graffiti eradication.  This program will be a community partnership to procure a Graffiti Abatement Unit trailer, equip the trailer and procure an initial inventory of supplies for graffiti removal. The Unit's staffing needs will be supported by the Mayor's Office of Re-Entry connecting re-entrants to the program to learn job skills and receive mentoring from the supervisors.

Crime is the number one factor for buyers when considering where to purchase a home or locate their business. It is a well-known and respected fact that the mere presence of graffiti contributes to more serious crime.  Support from REALTORS® for programs like this is one way that REALTORS® can have a direct impact on the issue of crime. In addition, support for this program will provide numerous opportunities to highlight REALTOR® involvement and relevancy in addressing these issues through signage on the Graffiti Abatement Unit which will be visible throughout the city, as well as several public relations opportunities. 


 Name: Utah Association of REALTORS®
Chris Kyler, CEO and Deanna Devey, GAD
Award Amount: $15,000
Program:  Clean Air Fireplace Grants
Utah faces air quality challenges due to the unique weather patterns in the state. During the winter, pollutants are trapped in Utah’s valleys, creating poor air that regularly exceeds EPA standards. Regulators have proposed a requirement that would mandate all homeowners selling a home with a wood-burning stove or fireplace to tear it out or replace it with a clean-air model. Government inspectors would have to certify that all wood-burning fireplaces were retrofitted or rendered inoperable before a transaction could take place. The Utah Association of REALTORS® strongly opposed these proposals. UAR has partnered with the Utah Clean Air Partnership (UCAIR) to develop a grant program to swap out wood-burning fireplaces and stoves for cleaner heating alternatives. The grant program is the only one of its kind. It targets people who are receiving tickets for burning wood on non-burn days. Rather than citing them, the Utah Department of Environmental Quality will provide violators information about the grant program and encourage them to switch to a clean-air heating alternative. For example, many people don’t have a clean-air source to heat the entire house while others are low-income individuals who cannot afford to upgrade their heating source. It is the only program designed to proactively help the people who are contributing to the problem.


 Name: Salt Lake Board of REALTORS®
Curtis Bullock, CEO and Justin Allen, GAD
Award Amount: $15,000
Program:  Online Code of Ethics/REALTOR Advocacy Course
We are hoping to use the new Biennial Code of Ethics requirement as an opportunity to expose more of our members to the value of REALTOR® Advocacy and RPAC by creating a new online CE class that includes both Code of Ethics training and REALTOR® advocacy information. Our goal for this CE class is to become the premier Code of Ethics option for our members by partnering with our brokers to encourage their agents to choose this class to satisfy their Code of Ethics requirement.  Following the course, the learner will have the option to contribute to RPAC, hopefully increasing RPAC participation, in addition to raising RPAC and Advocacy awareness through the class.

We see this Game Changer grant application concept as satisfying at least a couple of the above Game Changer criteria--we hope to significantly increase our REALTOR® awareness of the REALTOR® Party and our REALTOR® Advocacy program; and then we see this as great tool to increase awareness of the value of RPAC and increase RPAC participation through the online CE class.


 Name: Washington Association of REALTORS®
Steve Francks, CEO
Award Amount: $15,000
Program:  REALTORS Lead Program
WAR seeks to (1) develop a curriculum template for a REALTOR®-sponsored Board of Directors leadership training program for community non-profits that have REALTOR® on their Boards and (2) conduct a beta test Train-the-Trainer session in Washington state so that the curriculum can be delivered locally by local REALTOR®.  This program will be designed to improve the REALTOR® image by positioning local REALTOR® organizations as a reliable source of excellent board and leadership training for other community and service organizations, especially organizations in the housing sector, or other areas affecting real estate.

This proposal looks at leadership training from an entirely different perspective.  Instead of focusing on REALTOR®-specific training, this curriculum will teach skills and concepts that are common to most if not all non-profit and community organizations, with a specific goal of encouraging REALTORS® to get involved in community affairs at the leadership level. 

Further, by including non- REALTORS® in the training sessions, we will build relationships with current and future community leaders, facilitating peer to peer networking.  Importantly, those future leaders and their organizations will see the REALTOR® organization as a critical player in building and sustaining the community.


Name: California Association of REALTORS®
Contacts: Jeannette Brown, Communications Director; Anne Framroze, Vice President, California Association of REALTORS® (Sacramento)
Award Amount: $15,000
Program: CAR - UCCS White Paper and Public Lectureship Competition
In partnership with the University of California’s policy center in Sacramento, the California Association of REALTORS® will launch the very first white paper and public lectureship competition to advance an evidence-based policy issue relevant to REALTORS®. Grant funding supplied by The National Association of REALTORS® will go toward the winning faculty member’s research stipend so that the whitepaper can address a critical policy question facing real estate professionals. The results of the research competition will be publicly available and educate the real estate community, and an event held in Sacramento will allow the winning academic to address influential members related to policy-making, such as legislative staff. The California Association of REALTORS®,  through the creation of its think tank the Center for California Real Estate, is committed to advancing real estate knowledge and looks forward to cultivating, as well as disseminating, research-backed findings to contribute toward constructive debate about the interests and future of the real estate industry.


Name: Maine Association of REALTORS®
Contacts: Trish Ohler, Maine Association of REALTORS® Foundation; Suzanne Guild, CEO, Maine Association of REALTORS®
Award Amount: $10,000
Program: REALTORS® Reaching the Next Generation: Fire Safety Initiative
In response to a 2015 fire resulting in multiple deaths of renters in Portland, Maine, the Maine Association of REALTORS® President, Marie Flaherty, responded with a call to action: REALTORS® Reaching the Next Generation: Fire Safety Initiative (FSI).  The initiative will highlight landlord and renter safety responsibilities and provide fire safety educational materials aimed at renters, first time home buyers, and owners of rental property.  This information will be available through numerous outlets.  The Maine Association will partner with community organizations to form a coalition supporting this outreach effort.  One of the partners, Maine hoMEworks, a nonprofit group dedicated to consumer home buyer education, will provide first time homebuyers fire safety information.  Additionally, homebuyers will receive a free home smoke detector at their house closing transaction along with an in-home safety checklist. Educational materials and smoke detectors can be branded with the local REALTOR contact information.”


Name: New Orleans Metro Association of REALTORS®, Louisiana
Contacts: Kelli Walker, Sr. Director of Government Affairs; Missy Whittington, CEO, New Orleans Metro Association of REALTORS®
Award Amount: $15,000
Program: NOMAR and New Orleans Police Department REALTOR® and Homeowner Safety Initiative
The New Orleans Metropolitan Association of REALTORS® is partnering with the New Orleans Police Department and the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation on a 3-part initiative to reduce crime in New Orleans. First, NOMAR is using funds from the Game Changer grant to purchase approximately 30 high resolution security cameras to be placed on private homes in high-crime, low-income neighborhoods as part of the Adopt-a-Block program. NOPD detectives will know the locations of these cameras, as well as those registered on the SafeCam NOLA private camera database, with the idea that they can request footage that may aid them in solving crimes. Next, NOMAR is asking their members to be involved in community outreach to promote registrations on SafeCam, as well as challenging local real estate companies to make financial contributions to Adopt-a-Block.  This way, the REALTOR® family can have a major impact on reducing crime in New Orleans, positively impacting property values and insurance rates. This program will be combined with education and outreach on REALTOR® and consumer safety issues through the toolkits provided by NAR so that NOMAR members and their clients will have all the information and resources they need to stay safe in New Orleans.


Name: Salt Lake Board of REALTORS®, Utah
Contacts: Justin Allen, Government Affairs Director; Curtis Bullock, CEO, Salt Lake Board of REALTORS®
Award Amount: $15,000
Program:  Salt Lake County HOA Inventory to Assist with Water Conservation and Other Policy Initiatives
SLBR plans to inventory all the HOAs that exist in Salt Lake County and then use that inventory, through a website and a physical directory, to advocate for local government initiatives AND to educate property owners on community issues. First, the inventory will enable SLBR to assist HOAs to institute water conservation landscape regulations. SLBR believes that HOAs landscaping requirements can become a barrier to affordable housing. Robust landscaping requirements, often found in HOAs, require owners to heavily water their grass and can significantly increase the cost of housing. SLBR hopes to help HOAs and cities to provide options that allow for less expensive landscaping alternatives which also conserve water. SLBR will also use the HOA inventory to conduct a study on differences in property values and affordable housing availability in communities with or without HOAs. Moreover, SLBR will share their HOA inventory with the local communities to aid with their emergency preparedness efforts.  And finally, SLBOR intends to present their findings at their annual elected officials lunch in the spring of 2016.


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