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Realtors donate more in ’11

Community: Association raised most money ever and gave it to six different charities

Posted: December 27, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: December 27, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Erika Kazlaurich-Bird, left, 2012 SRAR president, spearheaded the Spark of Love event at Newhall Elementary School to give 86 children gifts and a $40 gift card for their families. Michael Marinelli played Santa.

Despite the rocky economy, local Realtors have raised more money than in previous years for local charities in 2011, expanding the reach of current programs.

Sal Aranda, outgoing president of the SCV division of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors, told guests at the Nov. 18 installation dinner that SCV SRAR made donations to six different charities during the year and raised more money than in any other year.

“The organization did a good job in 2011 and had fun doing it,” Aranda said.

At the tail end of the organization’s efforts was the annual Sparks for Love event, where SCV SRAR members donate enough toys and games for a group of children at a different local school each year. The event was created by the greater SRAR group, but the SCV chapter started its own version of the program five years ago.

This time, the SCV SRAR gave toys and games to 86 kids from a low-income afterschool program at Newhall Elementary, and this year also raised enough money to give a $40 Ralphs gift card to each kid, so their family can have Christmas dinner.

“It was an opportunity to present something to their families,” said incoming SCV SRAR president Ericka Kazlaurich-Bird of the Dec. 16 event, where SCV SRAR members and Santa Claus visited the kids in the program.

“So many kids were so grateful,” she said.

SCV SRAR was able to donate more to Sparks of Love and other causes through the year because of an increased number of platinum sponsors — real estate companies, lenders and other local real estate affiliates who donate $1,200 for the year to go toward event and speaker costs.

Between the increase platinum support and a few large donations for specific events, SCV SRAR was able to use more of its funds to donate to its regular causes, such as the SCV Food Pantry, the Yes I Can program and Sparks of Love.

“We have wonderful support of platinum sponsors,” Kazlaurich-Bird said. “We were able to do so much because the donations help cover the events.”

The group did not have to skimp on events in order to contribute more to charities. The large sponsorships and donations meant SCV SRAR was able to book bigger speakers, such as Carole Rodoni, an economic pundit who came to Santa Clarita to talk about the real estate economic forecast.

And 2012 looks to be on the same path as 2011 in terms of donations.

“I’m anticipating that we’ll have the support of the same number of platinum sponsors, if not more,” Kazlaurich-Bird said.


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