In celebration of our 30th Anniversary, we (virtually) sat down with a few of our past chairs to take stock of their time with the Foundation, and the impact the Foundation has on the real estate industry and Alberta.
Hear from Jim Saunders, Chair of the Board from 2018 to 2019, and REALTOR® in Lethbridge.
How many years were you involved with the Foundation?
I was involved for seven years.
Why did you get involved?
Having served on the local and provincial real estate boards, I had been aware of the work of the Foundation for many years and was acquainted with many of the previous Governors and Past Chairs. When my term as Past President with the Alberta Real Estate Association ended, several people suggested I would find the position as Governor very rewarding, and uniquely different from the roles I was accustomed to playing. They were right! I felt my knowledge and experience in the real estate industry would give me the perspective to recognize the value the projects we support brings to the industry.
Do you have any favorite projects funded in your time as Chair?
For me, it wasn’t so much any particular project that was a favorite, but meeting our grant recipients in person, and experiencing the passion they bring to the table was very rewarding. I especially liked the grassroots “boots on the ground” organizations that measure their successes one small accomplishment at a time.
From your perspective, what is the Foundation’s greatest accomplishment over the years?
It’s the Foundation’s high level of grants on an annual basis and hitting far above its weight. In the 30-year history of the Foundation, we have managed to aggressively fund our grant recipients through booms and bust markets, and managed our assets to enable us to be financially viable through the most difficult times. We are now in a strong financial position to continue to support industry initiatives.
What impact has the Foundation had on Alberta and the industry?
I would use the example of one of my most rewarding experiences involving an actual real estate transaction with a self-managed condo board. The board had been operating with a few volunteer directors who were well-intentioned but uninformed. Through the Condo Law for Albertans website, I was able to guide them to the resources that would enable them to comply with the current Condominium Act. Those resources were available as a direct result of the Foundation’s funding. The condo directors were very appreciative and impressed that REALTORS® were involved in projects to aid and protect the consumers.
Thank you, Jim!