Committed to Strengthening Community
By Tom Leyde
The Tucson Association of Realtors celebrated its 100th anniversary on the date of its founding, April 27, at the group’s building on Tucson Boulevard.
A century from its origin in 1921, TAR is the largest trade association in Southern Arizona. It has 6,500 members involved in the sale, lease, appraisal and development of residential and commercial properties. It also is involved in the mortgage and lending industry.
“Realtors know that the work we do is important to strengthening our community,” said Randy Rogers, TAR’s CEO. “What a huge milestone for the association. I’m proud to be a part of it.”
The day began with a press conference, followed with a drive-through event with more than 300 members who picked up goodies bags and celebrated this milestone day. The Pima County Board of Supervisors marked the occasion by reading a proclamation. A purple ribbon was cut to celebrate the anniversary and to usher the group into its next century. Diane Marzonie, TAR’s president, and Judy Lowe, commissioner of the Arizona Department of Real Estate, did the honors.
As a guest speaker, Lowe said the accomplishments of TAR are amazing. “Realtors are a pillar of every community in Tucson, Arizona, the United States and the world,” she said.
Lowe added that one of her toughest decisions was giving up her Realtor’s license, a move required for her to serve on the Arizona Department of Real Estate.
She said Realtors are not only professionals – they are miracle workers. “The real work is pulling the strings of the miracle of the (sale) closing and making friends for life with the customers.”
Lowe challenged Realtors to do it – complete real estate transactions – the right way. “And the Arizona way is the right way,” she said.
Ret. Major Gen. Ted Maxwell, former commander of the Arizona Air National Guard, pointed out that TAR does more than deal in real estate. As president and CEO of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, he has high regard for TAR.
“TAR is in the engagement of making our community a better place to live,” he said. “They take a stand and they get involved.”
TAR, he said, has played a large role in the passage of local and state propositions aimed at improving the community. It also makes political endorsements and takes a stand against propositions it feels would be a detriment to the community.
“Congratulations,” Maxwell said. “One hundred years is one heck of an achievement.”
Former Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said members of TAR are a diverse group. “It’s a group that spends its day talking to the community. TAR is a group that has the pulse of the community.”
He said TAR has helped the city pass initiatives to raise property taxes to improve such areas as parks and policing. “That support was game changing,” he said.
One of the initiatives that TAR worked to pass was Proposition 101, which increased sales taxes. That sale tax increase, said Capt. Josh Campbell of the Tucson Fire Department, helped the department buy new fire trucks and other safety equipment. The department also was able to remodel Station 11 at 4075 E. Timrod St.
There is yet another side to TAR – raising funds for nonprofit organizations. In the past 10 years TAR raised $250,000 for nonprofits, said Denise King, president of the TAR Charitable Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization.
The foundation has launched a $100 for 100 Years Challenge. Donations will benefit the Arizona Housing Fund, Habitat for Humanity, The Hearth Foundation, JobPath and the TAR Charitable Foundation. Details are available at www.tucsonrealtors.org/trcf.
Another charitable group associated with TAR is Primavera, whose motto is “providing pathways out of poverty.” Primavera has several housing programs for needy individuals.
“I’d like to thank all (TAR) members,” said Peggy Hutchison, CEO of Primavera. “There is no smarter thing for someone to invest in than a house.”
TAR members help Primavera clients purchase homes and educate them about real estate.
On that note, Nikki Halle of the Diane and Bruce Halle Foundation announced that the foundation is launching a $100,000 matching grant fundraiser for Primavera, challenging TAR members to donate and increase that amount.