Doug Carpenter (left) and Matt Difanis ask the board to vote on a recommendation of Mike Drews as 2019 Region 7 Vice President.

The Illinois REALTORS® Board of Directors backed Immediate Past President Mike Drews as its choice to become Region VII Vice President in 2019. The three-state region covers Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.

The vote was unanimous, and came at a meeting where board members heard updates on progress on a high-profile Bicentennial project and successes in reaching investment goals with the REALTORS® Political Action Committee.

Illinois REALTORS® CEO Gary Clayton told the board that an old bank branch building likely will be demolished in August, clearing the way for work to begin on the Bicentennial Plaza, a REALTOR® Community partnership.

The Bicentennial Plaza is part of a larger redevelopment plan for the Jackson Street corridor which would ultimately link the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, the Bicentennial Park, the Executive Mansion and the state Capitol.

President Doug Carpenter reported that 31 of 47 Illinois REALTORS® committees have 100 percent of their members investing in RPAC. Sonia Anaya, speaking for the RPAC Major Investors Working Group, said every member of the Board of Directors is an RPAC Major Investor. Also, the program has already surpassed the annual goal of 439 and now has 493. Finally, with 52 members committed to be in the President’s Circle, the group has exceeded its goal and is fourth in the nation for most in the President’s Circle.

2017 Illinois Real Estate Educational Foundation (REEF) President Sue Miller reported 65 people received scholarships in 2016, totaling $52,800. Since the year 2000, REEF has awarded $569,100 in scholarships.

Phil Chiles reported that the Illinois REALTORS® Relief Foundation (IRRF), one of the charitable arms of the Illinois REALTORS®, raised $133,000 in contributions and awarded $5,500 in aid to 11 individuals in 2016.

In 2017, IRRF has received $1,500 in contributions, giving the foundation $170,000 in cash reserves. To assist the tornado victims of the late February early March storms, $25,000 of this was set aside. To date, IRRF has awarded 18 grants to individuals for a total of $8,800. Additionally, IRRF reached out to NAR and was awarded $25,000 to provide REALTOR® Relief Assistance. The committee has awarded one RRF grant to date and will continue to receive applications for this disaster through July 1.