TUCSON GIVING: TUCSON REALTORS CHARITABLE FOUNDATION

Wild Western Night to benefit charities

2013-07-07T00:00:00Z Wild Western Night to benefit charitiesLoni Nannini Special To The Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

The Tucson Realtors Charitable Foundation will up the ante for fundraising to benefit local charities with the Second Annual Wild Western Night featuring Texas Hold 'em and other casino games later this month.

"We have organized golf tournaments and softball tournaments and a variety of other events, and with our Wild Western Night we wanted to create something fun and different - and something that we could do inside to escape the heat," said Annalisa Moreno, director of education and housing opportunities for the Tucson Association of Realtors and the Tucson Realtors Charitable Foundation.

"Everyone had a lot of fun last year, and we're hopeful for another great time this year," she said.

The nonprofit foundation was founded in 2009 by the Tucson Association of Realtors with a mission to assist the community by enhancing quality of life through financial programs, education and housing-related initiatives and community activities.

Since 2011, the foundation has contributed more than $35,000 to 18 local nonprofit organizations including the Alzheimer's Association, Emerge Center Against Domestic Abuse, Habitat for Humanity, GaitWay, Honor Flight Arizona, Interfaith Community Services, Youth On Their Own and the Tucson Arts Brigade.

The foundation distributes one $5,000 grant on a quarterly basis. Apply at tucsonrealtors.org/foundation.html online.

A foundation committee chooses grant recipients based on the impact of the organization, community need, number of people served, financial soundness and organization efficiency. The next grant application deadline is Aug. 15, and nonprofits are encouraged to apply.

"The foundation has been quietly funding nonprofits in the community, and funds are available on an ongoing basis, but lots of folks are not aware of it.

"We are really proud of the fact that we have been getting money out there to these often underfunded but well-intentioned nonprofits, and our hope is that as people learn more about how much the foundation is doing for the community, we will get more involvement from the public at these types of fundraising events, and then we will have more money to distribute quarterly," said Philip Tedesco, executive director of the Tucson Realtors Charitable Foundation.

Several times in the past year, quarterly grant requests have exceeded $20,000. Tedesco attributes this to the need that nonprofits - both small and large - continue to experience and said the foundation strives to serve diverse populations.

"We tried to make the mission statement broad enough that we could support different types of needs that came up in the community, but wanted to be focused on some level on housing-related programs and initiatives and community activities that addressed quality-of-life issues," he said.

Tedesco, who also serves as the chief executive officer for the Tucson Association of Realtors, thinks realtors tend to view giving back as an investment in the community.

He emphasized that, independently of the funds donated by the Tucson Realtors Charitable Foundation, the Tucson Association of Realtors has donated an additional $77,000 to local charities since 2010.

If You Go

Wild Western Night featuring Texas Hold 'em to benefit the Tucson Realtors Charitable Foundation

• When: July 19, 5:30 p.m.

• Where: Hilton El Conquistador Presidio Ballroom, 10000 N. Oracle Road

• Cost: $75 per person by July 18; $85 at the door

• Tickets: Call 327-4218 or visit www.tucsonrealtors.org

Contact Loni Nannini at ninch2@comcast.net

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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