By Dawn Scotland
The Truth Reporter
The Greater Toledo Realtist Association held their second annual Masquerade Night at the Casino Fundraiser at St. Clement’s Hall Saturday November 4. The proceeds of the fundraiser will support future programming for the organization and provide a $1,000 donation to MLK Kitchen for The Poor.
“It’s a party with a purpose,” stated founding president of TGRA Rob Pasker. “We’re coming together to raise funds for our mission of ‘fighting for democracy in housing.’” Pasker along with 12 founding members created the branch in 2019. “We’re an organization of the premier Black real estate professionals and our allies within our northwest Ohio region. Our mission is to educate our community, advocate on behalf of our community and also elevate our businesses in the process.”
The Greater Toledo REALTIST® Association (GTRA) is a trade association whose mission is to build a supportive infrastructure to become a positive and dominant influence in the Ohio real estate market. They aim to represent a unified voice for African Americans and other underserved populations, brokers, agents, affiliates and the clients they serve.
The group is a local board of The National Association of Real Estate Brokers, Inc. (NAREB®), that was formed in 1947 by African American real estate professionals out of a need to secure the right to equal housing opportunities, regardless of race, creed or color.
The goal locally, said Pasker, is to increase the Black home ownership rate. “76 percent of white households own their properties while only 36 percent of Black households own their properties,” he stated. “The majority of Americans build their net worth by owning their homes. That homeowner gaps equates to a wealth gap and that wealth gap equates to every other gap you can think of… education, health, opportunity – so we want to put more Black people in homes. Point blank period.”
The organization is not just an organization for realtors but anyone who is interested in breaking down barriers in Black homeownership. Within the organization there are lawyers, brokers, contractors, event planners and title reps. “It’s an organization for people that are passionate about the people,” remarked Pasker.
Guests enjoyed food, raffles, casino games, silent auction and prizes. Music was provided by DJ Big Lou the Mayor and Montrice Terry served as the master of ceremonies. Area supporters as well as regional officers were present. The group presented Harvey Savage Jr. with a $1,000 donation for the MLK Kitchen for The Poor for his dedication to the community.
Greater Toledo Realtist Association Board Members are President – Rob Pasker, 1st Vice President- Tiffany Jones, 2nd Vice President – Kimberly Dixon, Treasurer – De’Lisa Moore, Director – Brenda DuHart, Director – Faye Smith, and Director – DeLise Simmons
Sponsors of the event: Gold Sponsor- Fifth Third Bank; Silver Sponsor- Huntington Bank, KeyBank, Par Excel Events; Bronze Sponsor- Liberty Title Company, Inc. and 360 Keepsake Mobile Photobooth
2023 Awards for exemplary members of GTRA:
Partner of the Year – Faye Smith (Fifth Third Bank),
Affiliate of the Year Award – Brenda Duhart
Realtist of the Year Award – De’Lisa Moore