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VBR looks for meaningful ways to bolster community

One of the most important components of feeling “at home” is a strong community

By Lauren Glendenning
Brought to you by the Vail Board of Realtors
Avon’s Main Street Mall is the central point for some of the Town’s public art displays, such as the Home for Hounds Project, a large-scale art display of locally built dog houses on display until July 23.
Avon’s Main Street Mall is the central point for some of the Town’s public art displays, such as the Home for Hounds Project, a large-scale art display of locally built dog houses on display until July 23.
Photos by Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily
Pets and real estate
  • 66% of U.S. households currently have a pet or plan to get one in the future, proving that pets and their effects on a home, various belongings/toys, and accommodations must be considered for a majority of households.
  • 43 percent of households would be willing to move to better accommodate their pet(s).
  • 68 percent of REALTORS®’ clients say that the animal policy influenced their decision to rent/buy in a particular community.
  • 81% of REALTORS® consider themselves animal lovers. 
  • 14 percent of REALTORS® members volunteer for an organization that helps animals. 

Source: “Animal House: Pets in the Home Buying and Selling Process,” published by the National Association of REALTORS®.

Real estate is often referred to as one of the largest, most important transactions of a person’s life, but the real estate industry encompasses so much more than what’s tangible. 

Putting people into their dream homes or dream neighborhoods, or simply in a location that’s best for their family to start creating memories, is what real estate is really about. 

“While we have a huge gap in this valley in terms of demographics, everybody needs that component of home, whether that’s single-family, townhome, multi-family or vacant land,” said Laura Sellards, chair of the Vail Board of Realtors. “Home is where they are — now more than ever — spending most of their time.”

Proceeds from the Home for Hounds Project will benefit the Eagle Valley Humane Society and VBR Foundation.
Proceeds from the Home for Hounds Project will benefit the Eagle Valley Humane Society and VBR Foundation.
Photos by Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

It’s this impact on communities that the Vail Board of Realtors (VBR) takes to heart, which is why it also contributes to important local causes every year since 1996 through the Vail Board of Realtors Foundation. 

“As Realtors, we are grateful for the opportunity to provide our real

estate services to buyers and sellers in this community. So, it is our

pleasure to provide financial assistance to Eagle County residents

and not-for-profit (501c3) organizations that serve the local

community, primarily in the areas of education, disaster relief, and

housing-related programs,” said Cynthia Thrall, chair of the Vail Board of Realtors Foundation. “This year we were able to award $31,250 in

donations to local not-for-profit organizations. We received numerous

applications, so we had to choose the ones that correlated the best with

our objectives.”

The 13 dog houses were installed June 23 and will eventually be sold with the help of Vail Board of Realtors partners. Houses will be put on the “market” for $500 to start. For more information, visit homeforhounds.org.
The 13 dog houses were installed June 23 and will eventually be sold with the help of Vail Board of Realtors partners. Houses will be put on the “market” for $500 to start. For more information, visit homeforhounds.org.
Photos by Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

Caring for the community

From students to businesses to the land on which we live, the Vail Board of Realtors believes in supporting the people who live, work and play here. 

“We’re a close-knit community, and our philanthropy all ties back to protecting and caring for our community,” Sellards said. “Overall, our giving is about being grateful to live in the environment we live in.” 

As the coronavirus pandemic’s effects have been felt throughout the county, the importance of philanthropy has been thrust into the spotlight.    

“We have a scholarship program that is probably more important than ever right now,” Sellards said. 

The mission of the VBR Foundation is “to assist the community and association members with need-based financial assistance, not-for-profit support, education and disaster relief.”

This is the third year of the VBR Foundation’s Annual Academic Scholarship Program for Eagle County resident students. Funds are raised via silent auction at the Vail Board of Realtors Annual Holiday Party, which the public may also participate in. 

“This past year we asked each real estate brokerage office to donate a gift

Basket — it was fabulous,” Thrall said. “Lots of fun, interesting, and creative gift baskets were donated and sold. One hundred percent of the funds donated are designated solely for the scholarships.”

In 2019, the scholarship program awarded $24,000 to 12 students. The VBR Foundation also donated more than $61,000 to the community, supported 11 nonprofits and provided six families and individuals with need-based aid in 2019. 

“Our largest fundraising annual event is our golf tournament. We have

no problem selling out for this event year after year,” Thrall said. “The location of the tournament changes, but it is always in Eagle County. We have all sorts of fun things going on throughout the day in addition to playing golf. The funds we raise at this event are all designated to support

VBR members and members of the community needing financial

assistance due to catastrophic illness or accident, for use towards

expenses related to medical issues or disaster relief. Our mission is

to be ‘there’ for you when you need us.”

The Home for Hounds art event incorporated local designers with building supplies and sponsors to produce artistic, functional, doghouses to be on display as an amenity to guests in Avon.
The Home for Hounds art event incorporated local designers with building supplies and sponsors to produce artistic, functional, doghouses to be on display as an amenity to guests in Avon.
Photos by Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

Home for Hounds

As a sponsor of the Home for Hounds Project, VBR is able to extend its philanthropy to another important family member for many in this community: dogs.

Home for Hounds is a large-scale public art exhibit in Avon featuring locally crafted dog houses that will be on display over four weeks. The doghouses will then be auctioned — or put on the “market” — for bids starting at $500. 

“Nationally, we’ve got six million animals in shelters, and four million of those are dogs,” Sellards said. 

Dogs are Sellards’ passion. She runs a couple of dog nonprofits and believes that our dogs are so much more than pets. For a lot of people, dogs are truly what make our homes feel more like home. 

“They really are family,” she said. 

Proceeds from the Home for Hounds Project will benefit the Eagle Valley Humane Society and VBR Foundation. 

“You look at these animals and they give so much to our communities and their families and our freedoms,” Sellards said, adding that she’s worked with dogs that have supported military, police, sick patients, children in school reading programs or who have to testify in court cases — the list goes on. Sellards’ own dog, a 12 ½ year-old golden retriever, was a local pet partner in the valley who visited patients and staff at Vail Health and the Shaw Cancer Center, in addition to visiting many local schools to support reading programs. 

“Anything we can do for these animals that the Humane Society gets in to support them — they just bring so much light into our lives,” Sellards said. The Vail Board of Realtors® is proud to support this project and find homes for you and your furry friends. 


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