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Community Involvement

Berrien, Van Buren & Cass Foster Children Benefit From Very Successful SWMI REALTORS® Suitcases for Kids Fundraiser

The Southwestern Michigan Association of REALTORS® (SWMAR) recently celebrated the end of their tenth annual fundraising program for Suitcases for Kids. The Association along with community support raised $5,500 in cash donations and collected over 130 backpacks and numerous personal items to help Berrien, Van Buren & Cass Foster Children.

The fundraiser benefits local foster children under the supervision of the Michigan Department of Human Services in Berrien, Van Buren, and Cass Counties. Many of the children have very little or no personal items that they can take with them when they are moved into foster care. So the new backpacks, new clothing and personal healthcare items make a huge impact during a sad and confusing time for foster children.

The community support for this fundraiser also contributed to its success. In addition to donating personal care items and cash donations, local businesses provided items for a silent auction.

The Suitcases for Kids committee members included Kelley Simpson, Angela Nutto, Jill Celie-Brenay, Kelly Luna, Meryl Green, Jenny Johnson, Tammy Anders and Kathy Pallas. The committee members are REALTORS or Affiliate Members of Southwestern Michigan Association of REALTORS.

Read more: Berrien, Van Buren & Cass Foster Children Benefit From Very Successful SWMI REALTORS® Suitcases...

SWMI REALTORS Association Awarded Placemaking Grant to Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum in South Haven

SWMI REALTORS Association Awarded Placemaking Grant to Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum in South Haven

The Bailey Museum, located at 903 Bailey Avenue, South Haven received a $1,300 Placemaking micro-grant from the Southwestern Michigan Association of REALTORS provided to them from the National Association of REALTORS to help make South Haven a better place to live and work by transforming public spaces into vibrant community places. The grant is intended to help Realtor Associations partner with others to plan, organize, implement and maintain placemaking activities in their communities.

The Bailey Museum will use the grant to complete a signage project that will highlight the living collections of plants that are the legacy of Dr. Liberty Hyde Bailey, the father of American horticulture. The signs will be designed by the volunteer museum staff and will allow visitors to wander the gardens and interpret the plant collections on a self-guided tour.

Anne Long, Board of Directors Chair, explained, “Without the presences of a gardener in residence, many of our guests do not have questions about the garden answered. With signs that give the Latin and English names and descriptions, guests will be able to wander the gardens anytime and learn the historical value and accomplishments of Dr. Bailey. The gardens are open year-round and are accessible to foot traffic and wheelchair access. Admission is free to visit the gardens.”

The Bailey Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating people about Liberty Hyde Bailey through the preservation of his birth-site home, interpreting his philosophies of land ethics and the appreciation of the natural world in our everyday life. The project is expected to start at the end of April and be completed in June.

Read more: SWMI REALTORS Association Awarded Placemaking Grant to Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum in South Haven

Baker Park, Coloma - July 2015

The North Berrien Community Development Association used their grant from the Southwestern Michigan Association of REALTORS to help reach their goal to raise funds to complete an artistic tree carving project in Baker Park. Located at the entrance to the downtown area, Baker Park is an historical landmark and a key gathering spot for residents and visitors. Near the center of the park is a 25 foot trunk of a tree that is over hundred years old whichWoodworks Chainsaw Carvings will carve their design into the tree. The detailed design will reflect the local history and the activities, wildlife and agriculture aspects of the community.

Southwestern Michigan REALTORS Association Awarded Placemaking Grant to Help Improve Baker Park in Coloma

The Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors? has received a S2,200 Placemaking micro-grant from the National Association of Realtors? to help make Baker Park in Coloma a better place to live and work by transforming unused public spaces into vibrant community places. The grant is intended to help Realtor Associations partner with others to plan, organize, implement and maintain placemaking activities in their communities

The North Berrien Community Development Association will use the grant to help reach their goal to raise funds to complete an artistic tree carving project in Baker Park. Located at the entrance to the downtown area, Baker Park is an historical landmark and a key gathering spot for residents and visitors

Near the center of the park is a 25 foot trunk of a tree that is over hundred years old.

Read more: Baker Park, Coloma - July 2015

SWMAR To Make A Clean Sweep of Silver Beach

ST. JOSEPH, MI  As part of their "Realtors Do Make The Difference" program, the Southwestern Michigan Association of REALTORS® and affiliate members each year volunteer their services to adopt a local Great Lakes beach. The event is one of fourteen special Alliance for the Great Lakes Adopt-a-Beach events throughout the region sponsored by Barefoot Wine & Bubbly to sweep the beach for trash and document the items collected. To volunteer to help clean Silver Beach, please register at www.greatlakesadopt.org.

The REALTORS® are inviting anyone in the community to join them for this fun-filled evening event on May 19, 2016 from 6 pm until 7 pm. Volunteers are asked to register at the at the Barefoot Wine tent located near the beach playground area starting at 5:30. If you would like more information, contact Kathy Pallas, SWMAR Administrative Assistant, at 269-983-6375.

Read more: SWMAR To Make A Clean Sweep of Silver Beach

SWMI REALTORS Association Awarded Placemaking Grant to Fund Improvements to Sawyer Preserve

Photo Caption: The Chikaming Open Lands will use their grant from the Southwestern Michigan Association of REALTORS® to help install educational signage and benches along trails in the newly opened Sawyer Preserve. Accepting the check from Debbie Floor, President of Southwestern Michigan Association of REALTORS® was Chris Thompson, Executive Director, Chikaming Open Lands. Also attending the ceremony at the Sawyer Preserve were George Lucas, Re/Max Harbor Country, Union Pier, sponsoring Realtor, Gary Walter, EVP, SWMAR, and Ryan Postema, Land Protection Specialist, Chikaming Open Lands

ST. JOSEPH, MI - The Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors® has received a $1,500 Placemaking micro-grant from the National Association of Realtors® to help install educational signage and benches along trails in the newly opened Sawyer Preserve. The grant programs objective is to help Realtor® Associations partner with others to plan, organize, implement and maintain placemaking activities in their communities.

The Chikaming Open Lands newest nature preserve in Sawyer, MI is a perfect example of the potential of taking an unused space and by making minimum improvements create a vibrant community space that will add to public enjoyment for generations to come. The preserve is open for public use for passive recreation such as bird watching, hiking, or cross-county skiing on existing trails.

Read more: SWMI REALTORS Association Awarded Placemaking Grant to Fund Improvements to Sawyer Preserve