The Santa Cruz County Association of REALTORS® Housing Foundation (SCCARHF) is a local, non - profit organization focused on bridging the gap to homeownership for low income individuals and families in Santa Cruz County. By creating an innovative funding program for low - income homebuyers, and by fundraising towards this program, the members of the Santa Cruz County Association of REALTORS® (SCCAR) are committed to helping potential homebuyers in our community achieve their dream of homeownership.

The Santa Cruz County Association of REALTORS® Housing Foundation (SCCARHF) celebrated 2014 as its tenth anniversary of giving assistance grants to low income first - time homebuyers in our community. We hope to make 2015 even better.

In 2003, SCCARHF was founded by a group of community minded members of the Santa Cruz County Association of REALTORS® and in July of that year was incorporated as a 501(c)3. The Foundation immediately began working to establish and achieve its mission: "Assisting residents of our community in realizing the dream of homeownership in Santa Cruz County by providing education, financial programs, and by supporting other organizations who embrace our goals". The year 2004 saw this group of leaders getting organized and putting policies and procedures in place to achieve this mission.

Fundraising efforts and grant distribution began in 2005 with the first Closing Cost Grant awarded on July 5, 2005. A new program for 2015, the Community Heroes Grant, was instituted to assist our local heroes with their first home buying endeavor. This is in addition to qualifying for the Closing Cost Assistance Grant and can make the difference for some in affording the dream of their first home.

With these innovative programs the Foundation has received over $130,000 in grants from the C.A.R. Housing Affordability Fund to assist in financing the grants. The funds from these grants, along with over ten years of donations through our Escrow Contribution Program, individual and corporate donations, have helped hold the Foundation in good stead.

Since its inception, the SCCAR Housing Foundation has successfully raised funds through innovative fundraising mechanisms and created financially sound grant programs for low - income, first - time home buyers. The initial fundraising efforts were tied to the SCCAR Golf Tournament and blossomed into our hugely successful annual event, "A Taste of Santa Cruz", which was first held on November 3, 2005. After nearly a decade of offering attendees delectable cuisine and tasty sips from an array of local restaurant, wineries and breweries; we can honestly say this fundraising event has become a well - established local annual event.

To date, close to a half a million dollars has been given to over 200 families to help them achieve the dream of homeownership. This is not the end of the story however; funds are continuously needed to help the foundation reach its goals year after year. Our non - profit status means we depend on our fundraising events and donations to sustain our grant programs. For information on how to contribute, click here.

"It's hard to believe a handful of members met ten years ago and together launched the Housing Foundation. It was so exciting; finally we were doing something for others and were on our way to giving back. It has meant a lot to me to have been a part of this, to be a founding trustee, to later become the chair of the Housing Foundation, and to participate in 10 years of being a committee member of 'A Taste of Santa Cruz'.

More importantly, and what makes my heart sing, is how we have helped 185 families in ten years achieve their dream of home ownership... priceless."

Inez Pandolfi
Century 21 Lad
Founding Trustee

"What a win - win. The commitment of Foundation to help potential homebuyers in our community achieve the dream of homeownership is also a great way to increase the public's awareness of the professionalism of REALTORS®."

Lela Willet, Unique Homes & Land
Housing Foundation Chair

"I remember being on the committee as a founding member and wondering whether this would ever get off the ground. It was challenging getting everyone to buy into the promise of what the Foundation could provide. Then it happened and we had the first event and then the next and then the first 'A Taste of Santa Cruz' and now there is no looking back. I am very grateful for the small part I played and know that there are many more people to thank for its success over the past 10 years."

Carol VanAusdal
Keller Williams Realty - SC Founding Trustee