Colorado Association of REALTORS | Grand Junction REALTOR® Brenda Case Wins Colorado’s Heart Award
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Grand Junction REALTOR® Brenda Case Wins Colorado’s Heart Award

Jun 01 2022

Grand Junction REALTOR® Brenda Case Wins Colorado’s Heart Award

Five REALTORS® across Colorado recognized as REALTORS® with a Heart

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 1, 2022     

Contact:   Amy McDermott

Executive Director, CAR Foundation
(303) 785-7131 or (303) 790-7099

ENGLEWOOD, CO– The Colorado Association of REALTORS® (CAR) Foundation has named Grand Junction REALTOR® Brenda Case the recipient of its 2022 Colorado’s Heart Award in recognition of REALTORS® serving their communities with distinction.

In honor of her selection, the CAR Foundation will make a $3,000 donation to Case’s charity of choice, Mutual Aid Partners, which helped Case organize food and supplies for 18,000 Grand Junction residents since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The CAR Foundation will also donate $750 to the charities of four other REALTOR® district finalists: Natalie Carrado, Denver/ShesCHERIshed; Glenna Clark-Olmsted, Steamboat Springs/Community Utility Support Program; Geoff Frahm, Loveland/Loveland SERTOMA; and Sarah Hunter, Pueblo/CASA of Pueblo.

Colorado’s Heart Award honoree stories include:

Brenda Case, Grand Junction

Colorado’s Heart Award 2022 Winner

Mutual Aid Partners

At the beginning of the 2020 pandemic shutdown, it became clear that Grand Junction was hit hard. REALTOR® Brenda Case volunteered to organize a community effort that grew from a small Facebook group to thousands of members who needed food, supplies, and support.

The small Facebook group was organized into a formal nonprofit structure as Mutual Aid Partners to help with fundraising and organization efforts. Case coordinated weekly food donations and distribution at a local church for more than 18,000 people over the last two years.

“Brenda got the community organized to help,” said Stephania Vasconez, Executive Director of Mutual Aid Partners. “It’s incredible how much of our community she has touched.”

Community needs were broad, so Mutual Aid Partners, with Case’s help, aimed at helping as many neighbors as they could. Along with leading volunteer efforts to make and distribute 50,000 homemade masks during the pandemic, Case has also enjoyed engaging with older adults in Grand Junction where she coordinates volunteers who provide holiday gift baskets, children’s artwork and theatre presentations, food, and clothing to more than 1,600 older adults. Case said it was especially rewarding to see this project become a multi-generational effort, drawing in support from children and other older adults in the community.

Through her business, Back To Basics Realty, she has had an even greater reach, which she is thankful for. “(Enlisting) a number of my fellow REALTORS®, clients, and friends in projects has been a huge bonus in that, between us all, we have a huge (sphere of influence), enabling our projects to reach more of our community and enlist more volunteers,” said Case.

Case continues to honor the memory of her mother through her volunteerism. “Due to my late mother’s influence, I have tried to be active in my community for most of my adult life, but with Mutual Aid Partners, and specifically the senior engagement group, I feel like I’ve really found my niche,” she shared.

Contact Case at brenda@backtobasicsrealtygj.com and learn more about Mutual Aid Partners at https://mutualaidpartners.org/.

Natalie Carrado, Denver

ShesCHERIshed

After many years, Denver-area REALTOR® Nancy Carrado’s mother, Cheri, was able to free herself from her abusive relationship. In her mother’s memory, Carrado founded ShesCHERIshed, a nonprofit ministry dedicated to helping women who have been impacted by domestic violence.

“I’m trying to do my part to stop the generational cycle of domestic violence for other women and children through prevention, intervention, and restoration services,” Carrado said.

ShesCHERIshed helps victims by providing connections to resources, financial assistance, items victims need to help with the transition such as hotel and sundry gift cards, and spiritual guidance through ministry and bible study. ShesCHERIshed also provides advocacy services in the prison system to teach parenting skills and empower victims to break the cycle of abuse.

Carrado, also a victim of domestic violence, and her team endeavor to someday build a shelter on land that she owns, a project for which they are fundraising.

“The most rewarding part of what we do is when women can move from being a victim, to being a survivor, and then to a ‘thriver’ in their lives and create a healthy lifestyle for their children,” said Carrado.

As a REALTOR®, Carrado knows she’s in a unique position to help. “I’m blessed to be able to sell real estate and use some of the funds to support helping women and children,” she said. “I look forward to the day when one of our ShesCHERIshed ladies is able to actually purchase their own home.”

Contact Carrado at natalie@livingdenver.com and learn more about ShesCHERIshed at https://shescherished.org/

Glenna Clark-Olmsted, Steamboat Springs

Community Utility Support Program

REALTOR® Glenna Clark-Olmsted pioneered a utility bill assistance program to help those in need keep their lights and heat on during the pandemic.

“I started thinking how frightening it must be for folks when their money is being stretched to where they are worried about paying the electric or gas bill, especially during the winter,” said Olmsted Clark. “Upon investigation with our utility companies, I found that there is indeed a huge need not only during the pandemic but consistently throughout the year.”

Clark-Olmsted rallied volunteers at the Steamboat Springs Board of REALTORS® to gain funding and promote a new program to provide financial assistance with utility bills to those in need, called the Community Utility Support Program (CUSP).

“It is so related to our profession, and it would be so appreciated within our community. Our REALTOR® community is very generous and caring, so this was a natural fit and was immediately embraced by them,” she said.

The program is structured as a fiscally sponsored project under the umbrella of the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, which provides tax-deductible fundraising capability and program support. Applicants for CUSP are vetted by two local organizations who then steward direct payments to utility companies on behalf of the applicants.

Perhaps the most rewarding part for Clark-Olmsted is the positive ripple effect the program has had on other local organizations that, with the CUSP funding utility support, can now allocate precious funds to helping those in need in other ways.

Contact Clark-Olmsted at glenna@zirkel.us and learn more about the Community Utility Support Program at https://yvcf.org/cusp/.

Geoff Frahm, Loveland

Loveland SERTOMA

REALTOR® Geoff Frahm shows his devotion to his community by volunteering his time with Loveland SERTOMA, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for those impacted by hearing loss. SERTOMA is a contraction for SERvice TO MAnkind. The organization hosts fundraisers during the year to bring the county together and raise funds for grants to community organizations.

“It is amazing what a group of open hearts can do,” Frahm said. “I had the privilege to be the club President for two years…not once did I have a shortage of volunteers. …even in the months-long period (during Covid), where we couldn’t meet as a group, they all stuck with the club. They all kept paying their dues…we as a group never stopped being able to provide (grants) for the nonprofits we support.”

Frahm and his family have lived in Loveland for 20 years where he operates his real estate business with The Group, Inc. Through this work with Loveland SERTOMA, the organization has donated more than $250,000 in grants to benefit the Loveland community.

Loveland SERTOMA sponsors the annual Loveland Loves BBQ, Bands, & Brews event, which is now in its 16th year. It’s become a county-wide favorite.

For Frahm, being a REALTOR® is another important way to give back to the Loveland community that he loves. “Especially in these years of abundant growth, it’s important to know that as a REALTOR®, you are a pathway to the pride of homeownership that everyone deserves. You get the privilege of being a counselor, friend, and trusted advisor to people in a very emotional process. Once all of that sinks in, it becomes fun to go to work,” he noted.

“There are just a lot of big hearts in Loveland that have identified creative and unique ways to inspire and support our kids,” he said. “SERTOMA finds ways to [grant] them money, but these groups pour their lives into a niche that literally changes the trajectory of a youth,” Frahm continued.

Contact Frahm at gfrahm@thegroupinc.com and learn more about Loveland SERTOMA at https://lovelandsertoma.org/.

Sarah Hunter, Pueblo

CASA of Pueblo

Almost half a million children in the United States end up in family court each year, through no fault of their own. That’s where Pueblo REALTOR® Sarah Hunter comes in—as a volunteer for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), for children in family court.

Since 2020, Hunter has been a trained advocate who works for CASA’s mission to offer children a voice in the courts and community.

“The most rewarding part is seeing families reunited in a safe way and have the resources available to them. I also love that, as a REALTOR®, I have the flexibility to be a volunteer,” she said. Hunter operates Team House Hunters powered by eXp Realty in Pueblo.

She has seen first-hand the challenges of children and families working their way through the family court system. “The hardest thing has been learning how mental health has such an impact on our community, and we do not have the resources needed,” she said. “Also, how very difficult it can be for people to understand that they need help and to ask for it.”

Contact Sarah Hunter at sehunter79@gmail.com and learn more about CASA of Pueblo at https://www.casaofpueblo.org/home


The Colorado Association of REALTORS® is the state’s largest real estate trade association representing more than 29,000 members statewide. The association supports private property rights, equal housing opportunities and is the “Voice of Real Estate” in Colorado. For more information, visit https://www.coloradorealtors.com.

The Colorado Association of REALTORS® Foundation serves Colorado REALTORS® as the philanthropic and community engagement arm of the Colorado Association of REALTORS®. The Colorado Association of REALTORS® Foundation supports safe and attainable housing, advances homeownership for all Coloradans and provides housing-related disaster assistance to our neighbors in need. For more information, visit http://www.coloradorealtorfoundation.org/

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