Since 2015, the Illinois REALTORS® Relief Foundation (IRRF) has been raising money and providing financial assistance to U.S. citizens living in Illinois who are victims of natural disasters.

In six years, the 501 (c)(3) organization has distributed a total of $295,000 to more than 660 Illinois families that were victimized by flooding, tornadoes and more. In fact, the IRRF has already given $52,000 to 104 households this year.

In today’s Illinois REALTORS® podcast, Vice President Operations Cathy Madaus and Assistant Operations Manager Brandi Moore talk about why the organization was created and how it works.

To get more information about the program or to make a donation, visit the IRRF website.

Full Transcript:

Jeremy Goeckner: Hello, and welcome to the IR Weekly Podcast, keeping you up to date with all of the latest news in the REALTOR® world. I’m Jeremy.

Kelli Jessup: And I’m Kelli. The recent deadly storms that swept through Illinois and other parts of the country are on every minds right now. On today’s episode, we’re talking about the Illinois REALTORS® Relief Foundation, and the work it does to help Illinois communities affected by natural disasters.

Zeke Morris: On behalf of Illinois REALTORS®, we would like to express our deepest condolences for the families who have been traumatized by the tornado, especially our families in Edwardsville, Illinois, and our neighboring families that are in Kentucky. We want you to know that we are with you, and support whatever it is that you need. We have the relief foundation. And with that, our purpose is for things such as this, for times such as this. And our goal is to be as supportive as possible for all of our neighbors, not only in Illinois, but in the surrounding areas of Kentucky. We want you to know that we’re here to serve.

Jeremy Goeckner: We are talking with Cathy Madaus, Vice President of Operations at Illinois REALTORS®, and Brandi Moore, the Assistant Operations Manager who administer the Illinois REALTORS® Relief Foundation, or IRRF. Cathy, Brandi, thank you very much for coming onto the show.

Brandi Moore: Thank you.

Cathy Madaus: Thank you. First off, we want to start off by saying our hearts are with those impacted by the tornadoes that hit over the weekend. Illinois REALTORS® and the Illinois REALTORS® Relief Foundation are working with local boards and other state associations to determine how it can most effectively help these communities. And we will be announcing our action plan in the days ahead.

Kelli Jessup: Can you just tell us about the foundation, why the foundation was created, and how it works?

Cathy Madaus: Sure. At the end of 2013, there was some tornadoes that had hit Tazewell, Woodford and Washington counties, and there was more a thousand homes that were destroyed. And at that time, the Illinois REALTORS® Relief was not established. So, we reached out to the National Association of REALTORS® Relief Foundation, through their program we were able to grant over 207 households, a total of $211,000 in relief.

Jeremy Goeckner: Wow, that’s amazing.

Cathy Madaus: It was. It was a lot of devastation. So, after that had hit our state, we decided it was time to establish our own REALTOR® Relief Foundations. So, in 2015, we created the Illinois REALTOR® Relief Foundation, and it’s completely dedicated to providing relief to victims of disasters in Illinois.

Jeremy Goeckner: Brandi, how do you, at the IRRF, actually determine the eligibility for the assistance that IRRF gives?

Brandi Moore: To be eligible for assistance, you must be a full-time Illinois resident, a U.S. citizen, and meet the criteria of the program.

Kelli Jessup: All right, Cathy. And you’re the numbers lady here. Can you give us a snapshot of how much IRRF assistance has been given out to date?

Cathy Madaus: Yes, absolutely. In six years, the foundation has assisted over 660 families, with donations of more than $295,000. In this year alone, $52,000 have been granted to 104 households.

Jeremy Goeckner: That is unbelievable. You hear numbers like that and it’s almost impossible to compute how much that means to somebody in that moment. It’s just absolutely incredible. If you don’t mind me asking, I’m curious, how does this actually get funded? Is this something that Illinois REALTORS® does from their operations budget? Is this through donations of the REALTORS®?

Cathy Madaus: It’s through all of those items. We receive individual donations, and Illinois REALTORS® as generous enough to give us a donation typically yearly, based upon how good of a year they’ve had. But absolutely, we get some relief from individuals from other local associations and our own.

Jeremy Goeckner: That’s wonderful.

Kelli Jessup: That’s one thing I’ve noticed, REALTORS® are very much in the business of giving back to their communities.

Cathy Madaus: Oh, absolutely. Very generous.

Jeremy Goeckner: Yeah, absolutely. So finally, it is important to note that you said there, that we get donations there, IRRF gets donations. But they do accept those year round, not just when disasters occur. And obviously, so when these things do happen, we can offer assistance, as quickly as it’s needed there. So Brandi, how do people actually donate to IRRF, if they’re so inclined to throughout the year?

Brandi Moore: You can donate by visiting the Illinois REALTORS® Relief Foundation webpage, or by mailing a check to Illinois REALTORS® Relief Foundation, PO box 19451, Springfield, Illinois, 62794.

Cathy Madaus: There’s just no way to predict what the weather will do. So, we’re definitely here to help though. And we’re working right now with some local associations on the disaster that just happened over the weekend.

Jeremy Goeckner: And as you already said at the beginning, our hearts obviously go out to everyone in Edwardsville, all throughout the state, and other states. Kentucky got hit very hard, Indiana had some tornadoes touchdowns. It’s amazing that night, we were relatively safe up here in Springfield. It was just really heavy rain, but you just think about that. And all of a sudden, just a couple hundred miles away, there’s just absolute devastation. And so it is great that we have something like this, that can offer that assistance.

Cathy Madaus: It is. It’s been a great program and we’ve enjoyed working with it, and feel very fortunate to be able to do that.

Jeremy Goeckner: So, we want to remind our listeners that you can find information about the Illinois REALTORS® Relief Foundation and the donation link on the Illinois REALTORS® website at

Kelli Jessup: Well, I think that’s a wrap for today. Thank you, Cathy and Brandi for joining us today, and sharing all the information, and doing the work you guys do.

Jeremy Goeckner: Yeah.

Cathy Madaus: Thank you for having us.

Jeremy Goeckner: Absolutely. It’s our pleasure.

Kelli Jessup: And that’s it for this week’s IR Podcast. Thank you all for listening, and as always give us a rating and review on your podcast app of choice. And if you want any more content, simply search Illinois REALTORS® on your favorite social media app. We’ll see you next week.