In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Illinois REALTORS® CEO Gary Clayton and Deputy CEO Jeff Baker were thinking ahead of how the association could best serve members as they moved into a business environment and world that had changed.

Real estate is a business built on personal connections, but more of those are shifting online. Communities are coping with the economic fallout of the pandemic. And consumers want insight on what is ahead for the housing market

To help members thrive in these changing times, Illinois REALTORS® has collected and created resources to give you all the tools you need for a new kind of ROI:

  • Revitalize – our business, our communities, our state
  • Opportunity – to grow, to learn and to serve
  • Influence – to advocate for homeowners and private property rights in Illinois

“The goal of ROI is to contribute to the success and growth of Illinois and its communities,” says Baker, who will take over as the association’s CEO in 2021. “Illinois REALTORS® is working to advance policies that bring housing stability and economic growth not just to existing economic centers but also to historically underserved and disproportionally impacted neighbors. Illinois REALTORS® will use ROI to help achieve that mission.”


After the upheaval from COVID-19, now is a good time to hit the reset button and reinvigorate your business and community.

First, ROI is providing some of the concrete information you need to run your business now as the pandemic continues. It includes office checklists, information you can share with your clients about saving their homes if they are facing financial hardships, news about factors impacting the housing market and even a tip sheet to share with clients about the benefits of selling during the current low inventory.

Revitalization also means restoring local communities and REALTORS® who pride themselves on being enthusiastic community boosters have been out in force, working to build stronger communities. Some of these projects are highlighted in Community on pages 38-39.

REALTORS® from all areas of the state have delivered food to healthcare workers, collected donations for humane societies and pushed up their sleeves to beautify parks and natural areas in their communities.

Illinois REALTORS® will be sharing the stories of their good works and the resources for National Association of REALTORS® Placemaking Grants and Community Rebuilding Grants to help more REALTORS® revitalize their communities.


Challenges can often bring the greatest opportunities for reinvention and innovation. ROI will provide resources to help grow and develop not just your business, but also yourself — both personally and professionally.

As part of ROI, Illinois REALTORS® will be putting a greater focus on improving diversity and inclusion. You can test your own implicit biases and find videos and information on ways to foster greater access to fair and affordable housing for all Illinois residents.

Illinois REALTORS® is also partnering with the Illinois Real Estate Educational Foundation (REEF) for a two-part grant/scholarship initiative to increase diversity in the state’s real estate industry.

A new Diversity/Inclusion Grant Program will provide grants of up to $1,000 to firms and offices, enabling them to work with diversity and inclusion trainers to develop virtual programs tailored to their offices.

And the Illinois Minority Real Estate Scholarship will be expanded with Illinois REALTORS® and REEF allocating money for 40 additional scholarships. When coupled with the 60 provided by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), it brings the total to 100 annual scholarships aimed at encouraging more racial minority residents to pursue real estate careers. For more information about the scholarships and grants visit

Illinois REALTORS® is also working to bring more general educational tools directly to you. Earlier this year, the association partnered with Freddie Mac for a three-part webinar series on everything from homebuyer resources to specific lending products for older housing stock.

The goal is to be a leader in offering members enhanced opportunities to learn, grow and lead.


REALTORS® are successful and influential advocates for real estate and homeownership at every level of public policy.

That was never more evident than in the early days of COVID-19 when Illinois REALTORS® successfully pushed to ensure that real estate be deemed an essential service while the state was under stay-at-home orders.

Because of that success, and efforts to make sure notarial acts were allowed to be executed remotely, REALTORS® were able to work, represent their clients and make sure the vital economic engine of the housing market kept moving in Illinois.

Illinois REALTORS® have built relationships that get things done.

When the inspections that are required for home purchases in Belleville were put on hold for more than 70 days this spring because of the pandemic, area REALTORS® and their Governmental Affairs Director Ron Deedrick lobbied the city to get the inspection process resumed.

When conditions prevented the association’s Federal Political Coordinators (FPCs) from meeting with members of the Illinois Congressional delegation, the elected officials made themselves available to meet for Let’s Talk Real Estate discussions on Zoom because of the influential relationships that have been built over the years.

REALTORS® have shown they can wield positive leadership and influence to help policy leaders make good decisions.

Under ROI, Illinois REALTORS® will build on that influence by taking a more proactive lobbying approach to push for positive changes in both the industry and public policy. That influence can be used to advance new ideas and structural change that other advocacy groups wouldn’t be able to tackle.

What does ROI mean to you?

You’ll find information to help you strengthen your communities, promote innovation and growth, experience new perspectives and seize opportunities to help others.

In short, you will find the tools you need to improve your industry, your community and yourself.

Find these resources and more at