Happy Birthday: Long Realty’s philanthropic arm turns 20

Break out the party hats! Long Realty, Southern Arizona’s leading residential real-estate brokerage, is celebrating the twentieth anniversary of its philanthropic arm.

Long Realty Cares Foundation was launched in 2002 to support local groups focused on education, health, community services, the arts and the environment. Mission: Long Realty Cares Foundation offers the promise of hope to those who need shelter, sustenance and comfort, and the commitment to serve the needs of the communities in which we work and live. Funded largely by contributions from Long Realty agents and employees, as well as from the Long Companies organization itself, LRCF has raised—and distributed—more than $3.5 million.

Along the way, the foundation has garnered a host of awards for outstanding community service from organizations throughout the region.

An astounding array of local and regional nonprofits—200-plus and counting—have received LRCF funding. The groups span a spectrum of community needs and services ranging from Esperanza En Escalante (homeless and at-rick veterans), Tucson Medical Center “Heal the Healers” patio, Southern Arizona’s Food Bank to Camp Not-A-Wheeze (safe camping experiences and asthma-management training for children with moderate to severe asthma). The full roster of recipients is at the LRCF website (https://longrealtycares.com).

“There are so many wonderful nonprofits in Southern Arizona changing lives and saving lives,” said Thom Melendez, Long Realty Cares Foundation president. “Thanks to the generous gifts of our donors, we get to be part of that. We look forward to many more years with these organizations, and others.”

Melendez is the latest of eight presidents—all Long Realty sales agents or brokers—to hold the position.

“Supporting the community is built into everything we do, from our earliest days,” said Reneé Gonzales, CEO of Long Companies. “Giving back is not what we say but who we are. We’re driven to effect positive change wherever we can. The foundation is a big part of doing just that.”

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Long Realty honors two for service and achievement

Going above and beyond wins two Long Realty sales professionals major company honors to acknowledge their community service and professional achievement. The awards were announcedat the company’s annual meeting, held Jan. 26 as a Zoom call.

The Samuel H. Woods Community Service Award for 2022 went to Jennifer Anderson, an associate broker with Long’s Houghton/Southeast/Vail office. Winning the Barrington L. Long Lifetime Achievement Award for 2022 was Sue Brooks, a sales agent with the company’s Foothills office.

The Samuel H. Woods Community Service Award: Jennifer Anderson

The award recognizes a sales associate or employee who best exemplifies a commitment to community involvement and “service above self” while inspiring others to do the same. It is named for Samuel H. Woods, a Long Realty member noted for his dedication to helping others.

Anderson’s efforts have touched practically the entire community of Vail. Her résumé includes sitting on the boards of a number of local organizations, from the Greater Vail Community Resources program (assisting people facing food insecurity) to the Desert Crown Theater Company. Her service extends to new-school planning and site-council membership, as well as leading the women’s ministry for her church. She’s also on the board of the Cienega High School choir boosters.

A native Tucsonan, Anderson earned her real estate sales license in 2004 and stepped up to a broker’s license in 2018. The head of the Jen Anderson Team, she’s a 2022 member of Long Realty’s 1926 Circle of Excellence, Platinum level, as well as a vice-president member of the company’s Executive Council.

The award includes a donation to the Samuel H. Woods Memorial Scholarship Fund in the name of the recipient. Administered by the University of Arizona Foundation, the fund supports a scholarship for a student studying regional land development at the university’s School of Geography and Development.

The Barrington L. Long Lifetime Achievement Award: Sue Brooks

Named after Barrington L. Long, president and owner of Long Realty from 1952 to 1980 and son of company founder Roy H. Long, the award is presented to a Long Realty associate whose life and character have made a significant and lasting impact on the field of real estate, earned the respect and admiration of professional peers and repeatedly inspired others to excel.

Renowned for the help she gives other agents—rookies and seasoned professionals alike—Brooks founded and actively monitors Tucson REALTOR® Resource, a Facebook group exclusively for licensed Tucson REALTORS®. According to the group’s intro page, its purpose is to “discuss buyer needs, share vendor information and ‘for the good of the profession’ information.”

 It’s “a place for active real estate agents to network and promote best practices creating a strong Realtor community,” Brooks said. Group membership has grown to 2,700 agents.

Brooks earned her real estate salesperson’s license in 2008 after a career in sports marketing and management (think PGA, LPGA, Formula 1 . . .) and fundraising for nonprofits.  Sue is a 2022 member of Long Realty’s 1926 Circle of Excellence, Gold level, and a vice-president member of the company’s Executive Council.

“What a joy it is to see Jen and Sue win these honors,” said Laura Mance, president of Long Realty. “It’s hard to say who should get which award. They both give back to their community and profession wholeheartedly, they’re both dynamic leaders, and they both deserve the best because they are the best.”

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Long Realty on the move in Scottsdale

Already the leading residential real-estate company in Southern Arizona and a major presence across the entire state of Arizona, Long Realty Co. expands its footprint into the North Scottsdale market with the launch of a new franchise office, Long Realty Platinum Premier.

The independently owned and operated office is located in the commercial/entertainment district of the deluxe DC Ranch, a 4,400-acre development adjacent to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve in North Scottsdale. The address is 20645 N. Pima Road, Suite 120, in Scottsdale.

Formed by the merger of two existing offices (including an earlier Long Realty franchise office), the new brokerage hits the ground running, with some 50 agents now on board and a goal of 70 or more in  2022. Signed on as designated broker is Jay Jasper formerly with a different Scottsdale area brokerage and principal for Jay Jasper Associates, and managing broker, Thomas Noble, the former owner of one of the merged brokerages.

“Our goal is to continue to grow this new office and service the real estate needs of North Scottsdale and other Phoenix area communities”, said owner Jay Jasper. “Our focus is on a high-service, high-touch personal experience for the consumer. That is what the market expects and that is what we deliver. We do that by having the right professionals, the right focus and the right programs,” he said. “As we continue to grow we will be able expand our footprint and deliver our high-service model to even more buyers and sellers in the Phoenix area.”

His business already has agents in the East Valley, West Valley and central Phoenix, Jasper said, as well as a commercial-property division. “Don’t give me all the credit for this,” he said. “We have a great management team on board. It’s very much a group effort, and that includes the Long Realty management team, and the affiliations with HomeServices of America, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World and Luxury Portfolio International.”

“Congratulations to Jay and his awesome team,” said Ann Sullivan, Long Realty’s vice president of franchise sales and support. “We’re excited to join the North Scottsdale market. This new office is a big step. It’s also part of our plan to continue to grow as a statewide brand.”

What’s next? “We’re always looking for additional brokerage expansion opportunities,” Sullivan said.

For more information on Long Realty Platinum Premier contact Jay Jasper at Jay@JayJasper.us or 602-301-4862, for information on Long Realty franchise opportunities contact Ann Sullivan at annsullivan@longrealty.com or (520) 906-9900.

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Long Realty Cares Foundation funds van for homeless-veteran program

Life is getting a little easier for housing-insecure veterans and their families, thanks to a major grant from the Long Realty Cares Foundation. The grant was made public Jan. 12 in a check-presentation ceremony.

The $40,000 grant from the Long Realty Cares Foundation—the philanthropic arm of the Long family of companies—will be used by Esperanza En Escalante to purchase a new 15-passenger, wheelchair-accessible Ford Transit van to transport veterans to their appointments.

A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Esperanza En Escalante was launched in 1989 by the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 106 of Tucson, to provide housing and support programs—including nutrition, transportation, and employment readiness—to homeless and at-risk veterans and their families. Among its services: safe, secure transitional housing for up to two years.

“Reliable transportation is vital. This van is a lifesaver,” said Pat Beauchamp, Esperanza En Escalante’s director of operations. The new van replaces two aging vans—in service since 2008—that are “worn out, with tons of miles on them,” Beauchamp said. The van will transport program enrollees to appointments of all sorts, from medical to Social Security. Grocery shopping too, he said.

Established in 2002, the Long Realty Cares Foundation has raised more than $3.5 million to support community groups focused on education, health, community services, the arts and the environment. The foundation is funded largely by contributions from Long Companies agents and employees, as well as from the Long Companies organization itself. More than 200 nonprofits have received LRCF funding.

“We’re so grateful to be able to give back to the community, and especially to the veterans,” said Thom Melendez, LRCF board president. “This is the foundation’s 20th anniversary. We wanted to do something big, something that makes a real difference in people’s lives. I think we’ve done that.”

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Long Realty’s Central office relocates to Broadway Village

It wasn’t much of a move by Long Realty standards, but Southern Arizona’s leading residential real estate brokerage has just relocated one of its offices a bit west, into Tucson’s booming “Sunshine Mile” Broadway corridor.

The Central At Broadway Village office—previously located near the El Con Mall, with a slightly different name—is now in the historic Broadway Village, at the southwest corner of Broadway Blvd. and Country Club Road. The address is 3052 E. Broadway Blvd.  

Now in business following a mid-November soft opening, the office is slated for a grand opening in January (date to be determined).

As a satellite office, sales agents and associate brokers from Long Realty’s far-flung network of offices will use the facility on an as-needed basis, to make meetings more convenient for midtown clients. An agent will also be stationed at the office to assist walk-in clients.

One added feature of the new location: on-site retail mortgage services. Along with an office administrator, the office will be staffed by loan officers from Prosperity Home Mortgage, Long Companies’ mortgage-lending arm.

“This new location builds on our ‘everything real estate, wherever you are’ philosophy,” said Reneé Gonzales, CEO of Long Companies. “It creates a real estate resource center for the community in central Tucson. Consumers can walk in and get real estate help or help with mortgage financing, all in one convenient, accessible location.”

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Long Realty Adds Roof AI to Personalize its Website Consumer Experience.

Sunny LongRealty.com’s chat bot

A leading real estate company in Arizona aims to augment its website personalization efforts with Roof AI.

Long Realty announces the launch of Sunny, its Roof AI powered bot, to provide its customers with an individualized experience on LongRealty.com, all along their home-buying and selling journey.

“We wanted to capitalize on our digital presence by offering our clients a personalized and tailored experience right from the moment that they interact with our brand” said Kevin Kaplan, Long Realty vice president marketing and business development. “Today, our website visitors have Sunny, their own personal concierge, to guide them through their home buying and selling process, answer their questions and connect with a Long Realty team member.”

Sunny will be matching Long Realty’s website visitors with personalized recommendations and providing real-time support based on the user’s intent and profiles. This will enhance the customer experience on many fronts. It will accelerate the time-to-value for customers and help Long Realty agents close high-quality clients faster.

Sunny comes with company benefits as well. With Sunny, Long Realty aims to increase lead opportunities and generate more revenue opportunities by promoting their core services to their clients in a seamless and efficient way.

“It’s inspiring to see real estate companies like Long Realty continue their investment in digital. They understand the need to leverage data and tech to deliver personal and intelligent customer experiences to a new generation of customers that expect it” said Pierre Sabbagh, CEO at Roof AI. “We provide the intelligence layer that works in tandem with Long Realty’s tools, to deliver the best-in-class personal experiences that real estate customers have come to expect. Once you begin to provide personalized experiences at scale, your customers are more likely to convert, at higher values, and keep coming back.”

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Long Realty Cares Foundation funds respite patio for TMC staffers

In a time of unprecedented stress, Tucson Medical Center staffers now have a private space to relax, refresh and recharge—thanks to a donation from the Long Realty Cares Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Southern Arizona’s leading residential real estate company.  

The “Heal the Healers” patio was designed and built by the TMC Foundation, using a $40,000 grant from the Long foundation. In work for a year, the space repurposes an existing patio area to provide TMC doctors, nurses and other staffers with a place of respite.

Heal the Healer ribbon cutting

On hand for the Sept. 17 ribbon cutting were TMC executives and staff; the Long Realty Cares Foundation board members; and Reneé Gonzales, CEO of Long Companies.

Per a TMC Foundation statement, the patio is “a place where our health-care heroes can go to meditate, practice yoga, enjoy a peaceful lunch, or simply sit down and enjoy the ambiance. It includes a new space with artificial turf where employees can meditate and practice yoga, and lounge tables and chairs for employees to sit down and eat a meal.”

“On behalf of its many donors, the Long Realty Cares Foundation is grateful to those health-care professionals who are on the front lines of the pandemic,” said Thom Melendez, foundation board president. “This is but a small way to thank each of you for your dedication to our community.”

Established in 2002, the foundation has given more than $3.5 million, which goes to support hundreds of community groups focused on education, health, community services, the arts and the environment. The foundation is funded by Long Companies and contributions from agents and employees.

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Long Realty’s Lisa Bayless funds robotics program for area schools

Lisa Bayless

Renowned for her donation of two police dogs to the Oro Valley Police Dept., Long Realty’s Lisa Bayless shifts her philanthropy from the biological to the electromechanical with her latest gift: a $25,000-plus grant to Pima County schools to fund a pilot elementary-school robotics program.  

Bayless’ donation brings the STEMAZing/SARSEF Elementary Edison Robotics Pilot to fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms in three area school districts. The pilot program will supply more than 500 Edison educational robots, classroom sets of robotics books and supporting supplies, plus two full days of professional-development training for the participating teachers.

The orange, two-wheeled, sandwich-sized, child-friendly programmable robots are designed to introduce the principles of robotics, computer programming and engineering. And it doesn’t stop there: Lessons will cross subject-area boundaries into language arts, social studies, math and everything in between.

Participating teachers will receive a robot for each student—around 30 per class—plus one more for the teacher.

Four of the six schools are in the Amphitheater Public Schools district: Copper Creek, Donaldson and Harelson Elementary, plus Innovation Academy. Dove Mountain CSTEM K-8 is in Marana Unified; Oyama Elementary is in Tucson Unified. Twenty teachers will take part in the pilot project.

Established in 2013, the STEMAZing Project is an initiative of the Pima County School Superintendent’s Office developed to improve STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education in Southern Arizona. SARSEF is perhaps best known as the organization hosting the local science fair.

“Robots are a fun way to learn, but there’s a serious purpose behind this program,” Bayless said. “It helps students and teachers from Pima County’s suburban and inner-city schools share ideas and solve problems together, both in person and by Zoom. It brings together diverse groups of people so they can collaborate and learn from one another. It builds community.”

A native Tucsonan, Oro Valley resident and head of the Lisa Bayless Team from Long Realty’s Oro Valley office, Bayless has been a sales professional since 2007. Focusing on residential properties across greater northwest Tucson, she ranks in the top one percent of all Tucson-area agents and was 2020’s top seller, by dollar volume, of all Long Realty agents. She is active with numerous nonprofits and is a past president of the board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson.

The funding is part of Bayless’ “Community First” program, which returns to community causes at least $500 from each commission she earns. The program is on track to donate some $80,000 in 2021, Bayless said.

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Long Companies adds escrow to its suite of services

Never one to rest on its laurels, Long Companies has added escrow services to its “everything real estate” business model, creating a new entity, Agave Title Agency, to offer both escrow and title insurance services. Agave Title Agency opened for business on Sept. 7.

Staffing the new agency will be a cadre of veteran escrow officers and support staff. They join the crew of professionals already in place at Long Title Agency, whose operations—and decades-old tradition of service excellence—will continue with the new entity. 

About that “Agave” name – founded in 1926, Long Realty is nearing its centennial year. The name refers to the Agave americana, that sturdy desert denizen better known as the century plant. Long Realty launches the new agency in partnership with its parent company, HomeServices of America, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate. HomeServices of America has established title and escrow operations in other markets outside of Arizona.

Coordinating the new escrow organization is Erin Fitzgerald, Long Cos. director of core services. At the outset, Agave will be housed at the company’s main office to serve the Tucson and Southern Arizona markets. Plans are for Agave to grow incrementally into a statewide brand, serving the Phoenix metro area and other communities. The agency’s services are available to consumers and agents not affiliated with Long Realty.

With the new agency comes a fresh, local approach to corporate culture and operations. Dubbed “The Agave Title Way,” the escrow officers in each market will interact directly—and often—with sales agents on both sides of the transaction, and their clients, while a local back-office team provides administrative support.

The payoff: better communications and customer service, greater consistency in documentation, and a smoother experience for all parties. The model upgrades traditional escrow services, which rely on individual escrow officers and their individual processes, that can produce a sometimes-uneven experience.

“We are building an all-company local service experience, not an individual-office experience,” said Reneé Gonzales, Long Companies CEO and President of Agave Title Agency. “Our mission statement says it all. Our goal is to provide an exceptional real estate service experience that builds long-lasting relationships. Agave Title Agency is built from the ground up to deliver on that promise. We’ll be doing things the Agave Title way.”

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Long Companies steps up to help Community Food Bank

Understanding that “community” means much more than just houses, Long Companies is once again gearing up to host food-collection boxes inside its company-owned real estate offices across greater Tucson, including those in Green Valley, Sahuarita and Sierra Vista. Donations will help stock the larder of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.

A complete list of Long Realty offices is online at LongRealty.com. Those offices not identified as “independently owned & operated” are participating in the drive. Donation boxes will be available 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

In addition to hosting drop-off sites throughout the region, Long Companies is sponsoring all 6,000 of the “Feed the Need” boxes, to be placed at numerous public sites within the food bank’s service area. When a given box is full it will be replaced with a fresh empty one, until the supply of boxes is exhausted.

The food drive is set to run the month of August. Especially in demand are nonperishable foods labeled as low sugar, low or no sodium, or whole grain. Pre-opened items, those packaged in glass containers, and baby food—other than cereals—cannot be accepted. Most-needed items include peanut butter; canned soup, fruit, tomato products, vegetables and meats (such as tuna and chicken); oatmeal, cereal and granola bars; condiments; cereal; packaged nuts and seeds; and rice and pasta. Monetary donations are welcome too.

“We’re so happy to be part of this important effort. Nobody in our community should go hungry, and we all need to do our part to support those who are confronting food insecurity. Please donate what you can, generously and often.”

Reneé Gonzales, Long Companies CEO
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