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RISMEDIA, March 1, 2007-The National Association of Realtors(R), underscoring its mission to make homeownership viable for all Americans, made a $1 million contribution to the Washington, D.C. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation. The presentation, made at the U.S. Capitol yesterday, emphasized the conclusion of Black History Month. Pat Vredevoogd Combs, NAR president, was joined at the check presentation ceremony on Capitol Hill by Congressmen James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and John Lewis (D-Ga.), as well as Harry E. Johnson, Sr., president of the MLK National Memorial Foundation.

"NAR is an outspoken advocate for fair housing, an ally in the fight against predatory lending practices, and an organization that prides itself on building communities," said Combs. "We are proud to be a part of the effort to build a permanent home to honor Dr. King on our National Mall."

NAR led industry efforts in 1988 to get important amendments made to enhance fair housing laws in the Fair Housing Act. In addition, NAR expanded and implemented fair housing education requirements for its members and has continued to educate Realtors(R) on the importance of inclusive housing practices and the promotion of minority homeownership through a unique training program, At Home with Diversity.

To further remove barriers to minority homeownership and focus public attention on this vital issue, NAR, along with a group of minority real estate organizations, implemented the HOPE (Homeownership Participation for Everyone) Awards to recognize outstanding projects and programs that increase minority homeownership, revitalize communities and expand affordable housing opportunities. "We see our contribution to Dr. King's memorial as a natural extension of our ongoing efforts and commitment,"said Combs.

"I am proud that the National Association of Realtors has joined our family of major donors which are making history by building a lasting memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr. on the National Mall in Washington," said Harry E. Johnson, Sr., president and CEO of the foundation. "Having the financial commitment from the Realtors(R) is very important to our efforts, but having their every day commitment to enable people to live their dream is crucial. We thank NAR for the contribution and their commitment," said Johnson.

Combs thanked the members of Congress for being at the forefront of ensuring equality and fairness in housing. "We are honored to be here today and to have these three distinguished, important members of Congress here with us as we make this contribution on behalf of the NAR members who try every day to live and work by many of Dr. King's guiding principles. Each of these gentlemen has a long history and a strong record of fighting for equality and fairness in housing and in every day life," said Combs.

For more information about the foundation, call Rica Orszag, 202-253-8974, or visit