After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the National Association of Realtors raised about $7 million for victims’ family members to help them make their rent and mortgage payments. Riverdale realtor and longtime community activist Ellen Feld and a colleague volunteered to deliver checks to 25 different households in New York City. Ms. Feld found herself not only helping the families financially, but emotionally as well.
“It was a mixture of them being very happy to see us, but it also turned into a very personal condolence call,” she said. “It was bittersweet at best.”
“I would leave after a meeting with husbands and wives and parents and just drive a couple of blocks, pull over and cry my eyes out,” Ms. Feld continued. “It was really difficult and incredibly rewarding.”
Throughout her career, Ms. Feld has pursued both business and public service — not to mention a heavy dose of local politics. Last week, the Bronx-Manhattan North Association of Realtors, the local chapter of the National Association of Realtors, named her the group’s realtor of the year for her efforts.
Ms. Feld, an associate realtor for Exclusive Properties Sotheby International Realty and president of the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club, said service has always been a priority for her.
“I do feel it’s about making a difference in life,” she said. “That’s what drives me to do all these different things that I think make a real difference and a real contribution to people’s lives.”
Ms. Feld, who specializes in houses along with apartments, co-ops and condominiums in Riverdale, said real estate “uses both sides of the brain.” She pointed to clients who call her to make a deal after their first child is born who both feel emotional and have to be practical.
“On the one side it has to make financial sense and be reasonable,” the realtor said. “On the other side, you have to fall in love” with the new home.