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Toni Pomeroy, left, and Jackie Sellers react while volunteering as bartenders on behalf of the Carroll County Association of Realtors Foundation at Maggie's in Westminster Thursday, Sept. 18.
Toni Pomeroy, left, and Jackie Sellers react while volunteering as bartenders on behalf of the Carroll County Association of Realtors Foundation at Maggie's in Westminster Thursday, Sept. 18. (DAVE MUNCHSTAFF PHOTO, Baltimore Sun Media Group)

"Realtors are fun" was the theme of the most recent fundraising event for the Carroll County Association of Realtors Foundation, a charity bartending competition held at Maggie's in Westminster.

"It's a fairly successful, easy no-brainer," said Jenny Koontz, chairwoman of the foundation's board. "People love to drink."

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The Battle of the Bartenders event, held Thursday, consisted of four shifts of guest bartenders, in pairs or groups, who each took one hour to sell shots and accept tips for work behind the bar, according to Tamar Osterman, executive director of the CCARF.

All guest bartenders were either on the board of trustees for the foundation or were friends or relatives of a board member, Koontz said.

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The bartenders were encouraged to invite friends and family to buy drinks during their shift to help them raise more money than their fellow bartenders.

"A little competition makes everything more fun," Koontz said.

Board members Jackie Sellers, Toni Pomeroy and Denise Merson were slated to face off against one another during the course of the evening and were looking forward to having fun and raising funds.

"We know we're going to raise the most money," Merson said.

Sellers said she doesn't consider volunteering for the event a commitment but rather a simple way to help out.

"It's nice to give back to a community that supports us," she said.

Janice Kirkner, vice chairwoman of the foundation, said she was impressed with the turnout and the generosity of attendees at Thursday's event.

"They might not want the shots, but they're willing to donate," she said.

Brett Kanther, a teacher at East Middle School in Westminster, said he was asked to volunteer by his mother-in-law, Kirkner.

"It was fun," he said. "It was a lot harder than I thought it would be."

Sherry Kalish was a last-minute volunteer to tend bar after someone couldn't make it. She said she volunteered when she heard that a substitute was needed about five minutes before she started slinging drinks.

"I think it went well," Kalish said.

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A native of the county, Kalish said that she serves on a committee with the foundation to assist with planning events.

"I'm from Carroll County," she said. "I love to give back to the community where I grew up."

All of the proceeds will go toward funding the foundation's grants to local charities with a portion of Maggie's profits from the night also being contributed, Osterman said.

The foundation was established recently as a separate entity from the Carroll County Association of Realtors, Osterman said.

After realizing that their county chapter was donating more money than some of the larger ones in the state, Koontz said it was time to restructure and spin off the foundation as its own organization.

"As a whole, our organization gives back over one million dollars and puts in tens of thousands of man-hours," she said.

Osterman said, "The philanthropic presence of our members is enormous."

The foundation accepts applications for funding on a rolling basis, Koontz said, and applications are reviewed each month at meetings of the board of trustees.

"We have the resources and we have the ability to look and say, 'This organization really needs this, this year,'" she said.

Funding is dispersed throughout the year to organizations such as Carroll County Habitat for Humanity, Access Carroll and even a local resident's Eagle Scout project, Osterman said.

Funding is given for program and project initiatives, not operating costs, Osterman said, and the foundation receives reports about how the money is spent.

"We want accountability," she said.

Sellers said another goal of the foundation is to partner with a large business to grow the foundation and expand its goals.

Kirkner said that since the foundation became its own entity in 2012, members have been able to focus their efforts more on helping local organizations.

"It's a learning curve, and we're kind of still finding our way, but we have a lot of great ideas and we're moving forward," she said.

Kirkner was an original member of the foundation in 2005 and was recently chosen to be the president of the Maryland Association of Realtors.

With Carroll County's 600 members raising more money and donating more time than some counties with almost twice as many members, Kirkner said it's wonderful to be able to represent Carroll in the statewide organization.

Reach staff writer Heather Cobun at 410-857-7898 or email heather.cobun@carrollcountytimes.com.

More information

Charitable organizations as defined under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code located within Carroll County and nearby portions of surrounding counties can file grant applications with the Carroll County Association of Realtors Foundation.

Applications can be found online at ccarf.org.

Applications should be mailed to Carroll County Association of Realtors Foundation, 908 Washington Road, Westminster, MD 21157.

To contact the foundation, email info@ccarf.org or call 410-876-3530.

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