AAMD Names 13-Year-Old Rena Brittan Person of the Month
DENVER (Aug. 31, 2020) – Rena Brittan, a 13-year-old in Denver, announced in June that, as part of her bat mitzvah project, she was going to raise funds for Coloradans who need help paying rent amid COVID-19. Rena has donated the funds raised from her bat mitzvah to the Colorado fund at the Resident Relief Foundation (RRF), a 501(c)(3), which was initiated by the Apartment Association of Metro Denver (AAMD) and the Colorado Apartment Association (CAA) to help renters during the pandemic.
“We are honored that someone would take the initiative to secure donations for Coloradans who need help paying rent, but the fact that a 13-year old gave up her birthday gifts so that others could stay in their homes was especially moving,” said Mark Williams, executive vice president of the Colorado Apartment Association. “To continue supporting Rena and the tremendous work that she is doing for the rental community, the Apartment Association of Metro Denver is recognizing Rena as the August Person of the Month and matching $5,000 in donations to Resident Relief Foundation.”
Each month, AAMD recognizes an AAMD member or community member for their involvement in the association and commitment to the industry. Each person of the month can name a charity for AAMD to donate $500 under their name.
“Rena more than deserves the award for August,” said Williams.
Rena’s mother, Dana Brittan, explained that Rena started the GoFundMe as part of her bat mitzvah project.
“A bat mitzvah is the ceremony to recognize becoming an adult, so the Jewish community wants to see the child exhibit a sense of community engagement. Due to COVID-19, we were limited in what our community project could be since we could not do a community engagement project that involved in-person contact.”
Rena had been studying child labor laws and poverty in school and was struck by how COVID-19 would further complicate the issues related to job loss and poverty and wanted to help people who had been affected.
“As part of my bat mitzvah, I read in Hebrew from the Torah Scroll,” said Rena. “To summarize my reading, it said, ‘When you are more fortunate than others, instead of thinking about your own problems, open your hands and help those who are less fortunate.’”
This reading is also what helped Rena make the decision to partner with RRF, a 501(c)(3) to help people pay rent.
“For my mitzvah project, I wanted to partner with a foundation that supported people who had job losses because of COVID-19 and help pay rent,” said Rena.
RRF, a 501(c)(3), has been working with AAMD and CAA on the fund specific for Coloradans.
“We are honored that Rena and her family decided to partner with Resident Relief Foundation, especially for such a special milestone in her life,” said Tina Oswald, executive director of RRF. “So many families across the United States are struggling to pay their rent, and we are grateful for people like Rena who are stepping up to contribute and help our efforts to raise much-needed funds to bring Colorado renters the relief they so desperately need.”
Rena initially set a goal of $3,600 when she launched the GoFundMe page in June. Currently, the page has $10,624 in donations from more than 80 donors.
"Rena's efforts continue to exemplify an excellent leader, who is pulling together to help support our community during this pandemic,” said Williams. “She has set an excellent example for Coloradans and we are excited to name her Person of the Month.”
AAMD honored Rena with an AAMD plaque, a check for RRF, a pair of Vans shoes, and a donation to Rena’s college fund.
To make a donation to Rena’s mitzvah project, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/rena039s-bat-mitzvah-service-project. Of donations collected through the GoFundMe, 100% will be sent to the Resident Relief Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a dedicated fund to help Coloradans in need of paying rent.
About the Apartment Association of Metro Denver
The Apartment Association of Metro Denver is among the largest multi-family housing trade associations in the country, representing and supporting over 336,000 apartment homes in Denver.