Pairing Need with Opportunity

It’s a place where all kids, including those with disabilities, can happily play. The Discovery Playground in Lisle, a state-of-the-art facility designed to be ADA-compliant, had its ribbon-cutting ceremony this past Saturday.

And Mainstreet REALTOR® Debbie Pawlowicz was there with her family (and Mainstreet family) to celebrate.

Pawlowicz, who serves on the Mainstreet board, lives and works in Lisle. A chance meeting that she had one random day in 2019 led to the Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® contributing $15,000 toward construction of the new park.

Pawlowicz was walking out of a popular Lisle lunch spot when she ran into the local parks director, Dan Garvy, and city superintendent of operations, Lisa Leone. Pawlowicz knew about the NAR-Mainstreet Mega-Grant Program. She also knew about the city’s desire to create a new park. So Pawlowicz put two-and-two together.

“It was largely a matter of being in the right place at the right time,” said Pawlowicz. “I guess it was serendipity.”

The NAR-Mainstreet Mega-Grant Program is open only to the eight largest local associations in the U.S. It provides NAR funding and fast-track approvals for up to $75,000 a year in local grants that Mainstreet REALTORS® can use to help make their communities better.

And no local association has leveraged the program more than Mainstreet, overseeing the maximum $75,000 in grant awards to members in 2019 – the program’s first year – and already in 2020, despite the pandemic.

At the heart of Mainstreet’s program is Nadine Scodro, former REALTOR® and Mainstreet’s on-staff volunteer and advocacy coordinator.

“Nadine makes the process straight-forward and easy,” Pawlowicz said. “She helps with coordination with NAR and can advise on any paperwork that’s required by the municipality.”

Pawlowicz works with her daughter, Kristi Gorski, in their local real estate company, DPG Real Estate. They have a grandson and son, respectively, who will grow up playing in his hometown park.

“As REALTORS®, we’re closest to the community and know what the needs are,” said Pawlowicz. “That’s why the NAR-Mainstreet Mega-Grant Program is so great. It pairs needs with opportunities.”

For more information on the program, contact Nadine Scodro at