About the Carmel Residents Association

Established in 1987, the Carmel Residents Association is a civic, service, social and, when necessary, a political organization whose members are determined to keep Carmel-by-the-Sea a good place in which to live, work or visit. The CRA is a non-profit 501(c)(4) Public Benefit Corporation incorporated according to the laws of the State of California.

CRA follows a long tradition of other volunteer organizations that, for 75 years, have taken the lead in protecting our community against over commercialization. A large hotel planned for Carmel beach, for example, which would kill the proverbial golden goose. We believe, as our City Charter says, that Carmel “... is primarily, essentially and predominately a residential community.”

MEMBERSHIP

With over 700 members, the CRA is the largest residents organization in Carmel. Any resident or homeowner living in Carmel or its sphere of influence who believes it is important to preserve our quality of life is welcome to join. Yes, this includes those that rent and those living in Carmel Valley, the Highlands and Pacific Grove. We also welcome local business owners. 

The CRA membership mirrors the demographic makeup of Carmel. Historically, most tend to be retired. However, we have noticed lately there are more young professionals and even families with young children joining. The membership runs the gamut—old time and newer Carmel residents, retired professors, professionals, artists, authors, corporate executives, newspaper people, former college presidents, retired military officers, a retired museum director, a retired veterinarian and everything in between. They are positive, intelligent individuals who want to use and share the abilities gained throughout their lives and to give something back to this community which they love so much.

CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY

CRA meetings are open to the public and feature speakers of local interest as well as panel discussions on important issues. CRA members give generously of their time and talent and are represented on the City Council and every City Commission.

Our members regularly attend City Council, Planning, Historic Resources, Forest and Beach and Community Activity Commission meetings and often speak out on issues of significance to residents. The CRA sponsors impartial, public candidates’ forums in conjunction with local elections wherein residents have the opportunity to hear and question candidates for city and county offices.

SERVICE TO THE CITY

The CRA has an organization called Lovers of Carmel Beach which supervises a very successful volunteer beach cleanup program to maintain the pristine Carmel beach and the beach walkway.

In conjunction with its volunteer efforts, the CRA has made significant financial contributions to the city and its departments and other worthwhile causes in the Village.

Our members often extend the first hand of friendship to visitors entering Carmel, setting the tone for their visit. They are the ones out walking on the street, often with their dogs, who stop to answer the typical question such as “Where is the beach?”, “Where is the Hog’s Breath?”, “How can I get to the Mission?” and “What restaurant would you recommend?”.

EDUCTIONAL PROGRAMS AND FORUMS

Throughout the year, the CRA sponsors educational programs that cover subjects important to the Village. This includes subjects related to our history, environmental issues, or speakers who have made a big impact on our community. They can take for form of individual speakers or a panel discussion. We also sponsor candidate forums during election years and partner with other groups in the Village to hold town halls on important and timely issues. Most of the programs are held in Carpenter Hall at Sunset Center.

SOCIAL ACTIVITIES

Throughout the year, the CRA hosts “Dines Out!” events which feature local restaurants. In addition, a new Breakers format gatherings are held at member’s home and features singing the abalone song while pounding abalone and reading poetry or recounting stories of old Carmel. To top it off, with the roll-out of our new Village Engagement System, the CRA will be offering numerous other social opportunities for smaller groups of members including Happy Hours, morning coffee and pop-up lunches and dinners.

Every other February, all Carmel organizations and individuals are invited to nominate a Carmel resident, not necessarily a CRA member, to be given the “Citizen of the Year Award.” A selection committee carefully screens the many nominations. The winner is announced at the Citizen of the Year Celebration held at the Women’s Club, where a bountiful buffet is provided. In the summer, the CRA holds an event, now called the Feast in the Forest, at the Indian Village in Pebble Beach and a splendid Christmas dinner is held annually at the beautifully decorated La Playa Hotel.

COMMUNICATION

The CRA publishes a bi-monthly printed newsletter called The Voice which contains a variety of interesting articles covering subjects of interest to our members. We also maintain a full featured website which is now dedicated to improving community engagement. In addition to automating the membership on-boarding and renewing process, it also provides an Event Calendar which includes scheduled activities from all organizations in the City, Forums that allow passionate members to share information and collect responses from other members and manages targeted communications. 

The CRA is a fiscally responsible and highly efficient organization. All of our activities are supported by unpaid volunteers who are dedicated to growing the CRA, adding additional member benefits and encouraging others to volunteer to help our community.

SUPPORT OF LOCAL BUSINESS

Working with local businesses, the CRA has created a locals discount program called the Village Incentive Program or VIP. Over 50 businesses enthusiastically provide great offers to our members that present our unique VIP card hoping to develop repeat customers.

The CRA also has a Certificate of Appreciation program wherein special recognition is given to local businesses judged to have done an outstanding job of “making Carmel a better place to live and preserving and protecting the special qualities of our unique village in a forest.”