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The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and the Good Neighbor Society have announced the grant recipients of the 10th annual Volunteering Works program. Volunteering Works matches REALTORS® who work on newer, small-scale charitable efforts with mentors, and awards them with funding for their project. The five Volunteering Works recipients will receive a $1,000 seed grant and a year of one-on-one mentoring from a member of the Good Neighbor Society, comprised of past recipients of NAR’s annual Good Neighbor Awards for volunteer service.

The 2018 recipients of Volunteering Works grants and mentoring are:

Carl L. Carter, Jr., RE/MAX Elite, North Little Rock, Ark.
Since the tragic death of his mother, Beverly Carter, who was murdered while showing a house in the fall of 2014, Carter is determined to help make the real estate profession safer. In 2017, Carter founded the Beverly Carter Foundation, which raises safety awareness through consulting, training and support at little or no charge to MLSs, associations and brokerages. Carter will seek guidance from mentor and 2001 Good Neighbor Ron Phipps, Phipps Realty Inc., Warwick, R.I., to expand training by creating a national network of ambassadors and developing coursework for state continuing education programs.

Al Mejia, Broker, Legacy Fifteen Real Estate Brokers, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.
In 2014, Mejia and his wife founded Donovan’s SMILE after the loss of their 4-year-old son, who passed away from a rare form of brain cancer. Since then, Mejia has tried to ease the pain for children and families going through treatment through gestures of kindness like toy drives and holiday parties. Mejia aims to create a steadier source of revenue and establish art therapy and financial assistance programs. Mejia will receive guidance from mentor and 2016 Good Neighbor Susan Helsinger, Douglas Elliman Real Estate, Merrick, N.Y., about setting up a board and creating compelling fundraising events.

Jerry Pinkas, Jerry Pinkas Real Estate Experts, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Three years ago, Pinkas, his wife and a group of volunteers started the Myrtle Beach Pinball Museum, which sets up pinball machines at local charities and collects donations for local children’s autism programs. Pinkas will receive guidance from 2013 Good Neighbor Winner Tina McDonough, RE/MAX Select, Renton, Wash., on establishing a board and opening a permanent museum.

Deborah SeBour, RE/MAX New Beginnings Real Estate Co. , Baltimore, Md.
In 2016, SeBour and her son founded The Veterans Housing Organization to help veterans buy, sell or rent a home. She helps veteran families locate affordable housing, negotiates with mortgage lenders to reduce their interest rates and finds other related home purchase discounts. After the property closings, SeBour gifts them money as a thank you for their military service. SeBour will seek guidance from mentor and 2015 Good Neighbor Barbara Mills, RE/MAX Realty One, Inverness, Fla., on obtaining grants and expanding networking.

Cathy Weil, Coldwell Banker Horizons Realty, Corning, N.Y.
In the fall of 2016, Weil developed the Baby Bank to help low-income families obtain diapers, wipes and other necessities. Last year alone, Weil provided diapers for 407 babies, and she is teaching her couponing skills to others so they can help serve more families. Weil will seek guidance from her mentor and 2016 Good Neighbor Awards Honorable Mention Pam Harrison, RE/MAX Executive, Millersville, Md., on how to obtain 501(c)3 status to make it easier to fundraise and establish a website with online giving capabilities.

“This year’s recipients are true examples of committed individuals who recognize needs in their community and have the drive to make a real difference,” says NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall. “Working with Good Neighbors as mentors will create more opportunities to pursue and grow their cause for years to come, and NAR is proud to support those volunteers by offering mentoring, guidance and funding.”

The Volunteering Works recipients were selected based on their devotion to their communities through volunteer work and the potential for their good works to be expanded or improved upon with the help of an expert mentor. Their mentors are past winners of the Good Neighbor Awards, the highest honor that NAR awards to REALTORS® who are involved in community service.

The 2017 Volunteering Works mentoring recipient Vickie Lobo of RE/MAX Champions of Upland, Calif., and founder of Community Miracle Makeover, expressed that her mentee experience gave her a lot of inspiration as she built her charitable program.

“My mentee advised me on how to get my nonprofit up and running and shared insight on how I can get even more involved in my community,” said Lobo.

The 2018 Volunteering Works program was made possible thanks to Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.

“Wells Fargo is delighted to team up with NAR to recognize the volunteerism and leadership of REALTORS® who make a meaningful difference in their communities,” says Martin Sundquist, executive director of the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation. “We applaud the work of REALTORS® involved with the Volunteering Works program, because they create opportunities to accelerate the impact local nonprofits can make.”

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