The National Association of REALTORSÂ® (NAR)Â celebrates an exciting milestone this year: the 20thÂ year of the Good Neighbor Awards. For two decades, this award has recognized REALTORSÂ®Â who make an exceptional impact as volunteers in their communities.
“For the past 20 years the Good NeighborÂ AwardsÂ have showcasedÂ extraordinary stories ofÂ REALTORÂ® generosity and service.Â Good Neighbors reveal the heart of the real estate professionâ€”a spirit ofÂ serviceÂ andÂ volunteerismÂ thatÂ buildsÂ the communities we live and work in,” saysÂ Victoria Gillespie, NAR’s chief marketing and communications officer. “EveryÂ month,Â nearlyÂ 70Â percent of REALTORSÂ® volunteerÂ inÂ their communities and that makes an enormous impact. I am looking forward toÂ sharingÂ the stories of this year’s recipients of the Good NeighborÂ Award.”
Each year, five Good Neighbor Award winners receiveÂ $10,000Â grants for their nonprofit, and five honorable mentions receiveÂ $2,500. Good Neighbor stories and videos generate considerable local and national media attention, which benefits the cause with additional donations, volunteers and support.
“We are incredibly proud of the cumulative impact that Good Neighbors have made in the U.S. and across the globe for two decades,” says NAR PresidentÂ John Smaby, a second-generation REALTORÂ®Â fromÂ Edina, Minn.,Â and broker at Edina Realty. “They are a small portion of the ‘army’ of REALTORSÂ®Â who give their time and talent in virtually every American town and city to help people have a better quality of life.”
“Without the Good Neighbor Award, we would still be packing boxes from our home,” says 2010 Good Neighbor Award Winner Wendy Rocca, broker with Keller Williams,Â Newton, Mass., and founder of Operation American Soldier, which has shipped 35,000 care packages to American troops deployed overseas. “The award helped us secure a location and receive donations from REALTORSÂ® and lenders around the country. NAR’s Good Neighbor Award was the catalyst for everything we have accomplished.”
In 20 years of the Good Neighbor Awards program:
- $1.3 millionÂ has been granted to REALTORÂ®-led nonprofits.
- 200+ nonprofit organizations have been funded.
- Good Neighbors’ impact has been felt in 40 U.S. states,Â Puerto RicoÂ and 15 other countries around the world.
- Good Neighbors have raised hundreds of millions of dollars to help people in need and volunteer more than 60,000 hours each year.
- More than 4,000 REALTORSÂ®Â have applied for NAR’s Good Neighbor Award.
- When the 2019 honorees are named in August, 200 REALTORSÂ®Â will have received the award. That number does not include the growing number of state and local REALTORÂ®Â associations that now recognize their own Good Neighbors every year as well.
Good Neighbor winners are outstanding volunteers by any measure. On average, they have led a nonprofit for more than a decade and have either founded a charitable organization to respond to a need or have made an exceptional impact as the leader of an existing nonprofit. Good Neighbor stories often capture national attention, appearing in such prominent media as CNN Heroes, 60 Minutes, NBC Making a Difference, People magazine, The Washington Post and Fortune.
“We are more than REALTORSÂ®Â who simply sell houses and then go home. We invest in our communities, and because we work with all kinds of people we are at an advantage to see where the needs are,” says 2018 Good Neighbor Necia Freeman, Old Colony RealtorsÂ®,Â Huntington, W.V., who founded Backpacks & Brown Bags to reduce the pains of poverty and opioid addiction. “The Good Neighbor Award encourages us to continue to make a difference where we live and work.”
The 2019 Good Neighbor Award Call for Entries is open now. Ten finalists will be announced in August and the public is invited to vote for their Web Choice Favorite, the winners of which will receive bonus grant money. In 2019, the five Good Neighbor Award winners will be honored inÂ San Francisco, California, during NAR’s annual REALTORSÂ® Conference & Expo. The entry deadline isÂ May 10. Go to nar.realtor/gna and click “Nominate” for more information and the entry form.
The Good Neighbor Awards is funded by primary sponsor realtor.comÂ® and Wells Fargo Home Lending.