This year marks an important milestone: the 20th year of the National Association of REALTORSĀ®’ (NAR) Good Neighbor Awards, which honor REALTORĀ® achievement, not in sales, but for making an extraordinary impact through volunteer work.
In fact, nearly 70 percent of REALTORSĀ® volunteer in their community each month, according to the National Association of REALTORSĀ® Community Aid and Real Estate 2018 report. The Good Neighbor Award winners represent the most dedicated of that group, each devoting hundreds of hours a year and raising huge sums for their causes.
NAR 2019 President John Smaby, a second-generation REALTORĀ® from Edina, Minn., and broker at Edina Realty, lauds the Good Neighbor program’s importance to the real estate profession.
“We are incredibly proud of the combined impact that the Good Neighbors have made in the U.S. and across the globe for two decades,” says Smaby. “They are a small portion of the ‘army’ of REALTORSĀ® who give their time and talent in virtually every American town and city to help people have a better quality of life.”
Each year, five Good Neighbor Award winners each receive $10,000 grants for their nonprofit, and five honorable mentions each receive $2,500. Good Neighbor stories and videos generate considerable local and national media attention, which benefits the cause with additional donations, volunteers and support.
“Without the Good Neighbor Award, we would still be packing boxes from our homeāif we had been able to continue at all,” says 2010 Good Neighbor Award winner Wendy Rocca, a broker with Keller Williams in Newton, Mass., and founder of Operation American Soldier, which has shipped 35,000 care packages to American troops who are deployed overseas. “The award helped us secure a location and receive donations from REALTORSĀ® and lenders around the country. The U.S. military recognized us as ‘legitimate’ because NAR had already vetted our work. NAR’s Good Neighbor Award was the catalyst for everything we have accomplished.”
In 20 years:
- $1.3 million has been granted to REALTORĀ®-led nonprofits.
- 200+ nonprofit organizations have been funded.
- Good Neighbors’ impact has been felt in 40 states, Puerto Rico and 15 countries around the world.
- Combined, Good Neighbors have raised hundreds of millions of dollars to help people in need and volunteer more than 60,000 volunteer hours each year.
- More than 4,000 REALTORSĀ® have applied for NAR’s Good Neighbor Award.
In addition, an increasing number of state and local REALTORĀ® Associations recognize their own winners.
When the 2019 honorees are named, 200 REALTORSĀ® will have received the award.
By highlighting Good Neighbor stories, NAR reminds members and the public how REALTORSĀ® make a positive difference every day, says 2013 Good Neighbor Award winner Kristina Rhodes of F.C. Tucker Emge REALTORSĀ® in Evansville, Ind. She founded a chapter of Make-A-Wish and chairs the Good Neighbor Society networking group.
“The Good Neighbor Awards elevate our profession,” says Rhodes. “Serving is at the core of what we do as REALTORSĀ®. We serve the consumer, the client and our communities. It’s who we are.”
The Good Neighbor Awards is funded by primary sponsor realtor.comĀ® and Wells Fargo Home Lending.
Apply for the 2019 Good Neighbor Awards
Go to nar.realtor/gna and click “Nominate” for more information and the entry form. Ten finalists will be announced in August and the public is invited to vote for their Web Choice Favorite. Web Choice winners receive bonus grant money. In 2019, the five Good Neighbor Award winners will be honored in San Francisco during NAR’s annual REALTORSĀ® Conference & Expo in November. The entry deadline is May 10.