During its annual convention from November 8-11, the National Association of REALTORSÂ®Â celebrated theÂ Good Neighbor AwardsÂ 20th year of the Good Neighbor Awards program, which honors REALTORSÂ® for their achievements as volunteers who improve the lives of people in need around them.
To further commemorate the 20th year celebration, NAR doubled the grants awarded to the winners’ nonprofit organizations from $10,000 to $20,000â€”with the assistance of sponsors realtor.comÂ® and Wells Fargoâ€”an announcement which came as a surprise to both the winners and the hundreds of people attending the commemorative ceremony in San Francisco, Calif.
Nearly 70 percent of REALTORSÂ® volunteer in their communities each month, according to NAR’s Community Aid and Real Estate report. NAR’s Good Neighbor Award winners represent the most accomplished of that group, each devoting hundreds of hours a year and raising huge sums of money for their respective causes.
“We are incredibly proud of the cumulative impact that Good Neighbors have had in the U.S. and across the globe,” says NAR President Vince Malta, broker at Malta & Co., Inc., in San Francisco. “The individuals recognized this year and annually for the past two decades represent the best of America’s REALTORSÂ®â€”those who sacrifice so much time and talent so their neighbors can live better, more fulfilling lives.”
As part of the 20th year celebration, NAR and the Good Neighbors collected toiletries to benefit low-income seniors and adults with disabilities. A total of 32,000 personal care items, such as toothbrushes, shampoo and lotion, were donated and packed in holiday gift bags for 1,500 clients of the nonprofit Centro Latino de San Francisco, which was founded by 2006 Good Neighbor Award Winner Ernest “Chuck” Ayala.
Each year, five Good Neighbor Award winners and five honorable mentions are recognized. Good Neighbor stories and videos generate considerable local and national media attention, which drives additional donations, volunteers and support to each recognized nonprofit organization.
Over the past 20 years of Good Neighbor recognition:
- $1.3 million has been granted to REALTORÂ®-led nonprofits.
- More than 200 nonprofit organizations have been funded.
- Good Neighbors’ impact has been felt in 40 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries.
- More than 4,000 REALTORSÂ® have applied for NAR’s Good Neighbor Award.
The 200 Good Neighbor Award recipients since 2000 have:
- Volunteered more than 1.4 million hours
- Served more than 41 million meals to the hungry
- Sheltered more than 276,000 people in need
- Raised hundreds of millions of dollars for various types of charitable causes, including $104 million for healthcare and medical research alone
“REALTORSÂ® are more than people who sell houses and go home to their families at night. We invest in our communities, and because we work with all kinds of people we are able to identify where needs are within the neighborhoods we see every day,” says 2018 Good Neighbor Necia Freeman, Old Colony RealtorsÂ®, Huntington, W.Va., who founded Backpacks & Brown Bags to reduce the pains of poverty and opioid addiction. “The Good Neighbor Award encourages us to continue making a difference where we live and work.”
This year’s Good Neighbor Award winnersâ€”each of whom had their grants doubled from $10,000 to $20,000â€”are:
Mark Solomon, Keller Williams 1st Realty, Kansas City, Mo., and Longmont, Colo., co-founder of Veterans Community Project, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Kansas City dedicated to fighting veteran homelessness. Watch Mark’s video here.
The five REALTORSÂ® recognized as 2019 Good Neighbor Award honorable mentions and had their grants doubled to $5,000 are:
Sabrina Cohen,Â Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, Miami Beach, Fla., founder of The Sabrina Cohen Foundation
Rosemary Dutter,Â CENTURY 21 Affiliated, Beloit, Wis., founder of Dutter House, Inc.
Nora Partlow,Â Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Alexandria, Va., volunteer at Neighborhood Health
Kristy Payne,Â Keller Williams, Edmond, Okla., founder of Foster Sweet Dreams FoundationÂ
Bahar Soomekh,Â Nourmand & Associates; Beverly Hills, Calif., co-founder of Angel City Sports
Fifty current and past Good Neighbor Award honorees were in attendance at the celebration this past Saturday, including the four living 2000 Good Neighbor Award winners. Those original “Good Neighbors” are all still leading their nonprofits 20 years after being recognized by NAR. To acknowledge the ongoing impact they have had to make the world a better place, their nonprofits were awarded $2,400 grants, funded by Good Neighbor Award sponsors realtor.com and Wells Fargo.
The 2020 Good Neighbor Award entry deadline is May 8. Go to nar.realtor/gna to apply or to recommend someone who is deserving of this valuable recognition. The Good Neighbor Awards is funded by primary sponsors realtor.com and Wells Fargo Home Lending.