REALTORS® help to build communities, often supporting causes to build and improve neighborhoods and volunteering their time to better the lives and homes of the members of these communities. Today, the National Association of REALTORS® recognized 10 REALTORS® as finalists for REALTOR® Magazine’s 2014 Good Neighbor Awards.
This year marks the 15th year the Good Neighbor Awards program has recognized REALTORS® who volunteer to serve the needs of their communities. The REALTORS® being recognized have donated time, money, and energy to address the needs of the people and neighborhoods of their communities.
In October, five winners will be selected from among the 10 finalists and will receive travel expenses to the 2014 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in New Orleans, where they will accept their awards at a presentation in front of thousands of their peers. Winners will also receive a $10,000 grant and national media exposure for their community charity. In addition, five honorable mentions will receive a $2,500 grant. The winners will be featured in the November/December issue of REALTOR® Magazine.
"REALTORS® are integral to successful communities and these 10 finalists are a perfect example of the impact their passion and goodwill can have on the lives of their friends and neighbors,” said NAR President Steve Brown, broker-owner of Irongate Inc., REALTORS®, in Dayton, Ohio. “While we celebrate the 15th year of the Good Neighbor Awards, I am proud to witness the enormous impact that the REALTORS® make, in their communities and around the world.”
The 10 REALTOR® Magazine Good Neighbor Awards finalists are:
Carlisle-Northcutt founded the Children’s Volunteer Health Network, which provides free medical, dental, vision, and mental-health care to children in need. She has recruited a network of more than 90 volunteer health providers and, in 2012, she opened a stand-alone dental clinic with full-time staff. Their signature program is a mobile dental clinic, a specially outfitted bus that travels to schools to provide kids with preventive dental care. Since it launched in 2005, CVHN has treated more than 7,000 children and provided 50,000 free procedures that would have cost $3.7 million.
Dover is president of Senior Sing A-Long, which enriches the lives of seniors in care facilities through free concerts, music therapy, and customized playlists to listen to with headsets. Dover coordinates 150 performances a month to 8,000 seniors in eight counties. She serves 67 long-term care facilities, veterans’ homes, and rehab facilities, with an emphasis on serving people with dementia or other cognitive impairments. Music, especially music from people's youth, promotes social interaction, communication, and joy, which help with the negative effects of aging.
In 2007, Doxie founded the Miles of Smiles Foundation, which offers equine-assisted therapy for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Doxie, who went back to school to earn a master's degree in mental health counseling, helps veterans work with the horses to rebuild the trust and confidence that are keys to rebuilding their lives. She recruited volunteers to build a barn and fences on a 20-acre ranch and also lectures on the importance of helping veterans and their families deal with PTSD.
Since 1981, Fitzsimmons has been a devoted volunteer for the Seamen’s Society for Children and Families, which finds foster homes for at least 300 New York City youths every year and supports them through educational programs. Fitzsimmons chairs the organization’s annual calendar fund-raiser, which has raised almost $500,000, and has secured hundreds of thousands of dollars in private funding. Every year at Christmastime, he spends $5,000 of his own money to send up to 250 foster families to Staten Island’s annual Christmas show at the St. George Theatre.
Gokey is president of The Business Training Institute, which provides educational and support services to high-risk children and families in Utica, N.Y., including new immigrants and refugees. Gokey launched a series of weekly family workshops to address such subjects as bullying, drop-out prevention, and active parenting. She oversees an after-school program for 550 students speaking 42 languages, established parent resource centers in three high schools, and recruited parent liaisons who persuaded 200 dropouts to return to school last year. She also has a barn at her home where she collects food, furniture, and clothing to distribute throughout the community.
Over the last 27 years, Locke has been president and held every other position on the board of Carolina Children’s Charity—an organization that helps families pay for medical costs arising from children's birth defects—and then some. As a founding member, Locke is at every fund-raiser, and just since last January helped raise $433,000. CCC has awarded grants totaling $3.7 million to thousands of children to help pay for a variety of medically-necessary treatments, ranging from a few dollars for a medical alert bracelet to the thousands needed annually to cover medication and supplies for uninsured children with type 1 diabetes.
Pompeian founded Gift of Life Transplant House in 1984 to give organ transplant patients an affordable place to live while awaiting a organ donation or receiving post-operative treatment at the Mayo Clinic. Pompeian became aware of the need for affordable temporary housing after his own kidney transplant in 1973. He started by letting patients stay in his own home and then began purchasing homes and apartment buildings. The facility now has 87 rooms and logs more than 50,000 guest nights per year.
Smoot and her business partner saw the need for a “food pantry for furniture,” so they decided to put their staging expertise and business acumen to work. Since creating The Green Chair Project in 2010, they have furnished 624 households for people in need and eliminated 577 tons of home furnishings from landfills. Their 25,000-square-foot showroom features stylish groupings of gently used housewares for people who are transitioning from homelessness or incarceration, escaping domestic abuse, or recovering from a fire or natural disaster.
Lauer founded Devotion to Children in 1994 to fund childcare so low-income parents can work or continue their education in order to break the cycle of poverty. She knows first-hand the challenges of being a single parent, having fled Vietnam in 1975 and come to the United States with two young children. DTC, which has helped 3,000 children since 2006, also funds preschool and other educational opportunities that are directly related to a child's future success in school.
Wilson is the founder of the Wolfson Children’s Challenge, an annual fund-raising event that supports Wolfson Children’s Hospital, the region’s only medical facility for children. The event includes a 55-mile ultramarathon and relay events, and it has raised more than $2 million in five years. These funds have helped Wolfson purchase state-of-the-art MRI equipment with groundbreaking technology that can help early diagnoses and prevent some surgeries. The Children’s Challenge has gotten so large that it is now held in the NFL stadium that is home to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
REALTOR® Magazine’s Good Neighbor Awards is sponsored by primary sponsor Liberty Mutual Insurance and realtor.com®. Nominees were judged on their personal contribution of time as well as financial and material contributions to benefit their cause. To be eligible, nominees must be NAR members in good standing.