REALTORS® step up. They’re problem solvers. They’re stop-talking-about-it-and-start-doing-it types. And each year, the National Association of REALTORS® Good Neighbor Awards spotlights great exemplars of that can-do spirit, whether their goal is alleviating homelessness, bringing clean water to parched villages, alleviating chronic hunger, or giving a leg up or moments of joy to others in need.
Through the Good Neighbor Awards, we recognize and support the works of 10 honorees each year, five winners and five honorable mentions. Here are the stories of our five honorable mentions, who will each receive $2,500 grants for their charities.
- Annette Evans Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New Jersey Properties, Livingston, N.J. Evans has spent 30 years as a volunteer board member at JESPY House, a nonprofit advancing independence for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She has taken on multiple roles, including helping parents prepare for their adult children to age in place.
- Necia T. Freeman, ABR, CRS Old Colony, REALTORS®, of Huntington, Barboursville, W.V. Freeman founded Backpacks & Brown Bags to feed children who do not reliably have food on the weekends and to help opioid-addicted women, some of whom are these children’s mothers, find a path to recovery.
- Richard L. Harris, CCIM, Richard Harris & Associates Inc., Palm Harbor, Fla. Harris is volunteer president of The Arc Tampa Bay, which empowers people of all ages with intellectual and developmental disabilities. His business expertise helped the nonprofit reduce costs, increase revenue, and obtain grants to extend its reach.
- Michael LaFargue Coldwell Banker Residential, Chicago LaFargue is a powerhouse in multiple nonprofits supporting Chicago neighborhoods. He championed the installation of community security cameras, which led to arrests in the murder of a local judge. He also heads a community-based coalition that seeks to ensure that a 5-mile train route expansion benefits underserved areas.
- Jack Persin Baird & Warner, Naperville, Ill. Persin co-founded Naperville Responds for Veterans, a nonprofit that helps low- and moderate-income veterans remain in their home as they age. The organization has helped nearly 200 veterans, making crucial home repairs and adding retrofits like wheelchair ramps.