REALTOR® MAGAZINE Announces 2004 Good Neighbor Awards Finalists

WASHINGTON – REALTOR® Magazine, the official publication of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, has announced the names of the 10 Good Neighbor Awards finalists for 2004.

The Good Neighbor Awards, in its fifth year, recognizes the ongoing efforts of REALTORS® who make exceptional contributions to improving the quality of life in their communities. There were nearly 300 entries.

Five winners will be selected from among these 10 finalists and will be announced in the November issue of REALTOR® Magazine. The winners will receive travel expenses to the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Orlando in November, national media exposure for their community cause, and a $7,500 grant for their cause. In addition to the winners, five honorable mentions will each receive a $1,500 grant.

NAR President Walt McDonald said the Good Neighbor Awards gives NAR the opportunity to honor some of the many REALTORS® who give of themselves to improve the quality of life in their communities. “REALTORS® care about our communities and have a vested interest in building healthy communities. The accomplishments of these ten finalists are an inspiration to the one million real estate professionals who are members of NAR, and we are proud that they can be recognized as models to all Americans of what each person can do to improve our communities one deed at a time,” said McDonald, broker-owner of Walt McDonald Real Estate, Riverside, Calif.

The following 10 REALTORS® were named finalists in the Good Neighbor program:

Linda Asbee, Century 21 Sparow-Shoreline, Long Beach, Calif. Asbee, a volunteer for For the Child’s Child Abuse Response Team, is paged when a child is sent to the hospital after suspected sexual abuse. Asbee reports to area hospitals on nights and weekends to be the child's advocate, explain the forensic exam, and give the child a teddy bear to hold. She reports on details of the meeting for the social workers who will follow up with the child, and many times, learns valuable information that she provides to the police. If the child’s family is there, Asbee provides information on counseling and court advocacy services. Last year, during one six-day period, she answered calls for nine children.

Thomas E. Bush, Coldwell Banker Triad, REALTORS®, Commercial Division, Winston-Salem, N.C. Bush has been a powerful advocate for child abuse prevention since 1979 when he helped bring the first of nine Stop Child Abuse Now centers to North Carolina. The largest private provider of child abuse prevention and treatment programs in the state, SCAN now serves 10,000 clients a year. Through the Exchange Club Child Abuse Prevention Center of N.C., Bush has helped raise more than $3 million and recruited 10 of the 32 current board members. When he got married in 2000, he and his fiancé—also a SCAN volunteer—registered for gifts at Toys R Us to provide Christmas presents for the children.

Robin Elizabeth Croft, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Warwick, R.I. Croft founded The John T. Croft Recovery House to provide transitional housing facility for women who are recovering from alcohol and drug addiction. The house, which she bought, renovated and furnished with her own money, shelters 10 women at a time—a total of 125 since 2003. Croft provides food, clothing, and personal hygiene products. When a woman is ready to move forward, Croft helps her get her GED or other training, and helps her find a job, an apartment, and donated furniture. The residents’ success rate is more than double the national average.

Melissa P. Deputy, Prudential New Jersey Properties, Flemington, N.J. In less than four years, Deputy has been a foster parent to 21 children including seven newborns (six were cocaine exposed) and nine emergency placements. Deputy is also the former president and current co-chair of Hunterdon County Adoptive Families, where she recruits and trains new foster parents, guides them through the system, and helps them locate equipment like cribs, car seats, and strollers. Deputy also raises funds for the Fostering Wishes program—which pays for small extras the foster parents can’t afford—such as soccer fees, a yearbook, or music lessons.

Leslie Edwards, RE/MAX Advantage, Fayetteville, Ga. Edwards is the driving force behind Southern Crescent Habitat for Humanity, which has built 46 houses during her nine years of service. Using her real estate skills, she helped the organization buy 27 building sites by selling off unbuildable parcels that had been donated over the years. As a result of her leadership, Southern Crescent Habitat for Humanity has grown from building four houses per year to 12 in 2004, and moved from a one-room office in a local church to its own free-standing facility, which Edwards won at an auction by standing on the courthouse steps and shaming others into not bidding against her.

Robert F. Kevane, The Kevane Co. Inc., La Mesa, Calif. Kevane is a successful businessman who uses his business skills to help charitable organizations be the best they can be. He’s a force in his community, active in dozens of volunteer organizations, including the Boys & Girls Club of East County for which he helped sell 1,100 acres for $3.5 million and convinced the board to move forward with aggressive expansion plans. He is also credited with saving the private, community-run San Diego Blood Bank from bankruptcy by replacing the executive director, who had traditionally been a physician, with a business-savvy leader. Kevane also raised $2 million for St. Augustine, the only private, all-boys Catholic high school in San Diego—a school with a rich ethnic and racial mix—and convinced its Board of Trustees to undertake very ambitious renovation and fundraising goals. In addition, Kevane is a formidable voice in helping to solve the ever-growing affordable housing crisis in San Diego. He is an appointee to the city’s Affordable Housing Task Force and works with many other housing groups as well.

Ned C. Li, H & I Real Estate, Rockville, Md. Li is a founder and current president of Chinese Culture & Community Service Center, which he has been leading for 22 years. With 2,000 members, CCACC has grown into a major culture, education, health, and community service organization, especially for low-income residents. He has managed the sports program since 1982 and established a runners club, a photo club, and a language program for non-Chinese speaking parents of children adopted from China. He has also emphasized the volunteer spirit within the organization. With 350 volunteers, CCACC is one of the largest volunteer organizations in Montgomery County, performing community service projects such as sponsoring meals for the homeless and health clinics for the uninsured.

Thomas Maloney, Liberty Pierre Joseph Realty Inc., Pittsfield, Mass. Maloney has volunteered for American Red Cross, Berkshire County Chapter, for 10 years, eight of those as chair of the Disaster Action Team, for which he responds to fires, search and rescue missions, and natural disasters such as floods and tornadoes. In the moments after a disaster, Maloney arranges emergency shelter, clothing, food, and basic necessities for victims. He then coordinates follow-up assistance from agencies that provide longer-range support. A former full-time firefighter, Maloney used his strong ties with the fire department to ensure the DAT is called immediately in crisis situations. As chair, he recruits and trains team members and travels throughout the county to negotiate contracts from vendors and shelter providers. He has personally responded to hundreds of calls, most of them in the middle of the night.

Sandra B. Martin, RE/MAX Executives Inc., Atlanta, Ga. Martin founded The Lifekeeper Foundation as a way of handling the grief of losing her only child to suicide when he was 17. Her mission is to educate people that depression is treatable, teach them how to recognize early warning signs, and to stop suicide—which is the third leading cause of death in America for youths aged 15 to 24—from being a source of shame. The organization provides suicide awareness, education, and prevention programs through art forms such as poetry, jewelry, and the national memory quilts, which are in 47 states. Martin has testified before Congress to raise awareness for suicide prevention and aftercare and is also the president of the Suicide Prevention Action Network.

Diane Mintz, Marvin Gardens Real Estate, Berkeley, Calif. Mintz had planned to spend an hour a week as a tutor in nearby Richmond, Calif., where half of the children live in poverty. But as she got to know the children and learned how few had ever been outside the neighborhood, much less to the theater or a museum, she knew she had to do something. She started by planning field trips and raised money to send 10 of the neediest kids to sleepover camp in the summer of 1999. This summer, her program, Youth Enrichment Strategies, sent 365 kids to camp. To deal with behavior issues she encountered with some children, she also devised weekend family camp to teach camping skills as well as leadership and conflict resolution skills to the children and their entire families.

“These finalists for REALTOR® Magazine’s 2004 Good Neighbor Awards have made tremendous contributions to their communities,” said NAR Vice President Pamela Geurds Kabati, who is REALTOR® Magazine’s Editorial Director. "They’re an inspiration to all of us. All our outstanding nominees—and particularly our finalists—exemplify the spirit of community involvement that is typical of REALTORS® and demonstrate how invested REALTORS® are in the health of their communities. We’re proud that the Good Neighbor Awards help show the world the positive difference REALTORS® make in the places they call home.”

REALTOR® Magazine’s Good Neighbor Awards is sponsored by eNeighborhoods Inc.—which has supported the program since its inception—Fannie Mae and Pulte Homes Inc.

“As founding sponsor of the Good Neighbor Awards, I get energized by what REALTORS® are accomplishing at the grassroots level to help their communities,” says Stu Siegel, CEO of eNeighborhoods Inc., who also personally contributes to the program through his family’s charitable foundation. “What I find most incredible about Good Neighbor recipients are the amount of personal time they devote to their projects and how they unanimously feel that they would be less successful without integrating community service into their day-to-day businesses. These people are truly role models for all REALTORS®.”

Nominees were judged on their level of personal contribution of time, as well as financial and material contributions to benefit their cause. To be eligible, nominees had to be members in good standing of NAR.