REALTOR® Magazine Names 2007 Good Neighbor Finalists

REALTOR® Magazine, the official publication of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, has announced the 10 finalists of its eighth annual Good Neighbor Awards.

The Good Neighbor Awards honors the ongoing volunteer efforts of REALTORS® who are making exceptional contributions to improve the quality of life in their communities. Finalists were selected based on the depth and impact of their volunteer contribution, the broadness of that impact, and their demonstrated leadership and initiative. More than 320 nominations--an all-time high--were considered this year.

The 2007 finalists of REALTOR® Magazine’s Good Neighbor Awards are:

Randall Barnett, The Buyers Agent of Asheville, Asheville, N.C.

For 26 years, Barnett has been a Boy Scout leader for a unique troop of boys with mental and physical disabilities, the only troop like it in the state. Barnett holds weekly meetings for 27 boys, teaching them typical scouting skills like knot tying, building campfires, and how to properly fold an American flag—making adjustments as necessary for each scout’s limitations. He also takes them on outings and camping trips—giving the boys confidence, a sense of belonging, and the opportunity to experience things they might not otherwise enjoy.

Tricia Carlisle-Northcutt, Stellar Properties & Investments, LLC, Grayton Beach, Fla.

Carlisle-Northcutt is the founder of Children’s Volunteer Health Network, which provides free medical, dental and mental health care to children without insurance. In only two years, CVHN has provided health care to 300 children (totaling more than 1,000 appointments) using a network of more than 80 doctors, dentists and mental health professionals, all of whom donate their services. CVHN serves low-income children in two counties where access to health care is poor; for example, in those counties, there is only one dentist who takes Medicaid patients and even he no longer takes new patients.

Virginia L. Ferry, Twelve Oaks Realty, Joliet, Ill.

For 36 years, Ferry has been dedicated to the MorningStar Mission Ministries, a homeless shelter that provides three meals a day, counseling, training and job placement to 10,000 people annually. Ferry opened the mission’s first women’s shelter in 1980, and more recently, she helped raise $4.5 million to help build a new 72-bed family recovery center. The hotel-style facility’s flexible accommodations are designed to keep homeless families together by housing a variety of underserved groups: including women with children, intact families and families with older male children.

Ted K. Gilbert, Gilbert Bros., Portland, Ore.

Gilbert is the visionary of HOST Development, an affordable housing developer that has helped more than 300 low- and moderate-income renters become homeowners since 1989. Gilbert’s innovative strategies include obtaining very low interest loans on land to help keep home costs down; partnering with banks to give very low interest mortgages to buyers; and obtaining loans from large local employers in return for providing employees with closing costs, home buying seminars, and low interest mortgages. Gilbert, chair and co-founder, is also the brains behind HOST’s new Building Blocks campaign to revitalize inner-city neighborhoods and prevent young families from leaving for the suburbs.

Pamela Kidd and Keri Cannon, Fridrich & Clark Realty, LLC, Nashville, Tenn.

Kidd and her daughter Cannon founded Village Hope—an orphanage and farm in Zimbabwe for 16 orphans whose parents have died of AIDS, which afflicts as much as 25 percent of the area’s population. The children—most of whom would be dead or living on the streets without Village Hope—now live in a family setting with loving house parents. The children go to school, and learn to care for animals and plant crops—skills they will need to become productive adults. Kidd and Cannon also fund an effort to feed and support more than 100 street children in the city of Harare.

Phil Landis, RE/MAX Ranch & Beach, San Diego, Calif.

Since 1996, Landis has led the Veterans Village of San Diego, an intensive rehab and training facility for homeless veterans of all eras. Landis, a Vietnam combat veteran, has helped build VVSD from an organization that was barely scraping by to one with a $6.2 million budget. He is credited with raising $9 million and supervising the construction of a new 112-bed facility (a second 112-bed facility is fully funded and is scheduled to open in 2008). Both are designed to meet the needs of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including those of amputees. VVSD claims an impressive 83 percent success after one year, which means the clients have had no homeless nights nor committed any crimes, and are sober, paying child support and earning income. Recently the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Jim Nicholson, called VVSD the “gold standard” and a model for veteran homeless providers nationwide.

Patrick W. Moore, Rowling Real Estate, Fort Gratiot Twp, Mich.

As co-founder of Harvest of Haiti, Moore provides medical care to desperately poor people in remote villages. Using his experience as a firefighter and former emergency room E.M.T., Moore treats patients with injuries, disease and malnutrition. When Moore realized that many of the villagers’ health issues were caused by a lack of access to clean water, he began installing and training people to maintain water filters. In six years, he has made 46 trips to Haiti, set up 475 water filters, and helped 10,000 people. Moore has brought four children to the U.S. for surgery, and even adopted a little girl who had cleft palate surgery after her mother begged him to take her. To expand its reach, Harvest of Haiti is funding medical school for two Haitians.

Carol Reza, The Real Estate Store, Whittier, Calif.

While counseling women inmates, Reza was struck by the effect their incarceration had on their children, many of whom ended up in foster care. Reza, a former foster child and foster mother herself, saw a cycle that needed to be broken. She founded Bridge of Faith to help girls who “age out” of the foster care system at age 18 with no support and nowhere to go. She repaired a large home that now houses as many as 12 girls. She serves as housemother and mentor, offering them the emotional support and encouragement to of a family and helps them obtain education and job skills. Reza also runs a thrift store that helps fund the house, trains the girls for the working world, and doubles as a drop-in counseling center.

MaliVai O. Washington, Washington Properties, LLC, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

In 1994, Washington founded the The MaliVai Washington Kids Foundation, which promotes academic achievement and positive life skills to disadvantaged children through the game of tennis. In eight years, 254 first- through sixth-grade students, have gone through the intense 5-day-a-week after-school program. The free program provides three hours daily of academic tutoring, community service work and character development, using tennis as a reward. The foundation also has touched thousands of kids through free tennis clinics.

Bert Waugh Jr., Prudential Northwest Properties, Portland, Ore.

Waugh founded Transitional Youth in 1991 to help homeless teens get off the streets. He has grown the organization from acting as a fundraiser for other local charities to a full-service agency that operates an outreach center and three group homes. With the guidance of house parents, youth in the homes learn to transition from the streets to being part of a family, where they must work or go to school. The outreach center offers shelter, meals, clothing and mentoring to 30-70 homeless young people each day.

Five Winners Receive $10,000 Grants

Five winners will be selected from among these 10 finalists and will receive travel expenses to the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Las Vegas in November, national media exposure for their community cause, and a $10,000 grant for their cause. In addition to the winners, five honorable mentions will each receive a $2,500 grant. The winners will be announced in November in REALTOR® Magazine, the official publication of the National Association of Realtors®.

“Realtors build communities, and the Good Neighbor Awards illustrate how Realtors across the country are committed to helping others through volunteering,” said NAR President Pat V. Combs, of Grand Rapids, Mich., and vice president of Coldwell Banker-AJS-Schmidt. “These people typically don’t seek the spotlight—but that’s part of the reason they deserve to be recognized. I’m proud that the Good Neighbor Awards allow NAR to honor some of the many Realtors who help support their local—and in some cases, global—communities and recognize the groups that strengthen their communities through volunteer work.”

“These finalists have made tremendous contributions to their communities,” said NAR Vice President of Publications Pamela Geurds Kabati, and who is REALTOR®Magazine’s Editorial Director. “Their stories inspire all of us. All of the more than 320 nominees—and particularly our ten finalists—exemplify the spirit of community service that is typical of Realtors.”

REALTOR Magazine’s Good Neighbor Awards is sponsored by eNeighborhoods Inc., which has supported the program since its inception. Co-sponsors are Lowe’s and LandAmerica. A contribution was also was made by Phil McGinnis, CCIM, McGinnis Commercial Real Estate, Dover, Del.

“The Good Neighbor Awards showcases the truly amazing things that Realtors are doing to make an impact on the world, neighborhood by neighborhood,” says Stu Siegel, CEO of eNeighborhoods and founding sponsor of the Awards. “What I find most interesting is how the recipients unanimously cite community service as integral to their success in real estate, despite the enormous amount of time they devote to their causes."