Your story as a REALTOR® must be told to solidify the legacy of the real estate community for generations to come, National Association of REALTORS® President John Smaby said Saturday at the General Session during the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Francisco. Recounting his tenure, Smaby said no other profession in the world is as closely tied to the well-being of communities as real estate.
“Today, there are too many shouters and screamers, and not enough thinkers, dreamers, and doers,” he said. Those who fall into the latter category, including REALTORS®, “have the most important stories to tell.”
Noting the 20-year milestone for NAR’s Good Neighbor Awards, which honors REALTORS® who lead extraordinary charitable efforts in their communities, Smaby said what’s special about real estate professionals is that “we understand that if we invest our time, resources, and hearts in our communities, it all gives us a better place to call home.”
With five new Good Neighbors named this year, the program has honored 200 recipients over its history who have collectively raised hundreds of millions of dollars for various charities and logged more than 1 million volunteer hours. This year’s winners were feted at the General Session, and each received a special surprise in recognition of the program’s 20th year: a $20,000 grant for their charities—double the typical $10,000 prize. Five honorable mentions also each received a $5,000 grant, double the usual $2,500.
Smaby also noted that the REALTORS® Relief Foundation, which provides emergency funding to victims of natural disasters, has dispersed $32 million in aid since its founding in 2001 after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York. RRF funds have helped more than 13,000 families nationwide, Smaby said. One hundred percent of donations to RRF are passed on to victims.
“I’ve crisscrossed this country to hear your stories, and it’s your generosity and kindness that has motivated me,” Smaby said. “I’m more in love with REALTORS® now than I ever have been. We are the greatest business in the world.“What I know for sure is that some of our best stories are still waiting to be written. As a family, we make a difference. And together, we will go far.”