It turns out that moving mountains is still possible. A special group of REALTORS® stand out this year for their commitment to support some of the most vulnerable members of their communities through the unforgiving conditions brought on by the pandemic. The needs of people challenged by homelessness, developmental disabilities, mental health issues, abusive relationships, and other setbacks certainly don’t recede in the face of an invisible yet pernicious virus. In fact, the urgency to help felt even greater to the REALTORS® being recognized as 2020 Good Neighbor Award winners. While in-person fundraising events were canceled because of COVID-19, the demand for resources escalated, as did the responsibility to keep volunteers safe and determine how to continue to deliver many services without them. These trying times have only heightened the Good Neighbors’ resolve to alleviate suffering and find solutions. The drive to serve—without the need for personal fanfare—is, at its essence, what makes these unrelenting helpers Good Neighbors. Read on to be inspired.
Web Choice Favorites
Good Neighbor finalists competed to be recognized as a Web Choice Favorite during online voting in September. The top three vote getters—Eric and Janet Baucom, Sandra Nardoci, and Janice Ash Sialiano—won bonus grant money courtesy of sponsor realtor.com®. A record total of 225,383 votes were cast.
REALTORS® Are Good Neighbors
Each year, NAR recognizes 10 REALTORS® from around the country for the extraordinary impact they make through volunteering. But they are hardly the only ones who make it a priority to give time and energy to others in need. All told, 72% of REALTORS® volunteer in their communities; REALTORS® are more than twice as likely to do so than the general public. In addition to sharing the winners stories here, we are eager to share the news of your amazing charitable efforts. See what others are doing at the REALTORS® Are Good Neighbors Facebook and Instagram pages, and submit your own story.
Good Neighbor Videos: Behind the Scenes
For 21 years, Chicago-based Hatfield Post/Production has brought the Good Neighbor Award winners’ stories to life through powerful videos. In their travels, spanning 181,000 miles across the country and the globe, the Hatfield crew has spotlighted the life-changing work of 105 extraordinary volunteers. The team has surely encountered every obstacle imaginable over the past two decades.
But who could have prepared for 2020? Travel restrictions and social distancing requirements upended the usual filming plans in five locations around the U.S., some of which were COVID-19 hot spots. As they prepped for their travels, the crew learned that the spouse of one Good Neighbor had tested positive for coronavirus (he is fine now). Planes were frequently full, even despite nearly empty airports, because fewer flights were taking off.
The crew persevered with the aid of hand sanitizer, camera cleaning supplies, thermometers, and masks. To complete the videos safely and on time, they adjusted plans, shooting outdoors whenever possible (not easy in the Arizona summer), interviewing fewer people per story, and using boom mics rather than lavaliers.
To make all-important emotional connections during interviews, the masked crew had to improvise. “I [normally] use smiling and facial expression to encourage people as they’re talking,” says Executive Producer Dave McClain. “I tried to smile with my eyes, nod like crazy, and give lots of thumbs-ups.” Fans of the Good Neighbor videos will be happy to see the storytelling hasn’t suffered.
Are You a Good Neighbor?
Or do you know a REALTOR® who goes far above and beyond to help people in need? Good Neighbor Award winners receive $10,000 grants for their charities. Visit nar.realtor/gna to complete a nomination form for 2021 (deadline: May 7) or to contribute to current and past winners’ charities.