WASHINGTON (October 6, 2022) – The National Association of Realtors® today announced its 2022 Good Neighbor Awards winners. For 23 years, the Good Neighbor Awards has recognized Realtors® who make an extraordinary impact on their communities through volunteer work. The five individuals named as this year's winners exemplify how Realtors® make their communities a better place to live, work and raise a family.
The 2022 Good Neighbor Award winners are as follows:
- Jennifer Barnes, Keller Williams Realty Peachtree Road, Brookhaven, Georgia, founder of Solidarity Sandy Springs
- Dennis Curtin, Legacy Investments, Kansas City, Missouri, founder of Mimi's Pantry
- Jim Edmonds, Emerald Isle Properties, Kilauea, Hawaii, founder of Permanently Affordable Living (PAL) Kaua'i
- Heather Griesser LaPierre, RE/MAX Preferred Newtown Square, Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, founder of Kids Against Hunger Philadelphia
- MaliVai Washington, Diamond Life Real Estate, Jacksonville Beach, Florida, founder of MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation
"I am so proud to honor our Good Neighbor Award winners for how they've effected change to improve the lives of others in their communities," said NAR President Leslie Rouda Smith, a Realtor® from Plano, Texas, and a broker associate at Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate in Dallas. "Each of these Realtors® has devoted hundreds of hours a year and raised huge sums of money for their respective causes. I salute them for their vision, dedication, passion and selfless generosity."
Each of the five winners – selected by a multi-stage, criteria-based judging process – will receive a $10,000 grant for their charity and be featured in the fall 2022 issue of REALTOR® Magazine. They will also be presented with crystal trophies on November 12 during NAR NXT, NAR's annual conference that will take place in Orlando, Florida this year.
More About Each Winner:
Jennifer Barnes, Keller Williams Realty Peachtree Road, Brookhaven, Georgia
In 2020, Jennifer Barnes thought she would feed people for just a few weeks until the COVID-19-induced shutdowns ended. That experience opened her eyes to an underlying vulnerability in her affluent, Atlanta-area neighborhood that extended well beyond food. She founded the nonprofit, Solidarity Sandy Springs, which inspires more than 2,600 volunteers to provide wide-ranging community services for thousands of families, including free eye exams and glasses, flu vaccines, job fairs, back-to-school backpacks and more. Barnes has also distributed nearly one million pounds of food to approximately 46,000 shoppers.
Read more: https://nar.realtor/gna/jennifer-barnes
Dennis Curtin, Legacy Investments, Kansas City, Missouri
Dennis Curtin founded Mimi's Pantry to offer a more positive food pantry experience to people in need. The state-of-the-art, 6,000-square-foot facility welcomes shoppers to browse the aisles and choose their food, just as they would in a grocery store. The nonprofit invested in commercial refrigeration equipment and offers fresh meat, produce and milk. It also has a play area and library for kids and is currently building a greenhouse and an orchard of fruit trees and berry bushes. In three years, it has served 50,000 individuals.
Read more: https://nar.realtor/gna/dennis-curtin
Jim Edmonds, Emerald Isle Properties, Kilauea, Hawaii
Since the Hawaiian island of Kaua'i may only have a handful of homes for sale under $1 million at any time, Jim Edmonds, founder of nonprofit Permanently Affordable Living (PAL) Kaua'i, partners with other nonprofits to build and convert affordable housing for workers. Edmonds navigates the complex challenges of poor infrastructure and resource scarcity through innovative, cost-saving solutions like solar energy, edible landscaping, shared electric vehicles and shared bicycles.
Read more: https://nar.realtor/gna/jim-edmonds
Heather Griesser LaPierre, RE/MAX Preferred Newtown Square, Newtown Square, Pennsylvania
To address food insecurity in her neighborhood and worldwide, Heather Griesser LaPierre founded Kids Against Hunger Philadelphia. She rallies hundreds of volunteers each month to pack nutritious, ready-to-make pasta- and rice-based meals. When schools were shut down in 2021, she doubled production to 350,000 meals per month to ensure children who depended on school lunches were fed. Since 2015, she has packed and distributed more than 9 million meals.
MaliVai Washington, Diamond Life Real Estate, Jacksonville Beach, Florida
For 26 years, MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation (MWYF) founder Mal Washington has been breaking the cycle of poverty through a vibrant after-school mentoring program. Originally rooted in his beloved sport of tennis, MWYF now serves 500 kids annually through a comprehensive youth development program of academic tutoring, leadership skills, financial training and fitness. He is proud of the 100% high school graduation rate of the program as the surrounding neighborhood's dropout rate is 20%.
Read more: https://nar.realtor/gna/malivai-washington
In addition to the winners, the following five Realtors® have been recognized as Good Neighbor Award honorable mentions and will each receive $2,500 grants for their charity:
- Tamara "Tami" Hicks, Century 21 Signature Real Estate, Ames, Iowa, for Overflow Thrift Store, which has raised more than a half million dollars for charities and has saved millions of items from landfills.
- Lisa Hoeve, Coldwell Banker Woodland Schmidt, Holland, Michigan, for Hope Pkgs, which has provided overnight comfort bags to more than 4,200 foster children.
- Debbie McCabe, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS®, and the Trident Group, Devon, Pennsylvania, for Covenant House Pennsylvania, which houses and empowers young people facing homelessness.
- Debbie Miller, Webpro Realty, Lakeland, Florida, for kidsPACK, which feeds 3,000 children on weekends when they don't get school lunch.
- Kathy Opperman, Long & Foster Collegeville, Collegeville, Pennsylvania, for Pillars of Light and Love, which has offered 800 free workshops and support groups to build self-esteem and resilience in adults and kids.
NAR's Good Neighbor Awards is supported by primary sponsor Realtor.com® as well as the Center for REALTOR® Development.
In September, Realtor.com® invited the public to vote for their favorite of the 10 finalists. The top three vote-getters all received additional donations for their charities. The following Realtors® have been crowned as this year's Web Choice Favorites:
- Kathy Opperman, who will receive an additional $2,500 bonus donation for Pillars of Light and Love
- Debbie Miller, who will receive an additional $1,250 bonus donation for kidsPACK
- Lisa Hoeve, who will receive an additional $1,250 bonus donation for Hope Pkgs
"We were thrilled to see more than 129,000 people voted for their favorite award finalist," said Realtor.com® CMO Mickey Neuberger. "At Realtor.com®, community has always been at our core, which is why we are happy to sponsor the Good Neighbor Awards and help further amplify the amazing work of these honorees. These Realtor® heroes saw a need and took positive action to make their communities a better place."
The National Association of Realtors® is America's largest trade association, representing more than 1.5 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
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