WASHINGTON (January 28, 2016) — Realtors® not only help their clients achieve the American Dream by helping them buy and sell their homes, they also volunteer countless hours to help improve and develop their communities. For eight years, REALTOR® Magazine's Good Neighbor Society has helped Realtors® extend and enhance their charitable work through the Volunteering Works grant and mentoring program. The program, which assigns mentors to Realtors® who want to increase and expand their community service outreach, is now seeking entries.
"Realtors® build, change and improve communities across the nation every day," said National Association of Realtors® President Tom Salomone, broker-owner of Real Estate II Inc. in Coral Springs, Florida. "Through the Volunteering Works program, we can help Realtors® build upon and advance their volunteer efforts to help even more through community service."
The Good Neighbor Society is seeking applications from Realtors® who work on small-scale charitable efforts that have growth potential. The society is comprised of past recipients of REALTOR® Magazine's Good Neighbor Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement in community service. Five Volunteering Works recipients will benefit from a year of one-on-one mentoring from a member of the Good Neighbor Society and a $1,000 grant as seed money to help implement improvements in their community program.
Volunteering Works recipients will be selected based on their dedication to their volunteer work and the potential for their charitable work to be expanded or improved with the help of an expert mentor. Ideal candidates have been active in charity work, can identify specific challenges they would like to address with the help of a mentor and have specific goals for the future of their community service project. Applicants must be NAR members.
"We created Volunteering Works to benefit Realtors® who have a passion to make life better in their community," says LeRoy Bendickson, of Edina Realty in Edina, Minnesota, who is the Good Neighbor Society advisory council chair and a 2011 Good Neighbor Award winner. "As they work on refining their charitable efforts, they can get advice and guidance from a mentor who has been in their shoes."
Kristin Joyner, 2015 Volunteering Works recipient, has served the Sawnee Women's Club on many projects, providing backpacks full of weekend food to schoolchildren in need. Joyner says the Volunteering Works experience has benefitted her charity in seeking ways to start a vegetable garden at a high school, which will provide fresh produce for struggling families.
"I received encouragement from my mentor, who shared some scripts with me on how to get corporate sponsors," says Joyner, a Realtor® with Designer Realty, Dacula, Georgia. "With her enthusiasm, I wrote for another grant with Whole Foods and most important of all, she gave me confidence by telling me, ‘Your cause is worthy.'" Joyner's mentor was 2014 Good Neighbor Kristina Rhodes, with F.C. Tucker Emge Realtors® Evansville, Indiana. Joyner says the $1,000 grant enabled her to get ‘good old fashioned dirt and seeds' to get the garden underway at the high school.
The Good Neighbor Award winners, who mentor the Volunteering Works recipients, on average spend more than 20 hours a week on volunteer work and have built and led some of the most effective charitable organizations in the country. Since 2000, there have been more than 160 winners and honorable mentions of the Good Neighbor Award.
Volunteering Works is funded by The Stuart & Jill Siegel Charitable Foundation.
For a Volunteering Works entry form, visit www.nar.realtor/gna and click on "Nominate" The entry deadline is Feb. 26, 2016. Recipients will be notified in April.
The National Association of Realtors®, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing more than 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.