In a year defined by unprecedented challenges globally, the kindness of REALTORS®—a group whose charitable giving far outpaces that of the general public—has never been more urgent. Recognizing real estate pros who have persevered through a pandemic to make an extraordinary difference in their communities through volunteer work, the National Association of REALTORS® on Wednesday named 10 finalists for this year’s Good Neighbor Awards.
Supporting suicide prevention, housing for the sick and disabled, and improving medical treatment for children of active-duty military parents, among other causes, these Good Neighbor finalists embody the REALTOR® spirit. “Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, these REALTORS® have continued to help their neighbors in impactful and inspiring ways,” says NAR President Vince Malta. “I am so proud to honor this year’s Good Neighbor Award finalists for their outstanding volunteer work and for exemplifying everything we strive to be as REALTORS® and as engaged, compassionate members of a community.”
Now in its 21st year, the Good Neighbor Awards provides $10,000 grants to five winners, who will be chosen in October, to further their charitable efforts. The winners also will be recognized at the virtual REALTORS® Conference & Expo this November, while five honorable mentions will receive a $2,500 grant for their respective nonprofits.
The general public also has a chance to weigh in on finalists deserving of an extra monetary award for their efforts. Now through Oct. 2, you can vote for your favorite finalist. The top vote-getter will receive a $2,500 grant, while the second and third runners-up will receive $1,250. Realtor.com® is the primary sponsor of the Good Neighbor Awards program and also funds the Web Choice Favorite grants.
“The events of this past year have only reinforced how important homes and communities are to the fabric of our society, and the Good Neighbor Awards finalists exemplify the commitment to others that we all need right now,” says realtor.com® Chief Marketing Officer Mickey Neuberger. “In a time of social distance, the REALTORS® recognized by these awards have found ways to bring people together to achieve the greater good.”
Meet the 10 finalists:
Eric and Janet Baucom
Coastlands Real Estate Group
Cofounders of Project Bicycle Love, Eric and Janet Baucom have donated 350 bikes and helmets to foster and low-income children and to teenagers who lack a means of transportation to work. These gifts provide kids with some independence amidst an unstable home life.
Linda K. Brown
Amax Real Estate
Cofounder of Eden Village, Linda Brown transforms abandoned mobile home properties into villages of tiny homes that provide permanent housing to the chronically disabled homeless. To date, Brown and her husband have raised $4.75 million to place 36 tiny homes, with the goal of making their hometown a city “where no one sleeps outside.”
Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty
After losing several friends to suicide, Jeff Fields, past board president of Teen Lifeline, is committed to saving teens from what he calls “the most preventable death.” Under Fields’s leadership, the organization serves more than 28,000 youth through a peer-to-peer teen crisis hotline while providing community education on suicide prevention.
Since 1999, Debra Griggs has provided housing for 1,200 pets through her nonprofit, Animal Resources of Tidewater, in addition to offering spay/neuter services and veterinary care funding for low-income families. Griggs’s efforts as a state-level lobbyist for animal rights have significantly reduced Virginia’s shelter intake numbers and increased pet save rates.
To honor her son’s memory, Tamara House raised $3.6 million to cofound Grant’s House, an after-school and summer program for children with special needs. House used her real estate experience and relationships with contractors to renovate the 50,000-square-foot building, which now includes 20 rooms offering various activities and recreation opportunities for children with disabilities.
Cancer survivor Vickie Lobo founded Knock Knock Angels to help people start over after they’ve overcome difficult situations like domestic violence, homelessness, and drug addiction. Lobo partners with local philanthropic and community organizations to furnish new apartments with donated furniture, dishes, towels, and anything else these individuals would need to begin their new life.
Coldwell Banker Residential, Washington, D.C.
and Atoka Properties, Purcellville, Va.
Greg Masucci and his wife founded a nonprofit farm that employs young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. These young men and women learn to grow produce from seed to harvest, attend farmer’s markets as ambassadors for people with disabilities, and enjoy an environment that builds their skills and confidence.
Berkshire Hathaway Blake
As cofounder and lead volunteer for the Capital District YMCA’s Circle of Champs, Sandra Nardoci has spent 28 years dedicated to improving the quality of life for children with chronic, life-threatening illnesses. Kids attend a free summer day camp and whole families are invited to participate in monthly social events and activities at no cost, creating a community bond for parents and siblings all experiencing similar circumstances.
Janice Ash Sialiano
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage Surfside
Surfside Beach, S.C.
After volunteering when Hurricane Hugo devastated her coastal community, Janice Ash Sialiano wanted to do more. Inspired by neighbors who had nowhere to spend the holidays, she founded the Community Christmas Dinner. Thirty-two years later and on a much grander scale, the event has grown to require more than 500 volunteers to serve 12,000 guests each year.
KW Metro Center
By donating new toys and high-tech electronics, Linda Trinkle Wolf makes hospital stays and scary medical treatments easier for the children of active-duty military parents. Her nonprofit, Mission: M4, funds $50,000 movie players for MRI machines at military hospitals including the Walter Reed Medical Center to help ease kids’ anxiety during difficult and often life-altering procedures.