The National Association of REALTORS® has named 10 Realtors® as finalists for REALTOR® Magazine’s 2016 Good Neighbor Awards. This award honors Realtors® who have made an extraordinary impact on their communities through volunteer work.
This year marks the 17th year the Good Neighbor Awards program has recognized Realtor® volunteers. The Realtors® being honored have donated their time, money and passion to improve and enrich the lives of the people in their communities. Since 2000, the Good Neighbor Awards has donated more than $1 million to the nonprofit organizations these Realtors® volunteer for.
“The Good Neighbor Award signifies the dedication that each of these Realtors® has for their communities,” says National Association of Realtors® President Tom Salomone. “I am proud to announce this year’s ten finalists for their profound impact that they are making to help others.”
On September 28, five winners will be named from among the 10 finalists. Winners will receive a $10,000 grant and national media exposure for their community charity, including a feature in the November/December issue of REALTOR® Magazine. The winners will also receive travel expenses to the 2016 REALTORS® Conference Expo in Orlando, Florida, where they will accept their awards at a presentation in front of thousands of their peers. The five honorable mentions will receive a $2,500 grant for their nonprofits.
Nominees were judged on the impact they have made through personal contribution of time as well as financial and material contributions to benefit their cause.
The public can also vote for their favorite of the 10 Good Neighbor finalists. The finalist who gets the most votes – the Web Choice Winner – will take home an additional $1,000 donation.
Cast your vote at realtor.com/goodneighbor between Aug. 30 – Sept. 26.
Tommy Arnold, Jr., Keller Williams Louisville East, Louisville, Kentucky
In 2008, Arnold hosted Thanksgiving dinner for a few dozen lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender college students who were not welcome to go home to their families. This modest effort inspired him to found Feast on Equality, an event that has raised $500,000 for the LGBT Center at the University of Louisville to fund themed housing and study-abroad programs, leadership development and emergency funds. Most recently, the LGBT Center and the School of Medicine partnered to pilot program to teach medical students about the specific needs of LGBT patients.
Cindy Barrett, Keller Williams Realty, Spartanburg, South Carolina
Cindy and her husband cofounded Christmas in Action in 1996 to help low-income people in their community remedy health and safety issues such as leaky roofs, electrical fire hazards and rotting floors. Since then, she has inspired thousands of volunteers — including college students from around the country who flock to Spartanburg to use their time off from school in a meaningful way — to complete free home repairs on more than 800 homes for low-income seniors, people with disabilities and veterans.
Pam Harrison, RE/MAX Executive, Millersville, Maryland
For 10 years, Harrison has run food drives to make sure people in her county don’t go hungry. Among the many events and fundraisers she has masterminded for the Anne Arundel County Food Bank is a friendly competition involving 120 real estate professionals, sponsored by industry partners like mortgage and title companies and home inspectors. In 2015, she raised $64,000 and collected more than 70,000 pounds of food, which is enough to feed more than 42,000 people for an entire month.
Susan Gruen Helsinger, Douglas Elliman Real Estate, Merrick, New York
After her teenage son died suddenly at school from an undiagnosed heart abnormality, Helsinger knew she needed to do something to prevent similar tragedies. She founded The Jason F. Gruen Research Foundation and for 30 years, she has fought to bring awareness, fund research and equipment, and screen teen athletes so that those with cardiac issues can seek treatment. Helsinger has raised nearly $2 million to fund efforts to understand these ailments and diagnose them early.
For more information, visit www.realtor.org.