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The Immeasurable Value of Good Neighbors

May 20, 2013

In its 13 years of honoring REALTORS®’ volunteer and community service work nationwide, the REALTOR® Magazine Good Neighbor Awards have inspired dozens of state and local associations to launch their own recognition programs.

Associations of any size can launch a Good Neighbor Awards program and then nominate local volunteer heroes for national recognition, says Sara Geimer, manager of NAR’s Good Neighbor Awards.

“It’s great publicity for local boards when one of their members is selected for the national award,” Geimer notes. Recognizing and promoting members’ community service work also builds awareness for the charities themselves and inspires others to contribute to and get more involved in the community.

“We make a big deal of all of our state Good Neighbor Award winners and they garner media coverage in their local dailies for themselves, their business, and their charity,” says Eric Berman, communications director at the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®, which established its Good Neighbor Awards program in 2004.

All state Good Neighbor winners are entered to win the national REALTOR® Magazine Good Neighbor Award, Berman says. In 2010, Wendy and John Rocca from Watertown, Mass., won for their work sending care packages to American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The deadline for the national Good Neighbor Awards is May 20.

Winners of the Missouri Association of REALTORS®’ Good Neighbor Awards receive a $2,500 grant for their charity, along with statewide recognition in the association’s publication. In Iowa, the REALTOR® association’s Good Neighbor Awards recently honored the work of member Jane McCune for her 10 years in volunteer recruitment, fund-raising, and building projects, including Habitat for Humanity. On the local level, the 1,100-member Greater Manchester/Nashua Board of REALTORS®, N.H., established its Good Neighbor Awards program in 2002 and donates $1,000 to the winning member’s charity.

For local and state associations interested in establishing their own Good Neighbor Awards program, NAR provides an easy-to-follow starter kit on REALTOR.org/gna (click “For Media and AEs”). If your association already has a local or state Good Neighbor Awards program, please submit the details (deadline, number of winners, and grant amounts) to NAR for inclusion in a national database where associations can share ideas and resources. For more information, contact Sara Geimer at sgeimer@realtors.org.

Find Good Neighbors in your Community: Enter Your Members by May 20

REALTOR® Magazine is seeking nominees for the 14th annual Good Neighbor Awards, which recognize REALTORS® who impact their communities through volunteer work. Five winners will be recognized at the 2013 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Francisco and will receive travel expenses to attend the show and a $10,000 grant for their community cause. Volunteer work might include affordable housing initiatives, youth mentoring, homelessness prevention, or anything else that makes a community a better place to live. Postmark deadline is May 20, 2013. For more information and an entry form, go to REALTOR.org/gna, or contact Sara Geimer at sgeimer@realtors.org.