So few professions allow individuals to make such a wide impact in their local community, than real estate. One person, like the National Association of Realtors® 2019 Good Neighbor Awards finalist, Kristy Payne in Oklahoma has helped over 2,000 foster children in her state with necessities so desperately needed after a child is removed from a relative’s home.
That’s one person who has impacted thousands. And like the other 10 finalists, and all award winners honored in the past, they’d never pat themselves on the back, they’d keep putting as much effort as possible into making an impact in their neighborhoods and beyond.
2019 marks the 20th year or of this awards program which honors Realtors who have made a positive impact on their communities through “incalculable hours of volunteer time,” and millions of dollars in charitable fundraising. They pour all they have into enriching the lives of those around them, and they deserve recognition.
“We are honored to have this group of extraordinary people representing the Good Neighbor Awards as we celebrate the 20-year milestone,” says NAR President John Smaby, Edina, Minnesota. “They inspire us and epitomize ‘who we are’ as Realtors.”
Voting is now open and lasts through September 28th – five winners will be named on October 2nd, and each will receive a $10,000 grant, be featured in the November/December issue of REALTOR® Magazine, and the remaining five finalists will receive a $2,500 grant in recognition of their work. The top three vote getters will win bonus grants of $2,500, $1,250 and $1,250, respectively, for their nonprofit organizations.
“The Good Neighbor Awards reflect the values we share with the Realtor® family,” said Tracey Fellows, acting CEO of realtor.com, the primary sponsor of the awards. “This year’s finalists represent the industry at its best – making meaningful connections that count for people, families and communities.”
More about the 10 finalists:
Sabrina Cohen – The Sabrina Cohen Foundation
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, Miami Beach, Fla.
Fourteen years after Cohen suffered a spinal cord injury, she founded a nonprofit dedicated to funding adaptive fitness and recreational activities for people with disabilities. She created Miami Beach’s first inclusive playground, runs monthly Adaptive Beach Days and spearheads a $10 million capital campaign to build a state-of-the-art adaptive recreation center.
Rosemary Dutter – Dutter House Inc.
Century 21 Affiliated, Beloit, Wis.
To honor her beloved grandson who died at age 12, Dutter gives parents of severely disabled children a break from their daily challenges, transforming a local house into a safe, cheery and kid-friendly place. While she lovingly cares for these children each evening, their parents have time to run errands, spend quality time with their other children or simply take time for themselves.
Bruce Johnson, ABR®, CRS, GREEN – SickKids Foundation/Children’s Miracle Network
RE/MAX of Wasaga Beach Inc., Wasaga Beach, Ontario, Canada
In memory of his daughter, Alyssa, who died in 1998 at 20 days old, Johnson has traveled more than 37,000 miles across North and South America on his motorcycle. Johnson has raised more than $600,000 for Children’s Miracle Network, which benefits the SickKids hospital in Toronto where his daughter was treated, and a network of children’s hospitals.
Nora Partlow – Neighborhood Health
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Alexandria, Va.
Partlow began supporting the neighborhood medical clinic when she noticed patients waiting in her coffee shop. As the daughter of immigrants, she understood the great need for affordable healthcare. Her greatest contribution is her ability to connect donors, patients and volunteers. In 21 years, she has raised $550,000 and recruited hundreds of supporters.
Kristy Payne – Fostering Sweet Dreams Foundation
Keller Williams, Edmond, Okla.
As a foster parent, Payne learned about the needs of families who may suddenly be asked to care for a child who is removed from a relative’s home. She provides necessities like beds and car seats to help bridge the gap for families working to collect all the resources required for placement. Since 2016, Payne has helped 2,000 children across 31 Oklahoma counties.
Mark Solomon – Veterans Community Project
Keller Williams, Kansas City, Mo. and Longmont, Colo.
Solomon co-founded a nonprofit to eliminate veteran homelessness through a “tiny house” development. The neighborhood includes an outreach center where any veteran can access medical and mental health referrals, employment assistance, and addiction counseling and treatment. With the Kansas City location nearly complete, Solomon is helping to expand the cause nationwide.
Bahar Soomekh – Angel City Sports
Nourmand & Associates, Beverly Hills, Calif.
Soomekh and her husband founded a nonprofit to help people with physical disabilities stay active, renew their spirits and connect with a supportive community. Inspired by her son, Ezra, who uses a leg prosthesis, Soomekh runs athletic clinics and competitions for adults and children with disabilities. The 2019 Angel City Games drew 1,500 spectators to cheer on 430 athletes.
Kimberly Strub – Schurig Center For Brain Injury Recovery
Coldwell Banker, Mill Valley, Calif.
Strub leads a nonprofit that improves the lives of people with brain injuries and their families through therapy, support groups and social and recreational activities. In a decade, she has raised $1 million, tripled both the annual budget and the number of people served, and helped set up a concussion protocol for children in the Marin County schools network.
Dale Taylor, ABR®, GRI – South Suburban PADS
RE/MAX 10, New Lenox, Ill.
For 19 years, Taylor has spent nearly every Monday night with the 35 homeless men who gather at the shelter site he manages just south of Chicago. From serving food and mopping floors to making decisions as a board member and raising nearly $3 million, Taylor calls his volunteerism a “divine calling.”
Paul Wyman, ABR® – Turning Point
The Wyman Group, Kokomo, Ind.
When he saw his community struggling with opioid addiction, Wyman called a county-wide summit to find solutions. This summit led Wyman to found a nonprofit that connects people affected by addiction with the services required for recovery. Instead of red tape, people now find a central resource to access help. Turning Point helped 1,400 clients during the last year.