Announcing the 2014 Volunteering Works Winners

May 12, 2014

Every year, REALTOR® Magazine and the Good Neighbor Society announce the recipients of the Volunteering Works Program, which helps REALTORS® expand their small-scale charitable efforts. In addition to a year of one-on-one mentoring, the five winners will receive a $1,000 grant.

The Volunteering Works recipients were selected based on their dedication to the community through volunteer work and the potential for their charitable work to be strengthened with the help of an expert mentor from a member of the Good Neighbor Society. Society members are past recipients of the annual REALTOR® Magazine Good Neighbor Award for volunteer service – the highest honor that NAR awards to members who are involved in community service.

“The $1,000 Volunteering Works grant enabled Wildflower Women’s Organization to retain an executive director during a crucial growth period,” said Joan Rogliano, a practitioner with Rogliano Real Estate Group, in Littleton, Colo., and a 2013 Volunteering Works recipient. Her mentor, 2003 Good Neighbor Award winner Claudia Deprez, of Illustrated Properties Real Estate in West Palm Beach, Fla., contributed advice based on years of successful experience in the nonprofit world, which led to revitalized fundraising for Rogliano’s organization and a first, very generous challenge grant. “The impact of the Volunteering Works award has been boundless,” said Rogliano.

This year’s recipients are:

Linda K. Brown
Carol Jones, REALTORS®
Springfield, Mo.

Brown co-founded The Gathering Tree in 2010 to improve the lives of the homeless. The organization provides a safe place for homeless people to rest, relax and share a meal in the evening hours, when there are few services available to them. Brown’s goal is to also help people find a path off the streets by becoming a resource for mentoring, resume writing and GED classes. She will seek guidance from her mentor, Craig Conant of Key Realty Inc., Warrensburg, Mo., (Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Johnson County) and look for ways to increase visibility and develop an effective fundraising plan.

Miriam Hernandez Ramirez
Keller Williams Realty
Kannapolis, N.C.

Hernandez Ramirez is the driving force behind Capstone Recovery Center, a residential transitional home for women whose lives have been affected by substance abuse. As volunteer executive director, she interviews candidates for the house, oversees their activities, provides counseling and teaches life skills. Hernandez Ramirez will seek guidance from her mentor Carol Reza of The Real Estate Store Inc., Whittier, Calif., (Bridge of Faith) to learn additional ways to recruit more active volunteers and expand the curriculum to offer relapse prevention to nonresidents.

Laneta Goings
Welles Bowen
Maumee, Ohio

Goings helped launch Books 4 Buddies, a campaign that encourages literacy and leisure reading by providing free books to disadvantaged youth, especially boys, in the Toledo, Ohio area. The program recruits teenage boys to serve as book ambassadors and role models. Goings will look for guidance from her mentor, Bob Patterson of The Bob Patterson Group, Hamilton, Ga., (The Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy/Harris County) on developing a comprehensive business plan and collaborating with other literacy organizations.

Laurel and Melissa Maki
Century 21 North Country Agency
Houghton, Mich.

In 2012, the Maki’s founded 31 Backpacks, a nonprofit that combats childhood hunger by preparing nutritious food packages for needy schoolchildren to take home to their families on the weekends. In two years, the nonprofit has grown from serving 31 students to 135 students in eight school districts. The Makis will seek guidance from their mentor, Williemae Stanberry of Stanberry Realty, Pensacola, Fla., (A Will & Way Inc.) to help them expand and offer summer service, and generate new fundraising channels.

Thomas Sigel
Allen and Hartzell, Inc.
Wadsworth, Ohio

Sigel founded Ohio Regional Music Arts and Cultural Outreach (ORMACO) three years ago, filling a gap left by funding cuts in the arts. Sigel enriches lives with music, arts and cultural programs – with special outreach to multicultural, disadvantaged and rural populations. This year, ORMACO held 24 concerts and events and offered free guitar lessons at local schools. Sigel will seek guidance from his mentor, Ouida Spencer of Realty Associates of Atlanta, (United Cerebral Palsy of Georgia) to learn ways to strengthen his board of directors and community outreach.

“REALTORS® show an incredible commitment to volunteering in their communities,” says NAR President Steve Brown, broker/owner of Irongate, Inc. REALTORS® in Dayton, Ohio. “The Volunteering Works program provides an opportunity for REALTORS® who are starting a nonprofit effort to engage in one-on-one relationships with mentors who will help them obtain the tools that are needed for growth and success.”