Volunteering Works Names 2016 Recipients

May 25, 2016

Five recipients for this year’s Volunteering Works program hope to expand their charitable outreach in their communities. New grant money and some mentoring will help them to do just that.

REALTOR® Magazine and the Good Neighbor Society announced Wednesday the mentoring and grant recipients of this year’s Volunteering Works, a program that matches REALTORS® running small-scale charitable efforts with mentors and grant money.

Five Volunteering Works recipients this year will receive a $1,000 seed grant, as well as a year of one-on-one mentoring from a member of the Good Neighbor Society, which is made up of past recipients of the REALTOR® Magazine Good Neighbor Award.

“REALTORS® are committed to helping home buyers achieve their dreams of owning a home and building communities, and many are just as committed to building that sense of community through volunteer and charitable work,” says NAR President Tom Salomone. “The Volunteering Works program provides a way for REALTORS® who are helping in their communities to team up with mentors who can help their charitable efforts grow and thrive.”

Program recipients are selected based on their devotion to their communities through volunteer work and the potential for their efforts to be expanded or improved upon with the help of an expert mentor.

“The Volunteering Works mentoring program gives the recipients the tools they need to face the upcoming challenges and to make their charities bigger, stronger, and more complete,” says LeRoy Bendickson of Edina Realty in Minneapolis, who is a 2011 Good Neighbor Award winner and the chair of the Good Neighbor Society Advisory Council.

The 2016 recipients of Volunteering Works grants and mentoring are:

Diana Bowler, Allen Tate Company, Charlotte, N.C.

Since 2014, Bowler has served Wesley Chapel Friends of Parks and Recreation, a community organization that promotes cooperation among businesses and nonprofits through events and fundraisers. As co-coordinator, Bowler has been instrumental in planning and implementing the grand opening, and several high-visibility events. Bowler will receive advice from her mentor, 2015 Good Neighbor Award Winner Susan Stearns, Berkshire Hathaway HomeService, Calabasas, California, on motivating volunteers.

Candi DeMoura, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, La Jolla, Calif.

In 2013, DeMoura founded Candi’s Holiday Food Drive as a way of bringing her community together during the holiday season. To raise awareness, DeMoura walks the neighborhoods and accepts donations at her weekly open houses. Her commitment to fighting hunger is evident: She's helped gather 1,247 pounds of food for those who are in need, and 1,039 meals for children, seniors, physically challenged and families throughout San Diego County. DeMoura will seek guidance from her mentor, 2012 Good Neighbor Award Winner Rocky Balsamo, Long & Foster Real Estate Inc., Princeton, New Jersey, on how to build a strategic plan.

Tamara “Tami” Hicks, Century 21 Signature Real Estate, Ames, Iowa

Since 2012, Hicks has given countless hours, financial donations, and marketing expertise to help grow awareness of the Overflow Thrift Store. She collects quality items when people move out of an apartment or house, repurposing and selling them, and then giving the profits to charities that provide housing, food, and education. Hicks will be advised by her mentor, 2014 Good Neighbor Honorable Mention Beth Smoot, NextHome City of Oaks, Raleigh, North Carolina, on how to overcome funding hurdles, systems for reusing excess materials, and training board members.

Ben Jones, Ogle Realty, Gatlinburg, Tenn.

In 2014, Jones and his wife co-founded Angel Wings Memory Gowns as a way of bringing comfort to grieving families who've lost a child. He repurposes formal attire and wedding dresses into burial gowns for babies and toddlers up to five years old. He's brought together more than 45 volunteers and serves 25 local hospitals. Jones will benefit from guidance from his mentor, 2012 Good Neighbor Honorable Mention Kathleen Peck, All in One Realty Group Inc., Naples, Florida, around getting more exposure and financial support.

Rachel Strickland, Young Real Estate LLC, Dexter, Mo.

Six years ago, Strickland founded Manger Full of Toys, a volunteer organization that collects gently used children’s toys and donates them to families in need at over the holidays. In 2012—their best year so far—more than 7,000 toys were given to 371 families. She hopes to find a permanent facility to store the toys and host giveaways. Strickland will be counseled by her mentor, 2000 Good Neighbor Award Winner Linda Booker, Realty Executives, Glendale, Arizona, about recruiting volunteers and obtaining nonprofit status.

Volunteering Works is funded by The Stuart & Jill Siegel Charitable Foundation.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®