2017 REALTOR® Good Neighbor Winners Unveiled

October 4, 2017

REALTORS® who give back are earning kudos by the industry for their charitable efforts within their communities and beyond. REALTOR® Magazine announced Wednesday the five winners to its 2017 Good Neighbors program.

“It’s amazing how the passion of this year’s Good Neighbor Award winners spurs a ripple effect of generosity among others,” says William E. Brown, National Association of REALTORS® president. “In addition to devoting thousands of personal volunteer hours and recruiting thousands of volunteer hours from others, this year's five winners have raised and donated more than $39 million to support their communities.” 

Each of the five winners will receive a $10,000 grant for their cause. They will also be featured in the November/December issue of REALTOR® Magazine and will receive crystal trophies in a presentation on Nov. 4 during the 2017 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Chicago.

The 2017 Good Neighbor Award winners are:

Sal Dimiceli, Lake Geneva Area Realty, Lake Geneva, Wis., founder of The Time Is Now To Help 

Dimiceli founded a nonprofit to ease the suffering of people living in poverty. He personally responds to requests for help by providing financial counseling and addressing individual needs, whether it's paying overdue rent to prevent eviction or providing emergency food assistance, transportation, or child care so a person can hold a job. Read his story.

Bryson Garbett, Garbett Homes, Salt Lake City, Utah, founder of Foundation Escalera

Garbett founded a nonprofit that provides access to education to children in the rural Chiapas region of Mexico. In 18 years, his organization, which has built 177 classrooms and provides high school scholarships, has helped nearly 100,000 students. Read his story.

Howard W. “Hoddy” Hanna, III, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, Pittsburgh, Pa., for Howard Hanna Children’s Free Care Fund

Hanna leads a nonprofit that donates millions to children’s hospitals to fund treatment for children without insurance or whose treatment isn’t covered by insurance. Since 1987, Hanna and his company’s 9,000 real estate professionals in eight states have raised and donated more than $14 million. Read his story.

Louise McLean, RE/MAX Solutions, Merritt Island, Fla., founder of Space Coast Association of REALTORS® Charitable Foundation

McLean founded a nonprofit to support the more than 2,200 homeless children in Florida’s Brevard County with necessities such as food, clothing, school supplies, glasses, and toiletries. They also provide nonessentials like sports equipment, band instruments, and even college scholarships, allowing children to further their education. Read her story.

Kay Wilson-Bolton, Century 21 Troop Real Estate, Santa Paula, Calif., founder of SPIRIT of Santa Paula 

Wilson-Bolton founded Many Meals, which feeds up to 600 people a hot meal every Wednesday. She also distributes 30,000 pounds of food per month through a food bank and, as an ordained chaplain, runs a reception center behind her real estate office where she counsels people in need. Read her story.

2017 Honorable Mentions

Five additional recipients also are being recognized as Good Neighbor honorable mentions. They each will receive $2,500 grants. This year’s honorable mentions are: 

  • Deborah Berg, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Birmingham, Mich., for the United Methodist Women’s Rummage Sale
  • JoAnn and Joseph Callaway, Those Callaways Real Estate, Scottsdale, Ariz., for Salvation Army
  • Lara Dolan, Keller Williams Realty Consultants, Roswell, Ga., for Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
  • Mony Nop, Mony Nop Real Estate, Livermore, Calif., for Mony Nop Foundation 
  • Donna Ting, Tri Isle Realty & Development Co., Wailuku, Hawaii for La’akea

The Web Choice Favorites Are …

Since the 10 finalists were announced on Sep. 5, the public has cast more than 93,000 votes to determine who would be named the Web Choice Favorites. (The top three vote-getters will receive bonus grant money courtesy of Good Neighbor sponsor realtor.com®.) 

The Good Neighbor finalist who earned the most votes was JoAnn and Joseph Callaway of Those Callaways Real Estate in Scottsdale, Ariz. They will receive an additional $2,500 bonus donation for The Salvation Army (on top of the $2,500 earned for being an honorable mention). The Callaways have raised more than $1.25 million to benefit The Salvation Army by recruiting REALTORS® as bell ringers and through an program that increased donations of big-ticket items to thrift stores.

Two more Good Neighbors also will receive $1,250 in bonus money for getting the next highest vote totals: Deborah Berg with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Birmingham, Mich., and Howard W. “Hoddy” Hanna, III with Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, Pittsburgh. Berg oversees more than 700 volunteers at the United Methodist Women’s Rummage Sale and has raised $225,000 per year for nonprofits. Hanna cofounded and leads the Howard Hanna Children’s Free Care Fund, which pays for sick children to be treated at hospitals when insurance doesn’t pay.

The Good Neighbor Awards have been presented annually since 2000 by NAR’s REALTOR® Magazine. More than $1.1 million in grants have been awarded to the winners’ charities since the inaugural award. REALTOR® Magazine’s Good Neighbor Awards is supported by primary sponsor realtor.com® and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. Learn more about the program at nar.realtor/gna.

By REALTOR® Magazine