Seven Past Good Neighbor Winners Get Surprise Donations from NAR

President Chris Polychron honors past Good Neighbor recipients for their commitment to volunteer service.

October 14, 2015

Good Neighbor Award winners keep on giving. Now, the REALTOR® organization is giving seven past recipients of the Good Neighbor Award an additional $5,000 grant for their community cause. The surprise donations were made by NAR President Chris Polychron, executive broker of 1st Choice Realty in Hot Springs, Ark., on behalf of 226 volunteer leaders who have served the association at the national, state, and local level.

"The time and commitment you have dedicated to your charitable organization exemplifies the dedication and tenacity of a true REALTOR® leader,” Polychron said in a letter to each of the recipients.

The Good Neighbor Awards recognizes 10 REALTORS® each year, who have made a tremendous impact on their community through volunteer work, to receive grant money for their charitable organizations. Since 2000, the Good Neighbor Awards has granted more than $1 million to these REALTOR®-led nonprofits, with the support of sponsors. This year’s sponsors are Liberty Mutual Insurance and realtor.com.

These one-time surprise donations were given to REALTORS® who won the Good Neighbor Award in the past in recognition of their ongoing commitment to volunteer service.

The seven recipients are:

Oral Lee Brown
2000 Good Neighbor Award winner
Oral Lee Brown Foundation
Brown founded a nonprofit to mentor inner-city children, help them graduate from high school, and pay for their college education. Since she was awarded the Good Neighbor Award in 2000, Brown has gone on to “adopt” more than 150 more kids. Brown has been a Realtor for 35 years.
 
Check out Brown's REALTOR® Magazine article and Good Neighbor video here.
 
Trudy Harsh
2012 Good Neighbor
The Brain Foundation
In 2003, Harsh founded The Brain Foundation to create supportive housing for the mentally ill in Fairfax, Va. The organization now owns eight group homes that house 32 residents who might otherwise have been homeless. Trudy raises funds to purchase and maintain the houses, furnishes them with donated furniture and household items, and partners with other nonprofits to provide the residents with supportive services. She has been a Realtor since 1978.
 
Check out Harsh's REALTOR® Magazine article and Good Neighbor video here.

Pat Moore
2007 Good Neighbor Award winner
Harvest of Haiti
Moore recently returned from his 90th trip to Haiti since he began providing aid in 2001, long before the devastating 2010 earthquake. Even now, five years after the earthquake, the most urgent need is still clean drinking water to prevent children from dying of water-borne disease. Pat’s non-profit Harvest of Haiti has drilled 33 wells at a cost of $500 each, providing clean water to at least 33,000 people. Moore retired from real estate in March 2015 after 34 years.
 
Check out Moore's REALTOR® Magazine article and Good Neighbor video here.
 
Vito Pampalona
2011 Good Neighbor Award winner
Walter Reed Hospital and Yellow Ribbon Fund
Vietnam veteran Pampalona has supported patients at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center since 2003. “Uncle Vito,” as he is known, created a library and snack pantry at the hospital and hosts an annual Christmas party with generous gifts for patients, families and staff. Pampalona is also national chair of the Yellow Ribbon Fund Ambassador program, which helps welcome injured soldiers home. Pampalona has been a Realtor for 45 years.
 
Check out Pampalona's REALTOR® Magazine article and Good Neighbor video here.
 
Judy Pitt
2011 Good Neighbor Award Winner
Kazi Yake
In 2003 Pitt founded the nonprofit Kazi Yake, which translates from Swahili to mean “His works.” She brings groups of volunteers to provide potable water and hygiene information to rural villages in western Kenya, where children die every day due to remediable ailments such as diarrhea, malaria, typhus, and cholera that are brought on by tainted water. Pitt has been a Realtor for 35 years.
 
Check out Pitt's REALTOR® Magazine article and Good Neighbor video here.
 
Carol Reza
2007 Good Neighbor Award winner
Bridge of Faith
Reza founded Bridge of Faith in 1995 to support young women after they are emancipated the foster care system at age 18. With no family support, no educational prospects, and a need for basic life skills training, these young people tend to struggle.  Bridge of Faith now has three homes that provide 5,000 nights of housing to women and their children and helps them develop the skills they need to build a life. Reza has been a Realtor for 16 years.
 
Check out Reza's REALTOR® Magazine article and Good Neighbor video here.
 
Cynthia Shafer
2002 Good Neighbor Award winner
Voices for Kids and Bedz for Kidz
Shafer was recognized for her work as a guardian ad litem—an advocate for children who are in the court system as a result of being abused or neglected. After witnessing how many times children aren’t allowed to move in with a relative because they don’t have a suitable bed for them, Shafer created Bedz for Kids. Shafer and her husband spend virtually every weekend driving around Florida setting up beds, and outfitting them with cheerful bedding and stuffed animals. She has been a Realtor for 22 years.
 
Check out Shafer's REALTOR® Magazine article and Good Neighbor video here.  

For more information about the Good Neighbor Awards, including the 2015 winners who will be honored at the REALTORS Conference & Expo in November in San Diego, go to Realtor.org/gna.

Sara Geimer is the manager of REALTOR® Magazine's Good Neighbor Awards and a former senior editor with the magazine.