Realtors work tirelessly to strengthen the communities in which they live and work, as well as improve the lives of their neighbors. For the past 13 years the Good Neighbor Awards program has recognized Realtors who do just that. The five individuals named as this year’s REALTOR Magazine Good Neighbor Award winners value service above self and are committed to helping those in need.
The 2012 Good Neighbor Awards winners are Rocco “Rocky” Balsamo, The Rocky Balsamo Real Estate Group/Long & Foster Real Estate Inc., Princeton Junction, N.J., for cofounding the Center for FaithJustice; Michael Campbell, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Tucson, Ariz., president of The Hearth Foundation; Regina “Ginger” Dowdle, Sunrise Realty & Development, Statesville, N.C., founder of The Shepherd’s Watch Ministries; Ortrud “Trudy” Harsh, Long & Foster, Fairfax, Va., founder of The Brain Foundation; and Sally Rudloff, Kane & Associates, Alameda, Calif., former president of the Alameda Boys & Girls Club.
“The Good Neighbor Awards reminds us that a strong community is integral to a person’s quality of life,” said National Association of Realtors President Moe Veissi, broker-owner of Veissi & Associates Inc., in Miami. “Realtors strongly believe in this philosophy and work tirelessly to build successful communities. Despite their busy Realtor careers, this year’s Good Neighbor Award winners have sacrificed their time, money and effort to improve the quality of life for others. I am honored to recognize them and help them grow their efforts so they can help even more people through their selfless work.”
NAR’s REALTOR Magazine presents the Good Neighbor Awards, which have been granted annually since 2000. Winners receive a $10,000 grant for their charity and a $2,000 Lowe’s gift card, and are profiled in the November-December issue of REALTOR Magazine. The recipients will be presented with crystal trophies on Saturday, November 10, at the 2012 REALTORS Conference & Expo in Orlando; 21,000 Realtors and guests are expected to attend the conference.
Balsamo is founding board member and volunteer executive director for Center for FaithJustice, a nonprofit that promotes volunteerism among teens and young adults. CFJ runs summer day camps and sleep-away camps, as well as other year-round workshops for schools and churches. Last year, more than 900 teens volunteered more than 20,000 hours in local charities and spent a similar number of hours in education classes.
Campbell is president of The Hearth Foundation, which provides transitional housing for low-income families, typically women with young children. He is credited for reorganizing and stabilizing the organization, strengthening the board, and creating effective partnerships with other organizations to provide services to the residents. Campbell recently won a $720,000 grant, which will allow the organization to make much-needed renovations to their apartments.
Dowdle and her husband founded The Shepherd’s Watch Ministries, which hosts a summer camp for children in the community, as well as a year-round residential program for at-risk youths in foster care, on their 60-acre farm. The residential program focuses on teens who will likely age out of foster care without being adopted. The goal is to teach these youths much needed skills to help prepare them for independent living. The Dowdles have foster-parented more than 20 youths since 2005, adopting two boys with another adoption in process.
Harsh founded The Brain Foundation in 2003 to address the growing need for affordable housing for mentally ill adults who might otherwise be homeless. The foundation has since purchased six homes that house 24 adults with brain diseases like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or chronic depression. She has formed a successful partnership with another nonprofit to provide residents with services that allow them to live independently. Her model has been copied in Florida and she frequently mentors others who are trying to create similar programs.
Rudloff, former president of the Alameda Boys & Girls Club, is credited with incredible growth that allows the club to expand from serving 1,200 children to a capacity of 3,000. Rudloff led a $10 million capital campaign that built a new 25,000-square-foot youth center. She also launched a dental clinic for uninsured children, recruited math teachers for a new tutoring program, and created partnerships that provide family counseling. In addition to being a Good Neighbor Award winner, Rudloff also won the most votes in an online Web Choice contest, earning her an additional $500 Lowe’s gift card.
In addition to the winners, five Realtors have been recognized as Good Neighbor Award honorable mentions; they will each receive $2,500 grants and a $1,000 Lowe’s gift card. They are Charlene M. Brennan, Strano & Associates Real Estate, Fairview Heights, Ill., for Rotary District 6510’s Belizean Children’s Program; Georgia L. Butterfield, Legacy Real Estate & Associates, ERA Powered, Fremont, Calif., for Adopt An Angel; Geoffrey W. Lavell, Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate-Desert Properties, Henderson, Nev., for Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation; Patti M. Miller, Tierra Antigua Realty, Sierra Vista, Ariz., for Real Wishes Foundation; and Kathleen Peck, All in One Realty Group, Inc., Naples, Fla., for Lighthouse of Collier, Inc.