But these Realtors aren’t just “good” – they’re great. Fort Lauderdale’s Kasia Maslanka and Palm Coast’s Sandra Shank are 2023 NAR “Good Neighbor” finalists.
WASHINGTON – The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) selected 10 Realtors as finalists for its annual “Good Neighbor Awards,” and two of them call Florida home: Kasia Maslanka, a Realtor from Fort Lauderdale, and Sandra Shank, a Realtor from Palm Coast.
This award honors NAR members who make an extraordinary difference in their communities through volunteer work. Now in its 24th year, the Good Neighbor Awards recognize volunteers who donate time, money and passion to enrich the lives of people in their communities. Since 2000, NAR has awarded nearly $1.5 million to organizations across the country with support from sponsors like realtor.com.
“Each year, the Good Neighbor Awards serve as a poignant reminder of the heart and soul of our real estate community,” says NAR President Tracy Kasper. “It’s not just about buying or selling properties – it’s about investing in the places we call home.”
Maslanka, a Realtor with Douglas Elliman in Fort Lauderdale, co-founded Morningday Community Solutions to redirect overstocked or returned excess merchandise from retail businesses to nonprofits and people who need it. Over 13 years, they’ve saved nonprofits $9 million in spending and have diverted over 400 tons of unused products from landfills each year.
“It’s always so exciting. It’s like Santa coming to the door,” says Maslanka, who co-founded the organization. The merchandise, most still in boxes, is stacked on dozens of pallets – items like laptops, running shoes, school supplies, toasters and bedsheets. Sometimes, trucks are stuffed to the brim with never-opened toys and games and artificial Christmas trees.
In 2003, Shank, with Tag Ventures Real Estate Services Co. in Palm Coast, opened Hope House to give troubled teenage boys in Florida’s foster care system a supportive foundation. For 20 years, she’s housed and mentored 300 of the most vulnerable boys and now plans to break ground on an affordable housing project to provide holistic care for troubled families.
Her understanding of the challenge wasn’t just as an observer, it was deeply personal. Her own sister lost custody of three children, one of whom Shank was able to take in and raise.
“Good Neighbor Awards” finalists will receive a grant award to benefit their charitable cause, and five will ultimately be named winners as selected by judges and set criteria. Five will receive $10,000 grants and five, named honorable mentions, will receive $2,500 grants. Winners will be announced Oct. 5.
Finalists also have an opportunity to win additional money for their charity through a website voting contest.
Web choice favorite voting
Realtors can help Florida’s finalists through online voting. “Read their inspiring stories and choose your Web Choice Favorites,” NAR says. The top vote-getter will get an additional $2,500 for their charity, and two runners-up will each receive $1,250. Voting ends on Oct. 1, 2023, at 1 a.m. EST.
To vote, visit NAR’s Good Neighbor webpage.
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