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Sheila Stevens wins Good Neighbor Award

Real Estate Agent with Prudential Georgia Realty



CHICAGO (October 23, 2008) - RealtorÒ Sheila Stevens, a sales associate with Prudential Georgia Realty in Albany, Ga., is one of five winners chosen by the National Association of RealtorsÒ to receive REALTORÒ Magazine's 2008 Good Neighbor Award. Stevens was selected for founding The Sport of Giving Inc., a community nonprofit that funds breast cancer treatment and prevention activities.

 "RealtorsÒ play an important leadership role in building strong communities," said NAR President Dick Gaylord, a broker with RE/MAX Real Estate Specialists in Long Beach, Calif. "These five Good Neighbor Awards winners exemplify the compassion and commitment of thousands of other RealtorsÒ who volunteer in their communities and help so many others. I'm pleased to honor these exceptional professionals."

As founder and president of the Sport of Giving Inc., Stevens combined her self-identified spiritual gifts of leadership, giving, and empathy with deep affection for her late mother, who died of colon cancer at age 54.

Over five months of intense work, Stevens organized the first two-day Volley for a Cure women's tennis tournament in Duluth, Ga. The May 2001 event included 56 women and raised $22,000 for the DeKalb Medical Hospital Breast Cancer Research Fund.

"Initially, it was hard for me to ask people for help, but what made it easier was that it wasn't for me but for a greater cause," said Stevens. "While my mother died of colon cancer, I thought a related cause that affected a large number of women would be equally as meaningful. Almost every woman knows someone who has had breast cancer." 

Stevens found the first effort so fulfilling that she was determined to bring the tournament to other neighborhoods and wanted all the funds to be donated locally. "I wanted to keep the money they raised in their own neighborhoods so people could see tangible results," she said.

Stevens' skill at pairing the right person with the right task is a major reason for her organization's success. "Sheila sees in individuals what they can best contribute," says board member Kristen Sapp.

The Sport of Giving has consistently exceeded its yearly fundraising goals, raising more than $1 million through annual tennis and golf tournaments, running events and other fundraisers. This spring's fundraiser at 10 Atlanta-area sites raised a record $250,000 with over 650 men, women and children participating.

The program supports a variety of local breast cancer initiatives, from a providing a diagnostic mammography center and a mobile mammography van to purchasing treatment handbooks for patients and reaching out to women in the community who would not otherwise have access to a mammogram.

Stevens' efforts have help fill troubling health care gaps in the community. Funds from The Sport of Giving have been used to help renovate and expand the Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation's diagnostic center in Lawrence, Ga. "It would have been years before the hospital system could have come up with the money," says Ginger Powell, director of development at the foundation.

Success has propelled Stevens to work even harder. Between January 2007 and May 2008, she volunteered almost 1,500 hours and contributed $7,000 in personal funds. She's now focused on adding more sports venues, sponsors, a monthly e-mail newsletter, a fashion fundraiser, and information about cancer prevention on the organization's Web site.

"Everybody has a purpose," said Stevens. "I'm doing this for my mother, the women it helps, and to maybe fulfill why God put me here."

Stevens and the other four Good Neighbor Award winners will each receive a $10,000 grant for their charity, a $2,000 Lowe's gift card and will be profiled in the November issue of REALTORÒ  Magazine, www.realtor.org/realtormag. Winners also receive a crystal trophy and the right to use the Good Neighbor Awards logo on their Web site and in promotional materials. The recipients will be presented with their awards at the 2008 REALTORSÒ Conference & Expo in Orlando, Fla., in November; 25,000 RealtorsÒ and guests are expected to attend the conference.

"The 2008 REALTORÒ Magazine Good Neighbor Awards winners epitomize everything a volunteer should be - dedicated, generous, and passionate about their cause," said NAR Vice President of Publications Pamela Geurds Kabati, REALTOR® Magazine's editorial director. "We hope these RealtorsÒ inspire others around the country to give back to their communities."

REALTORÒ Magazine's Good Neighbor Awards is sponsored by eNeighborhoods, which has supported the program since its inception in 2000, as well as Homes.com, Lowe's and LandAmerica. A contribution also was made by Phil McGinnis, McGinnis Commercial Real Estate, Dover, Del.