Gloria Vinson, a member of the Northeast Florida Association of REALTORS® (NEFAR), was one of five winners in the 13th annual Volunteering Works grants and mentoring program sponsored by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) and the association’s Good Neighbor Society. The program awards funding to REALTORS® who work on small-scape charitable efforts while matching them with mentors in their field.
Vinson, broker/owner/ property manager of Landco Properties in Jacksonville, was recognized for her work with The Vinson Foundation, Inc. a nonprofit that supports families who have lost a loved one to suicide. Vinson founded the nonprofit in 2017 in response to her husband’s death by his own hand.
As one of the five Volunteering Works recipients, Vinson will receive a $1,000 seed grant and a year of one-on-one mentoring from a member of the National Association of REALTORS® Good Neighbor Society. The Good Neighbor Society is comprised of past recipients of NAR’s annual Good Neighbor Awards, the highest honor the national association awards to REALTORS® that are involved in community service.
“Amid the changes and challenges that have been introduced into all our lives over the past year, these amazing recipients have continued to step forward in ways that leave a lasting, positive mark on our world,” said NAR President Charlie Oppler. “I am so proud to support these volunteers and their important work, which illustrates the commitment REALTORS® make to their neighbors and neighborhoods.”
Vinson and the other four Volunteering Works recipients were selected based on their devotion to their communities through volunteer endeavors and the potential for their good works to be expanded or improved upon with the help of an expert mentor.
“Gloria’s volunteer time and efforts are felt throughout the Northeast Florida. Like many of our members, Gloria’s servitude extends beyond service to her family and customers. It influences the fabric of our community,” said NEFAR President Missi Howell. “We applaud her and are glad that the National Association has recognized her for her contributions.”
In supporting families who have lost a loved one to suicide, The Vinson Foundation, Inc., helps fund professional counseling and provide funeral services for families who cannot afford it. By receiving the grant, Vinson will receive guidance Gail Doxie of RE/MAX Realty in Ft. Myers, Florida, who will help Vinson find methods to build support and raise money for mental health treatment for families impacted by suicide in Northeast Florida. Doxie was the winner of NAR’s 2020 Good Neighbor Award.
Vinson said she was thrilled to win the Volunteering Works award. With the grant money she hopes to provide more for families impacted by suicide and hopes to learn much from working with Doxie. “I’m looking forward to working with her as my mentor because she will help me to help others, whether it is through fundraising or volunteering, and I hope that I will be able to mentor someone else down the road,” she said.
“I lost my husband to suicide in 2013, and afterwards I joined the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Later they made me a board member, and I served on their board for more than four years,” explained Vinson. “I have always respected their focus on research, education, and prevention, but I wanted to start an organization that would focus on supporting the families left behind,” she said, noting that her foundation facilitates eight family support group meetings a month reaching all of Jacksonville and its surrounding communities. The Vinson Foundation also helps pay for professional mental health counseling for both adults and children as well as funeral expenses for families that can’t afford it.
“Death by suicide is triple the pain of any other unexpected death. A lot of insurance companies do not cover suicides. We take calls 24/7, and we help families with anything they need. Coping with suicide is a lot for a family to assume, and we try to help them through it. That is what we are about.”
Also winning Volunteering Works grants were Eduardo Aguire of San Francisco, Calif; Ryan Gable of Schaumburg, Ill.; Kathleen Tubbs of Seminole, Fla.; and Jane Page Thompson of Aiken, S.C.