2009 Good Neighbor Award Recipient, Mary White

We are proud to announce the selection of Great Barrington REALTOR® Mary White as the Berkshire County Board of REALTORS 2009 Good Neighbor Award winner. Our 2009 recipient of this honor, Mary White, broker owner of Barnbrook Realty, devotes a considerable amount of time, money, effort and advocacyMaryWhite150 to improve her community, through volunteer service in many organizations in Berkshire County and to planning boards, housing coalitions and her local REALTOR® association.

In the past 16 months, Mary has worked tirelessly for:

• Berkshire Children’s Chorus
• Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire
• Construct Inc.
• Great Barrington Rotary Club
• Interfaith Committee of Southern Berkshire
• St. Peter Church

Collectively, Mary has contributed and inspired almost 500 hours of service to these organizations and generated donations in excess of $15,000. Hundreds, if not thousands of Berkshire residents are directly affected by the work done and the spirit embodied by Mary. The organizations where she serves in leadership roles raise millions of dollars for those in need in southern Berkshire. Mary sees what is sometimes referred to as the “hidden homeless” and needy in our community, and she helps every chance she gets. We look to her as a role model and inspiration.

Mary has served the REALTOR® association tirelessly for many years, and was awarded the prestigious ‘REALTOR® of the Year Award in 1996 for her service. She has been elected to serve on the Board of Directors for many years, culminating as President in 2003 and currently serves on the Professional Standards Committee and Multiple Listing Service Board of Directors.

Mary White’s Charitable Work in Detail: From 2008-2009

Berkshire Children’s Chorus

Born in Ireland, Mary came to the United States when she was 14 years old, to live with an Aunt in Boston, Massachusetts. Combining her love of both of her homelands, Mary began an annual charitable event surrounding her beloved Saint Patrick’s Day. With Brian Killeen, Mary annually hosts and funds a Saint Patrick’s Night Out. This year, Mary selected the Berkshire Children’s Chorus as the recipient charity.

The event is funded entirely by Mary and Brian, whereby they pay all expenses associated with the party to ensure that every dollar contributed by attendees will go directly to the charity chosen. This year they hosted a dinner at Castle Street Café, which featured hors d’oeuvres, a three course dinner and live entertainment. The event was sold out and made the Berkshire Children’s Chorus conservatively $4,050 from contributions of those in attendance. The dinner guests paid $50 per person and there were 81 attendees.

Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire

CDC South Berkshire is a very small, community-based non-profit whose primary focus is affordable housing and commercial real estate development for job creation. Mary serves on the CDC Board of Directors and works in identifying buildable land, picking the projects that will be set for development, approving the design of the plans, managing the project through to completion, raising funds through state grants, federal grants, and some community contributions. When the building project is complete, the CDC turns the housing over to Construct, Inc. to manage the property (see following page for Mary’s work with Construct).

Current projects include the redevelopment of an 8-acre brownfield site in the center of Great Barrington, a 50-unit mixed income town-home project in Lenox and a 10-unit affordable rental project now under construction in Great Barrington. The CDC’s development priorities are: Green building, alternative and highly efficient energy use, and smart land use encouraging high-density town centers, protection of open space and easy access to public transportation.

Mary has served continuously on the Board of Directors for the past three years, and has volunteered for the CDC for a total of 6 years (she took 2 years off while caring for her ailing husband.)

Construct Inc.

Volunteers with Construct are driven to help those who cannot help themselves. The basic needs of shelter and food are provided in many different ways. Mary uses her real estate expertise, enthusiasm, contacts and knowledge to assist in many projects of the organization. She serves as a volunteer real estate consultant, serves as a member of the Board of Directors and is a tireless volunteer and fundraiser for Construct. Mary helps identify potential affordable housing developments, acts as an advisor on site locations, property rehabilitation, reuse and viability.

She also volunteers and devotes time, talent, money and connections to fundraising projects. The lion share of Construct’s income is derived from fundraising activities. In 2007, volunteers raised $325,082 and almost $350,000 in 2008. Annually, Mary serves as a Marshall on the Walk Committee, and on the MayFest Gala committee, both of which are the largest fund raisers of the year. The walk to Prevent Homelessness is held each October and last year generated $41,000 from volunteer walkers and their sponsors. Mary was an underwriter of the 2008 MayFest and helped recruit volunteers and donated time and money to this project.

Mary also joined other Realtors in the complete refurbishment of the Jordan House, sober apartments for Construct clients. This involved physical work as well as fundraising. Mary was also instrumental in offering First Time Homebuying seminars in order to further Construct’s mission of providing financial assistance and counseling as a way to mitigate homelessness.

Great Barrington Rotary Club

Mary has been a Rotarian for 14 years, and served for 10 years on their Board of Directors. She continued her volunteerism but stepped down from the Board when her husband became ill and has since rejoined the Board of Directors in the planning of their fundraising projects.

Mary coordinates and works two pancake breakfasts each year, one for the Girls Club and one for the Boys Club. This year, between $3,000-4,000 was raised for each organization at the breakfast. She is active in the Breaking Bread Kitchen, cooking preparing and serving meals for those in need. Mary also contributes and extraordinary amount of time to their largest fundraising event, the Golf Tournament. This is a huge project that raised $40,000 toward scholarships. In addition, Mary volunteered for the Fundraising Fashion Show that generated $6,000 that went directly to a new water filtration system for a school in Cambodia.

Interfaith Committee of Southern Berkshire

Mary has been a member of Interfaith to help provide a forum for religious discussions and to build awareness and understanding of other faiths and how members of a community can live and work respectfully and peacefully amid different faiths.

Mary serves as Treasurer on the Board of Directors and is very active in two primary events of Interfaith, a October dinner meeting and a Martin Luther King Day event. The dinner this year sold out, with over 250 attending. The group was led by Mary and her co-chair from the local synagogue. There was a dinner, guest speaker and all proceeds were donated to a local charity. On Martin Luther King Day, there is an event held at a local church, temple, or house of worship in honor of diversity and peace.

She also works on the ‘Breaking Bread’ Kitchen Team for Thursday night meals that draw up to 80 people seeking comfort, substance and solace.

St Peter’s Church

Mary has been a communicant of Saint Peter’s Church for 15 years, serving in a variety of volunteer capacities. Mary works with church volunteers and clergy to Raise funds for the Church and the families in the parish who are in need. Mary has been head of the Fund Raising Committee for well over 4 years. Mary personally hosts 2 large fund raising dinners each year, car raffle and participates at all other fundraising events.