Log in Subscribe

Community Spotlight: John Neal Homes Continues Young Philanthropy Award with Surprise Guest at Manatee High School


Left to right: Laurie Breslin, MHS Assistant Principal; Heather McGuire;

John Neal; Senator Bill Galvano; Mary Glass, Manatee Education

Foundation Executive Director; Don Sauer, MHS Principal

John A. Neal, president of John Neal Homes, awarded Heather McGuire, a senior at Manatee High School, with a giant ceremonial $500 check on Thursday, December 5, 2013. McGuire, this year’s first Young Philanthropy Award winner, was also awarded a real $500 check for the charity she chose to write about in her essay submission, and the money was given to the non-profit organization on her behalf.

This is the fifth Young Philanthropy Award given out by the Lakewood Ranch based new homebuilder, who launched the program with the Manatee Education Foundation in 2012 at Manatee High School. Students submit essaysabout their favorite non-profit organizations for a chance to win a donation to that organization in their name. The John Neal Homes team picks a winner quarterly.

“As always, we were blown away while reading through the essay submissions. These students have such generous hearts and understand the value of giving back to their community,” said John Neal. “We are passionate about giving back as well, and if we can help instill a philanthropic spirit at an early age, it will mean huge things for our community down the line. That is truly the entire goal of this program,” said Neal. 

Heather McGuire wrote her essay about the Bill Galvano One Stop Center, which was founded by Senator Bill Galvano. “I toured the center last year and ever since, I have donated time and resources whenever I can,” said Heather McGuire, the winning Manatee High School senior. “A lot of other shelters only offer food or clothing, but the One Stop Center offers so much more; it encompasses anything anyone would ever need,” said McGuire.

The high school senior, who plans to major in politics, said it was an honor to meet her mentor. “As soon as he walked in the door, I had an idea that I may have won. Just meeting Senator Galvano was amazing but being able to also present a check to such a worthycause is a great honor,” she said.

Senator Bill Galvano attended the award presentation at the school. He thanked the students for their involvement and John Neal for creating the program. 

“John, thank you for not only engaging in so many philanthropic activities throughout our community but also for engaging our youth. If you realize now that you can make a difference, the world will be a better place. I've been a legislator for 12 years, and I have realized that philanthropy is the most important thing to really make a difference in someone's life. It takes people like all of you to decide to step out and make a difference. Heather- I read your essay- it was incredible and showed a lot of insight on your part.

Everyone is valuable and everyone deserves a chance- sometimes you just need a hand,” said Galvano referring to the center.

Heather McGuire joins the four outstanding award winners from 2012: Gabriela Belsito, a tenth grade student who wrote about HOPE Family Services, Taylor Zeisloft, a junior who wrote about the Christ Episcopal Food Pantry in Bradenton, Alexandria Servia, a tenth grade student who wrote about the Gulf Shore Animal League and Janaye Brown, a senior who chose theManatee Players.

John Neal Homes was the largest custom builder in Lakewood Ranch in 2012 and is currently building in Lakewood Ranch, Legends Bay, The Forest, Riva Isle, The Concession, and on privately owned homesites in Sarasota, Bradenton, Venice, Parrish, Siesta Key, and Freeport, Bahamas. The company is completely integrated to benefit its customers, with its engineering and building team, plus PureStyle design services and Waterscapes’ pools, the fifth largest pool company in the state. Established in 2010, John Neal Homes garners a 99.8% positive customer referral rate and is a testament to the customer service offered by John Neal Homes. John Neal is a fourth generation builder in theNeal family and under his pioneering leadership, the John Neal Homes team builds on more than four decades of experience. John Neal is a dedicated community advocate and philanthropist.  

He sits on several community boards including the Manatee County Red Cross, the State College of Florida, and is an incoming board member of theManatee County Chamber of Commerce. John also sits on the Environmental Lands Action Committee for Manatee County and continually takes an active role in advocating for and supporting his community.

The company's honors and accolades include Aurora Awards for models in The Country Club at Lakewood Ranch and Country Club East and several Parade of Homes awards from the Home Builder’s Association. John Neal was named as one of the Gulf Coast Business Review’s 40 under 40 in 2011 and a person to watch by Biz941. John Neal Homes is a custom builder that designs homes in planned communities as well as on your lot. For more information go to www.homesbyjohnneal.com.


No comments on this item

Only paid subscribers can comment
Please log in to comment by clicking here.