WE ALL KNOW THAT HOME BUILDERS ARE actively engaged members of their communities. After all, we live in the communities we build. We send our kids to school there, shop there, and enjoy the benefits that a sense of community instills in us, such as establishing relationships with our neighbors, friends, and families.

The 220,000 members of the NAHB are a generous group, and every year they undertake thousands of philanthropic projects across the country in the communities where they live.

Some are as small as providing free carbon monoxide detectors to residents, an awareness campaign launched after a tragedy claimed one of a community's promising young college students.

Some harness the energies of the community at large, involving numerous members, business groups, and local leaders in building a Habitat for Humanity house, constructing a HomeAid shelter, or engaging in an all-out blitz to make home repairs for the elderly, the disabled, or veterans returning from the Middle East.

Still others receive national attention for their good works. Shea Homes, Centex Homes, and Jacksonville, Fla.'s Builders Care have been featured on the hit television show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

No matter the size, all of these efforts are tremendously significant to the people who directly benefit from the support. However, the community is also enhanced, and NAHB members benefit by using their unique talents to affect people in ways that others can't.

SPOTLIGHT ON GOOD WORKS That's why I'm so pleased to announce a partnership with the National Housing Endowment to establish the National Housing Endowment Builder Achievement Award for Outstanding Community Service. This new award will shine a light on the good works of our members across the country, celebrate these builders as philanthropic leaders, and provide examples for others to emulate.

Eight honorees will win money to be donated to the charity of their choice and will be recognized in a presentation at the International Builders' Show in January.

The gold honoree will win $10,000; the silver honoree, $5,000; and the bronze honoree, $2,500. Each of the five honorable mention honorees will win $1,000. In addition to the cash prizes, the winners will each receive a one-page, magazine-style promotional piece to use with their marketing materials, and a press release will be distributed to their local media. They will also be recognized on the NAHB Web site.

I encourage all NAHB builder, developer, and remodeler members to consider entering this new awards program. The deadline is Nov. 18, 2005, and the entry should consist of charitable work performed during the 2005 calendar year. Entrants should submit a short narrative and supporting materials, including news clips, photos, and any other pertinent documentation.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Washington, DC.