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Pat Neal of Neal Communities Honored with 25th Annual Hearthstone Builder Humanitarian Award

May 07, 2024

In Recognition of His Exemplary Environmental Stewardship and Preservation Efforts in Florida

Photo by Will Vragovic

Zonda is proud to announce Pat Neal, founder and chairman of Neal Communities, as the recipient of the 2024 Hearthstone BUILDER Humanitarian Award, presented by BUILDER Magazine and Hearthstone. The 25th annual award was bestowed live at the Builder 100 event this week at the Ritz-Carlton in Dana Point, California.

“Building homes is a noble endeavor. Recognizing when to build and when to conserve that land for environmental preservation and public appreciation, is especially selfless,” said Jeff Meyers, CEO of Zonda. “Pat’s desire to both provide homes to people and protect nature and preserve history sets him apart as a true humanitarian.”

Hearthstone and BUILDER joined forces to recognize builders who are dedicated to giving back and making a difference in the community. Over the last 25 years, the Hearthstone BUILDER Humanitarian Award has given $7.65 million to various charities, making it the largest philanthropic award in the home building industry.

“I am honored to accept the Hearthstone award from Zonda and BUILDER Magazine, and in particular to be recognized for land preservation efforts both privately and through that of my company Neal Communities,” said Neal. “The natural resources of Florida have been of great importance to me for many years and are a priority for us at Neal Communities. With each community, we take great care in preserving important natural features, native plants and trees while also creating interconnected wildlife corridors and aquatic preserves so that people can experience and participate in the natural environment.”

Inspired by his father’s mantra, “land is forever,” Neal and his family have purchased and donated several pieces of land in Florida for conservation efforts, including:

  • A mixed wetland forest on Big Pine Key which was donated to the Trust for Public Land and became a significant piece of the National Key Deer Refuge.
  • The Neal Preserve, 119 acres donated to Manatee County to preserve the wetlands and create an area for environmental education and enjoyment.
  • Braden River Preserve, 30 acres donated to the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast.

Photo by Will Vragovic

In addition to his philanthropic gifts of land, Neal championed environmental stewardship when he served as a Florida Senator from 1974 to 1986. He was chairman of the Senate Natural Resources Committee, helped raise the Documentary Stamp Tax for conservation and recreational land acquisition, and spearheaded a number of environmental protection measures.

The Hearthstone BUILDER Humanitarian Award program is fully funded by a team of sponsors. Every dollar given is donated to the awardee’s associated charities. As this year’s award winner, Neal will receive $350,000, which will be donated to the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast.

“Hearthstone is proud to recognize Pat Neal of Neal Communities as our winner of the 2024 Hearthstone BUILDER Humanitarian Award,” said Mark Porath, CEO of Hearthstone. “Although Pat has given back to his community in so many ways, I think his most impactful contribution is his dedication to preserving Florida’s unique land and water ecosystems.”

The award recipient was chosen by a panel of top industry leaders with experience in humanitarian outreach.

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