How the SIOR Foundation is helping to
educate, enrich, and empower current and
future real estate professionals
By Aaron Finkelstein
The news is clear: times are hard, but getting better. We’re
looking closely at the state of the markets, watching the signals of improvement: vacancy and conversion rates, rent figures, new construction starts. But who’s keeping an eye out
for the industry as a whole? Who is ensuring that the pipeline is filled not just with deals, but with the next generation
of commercial real estate brokers? The SIOR Foundation, a
nonprofit organization that supports the educational work of
the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors® (SIOR), has
made it their mission “to educate, expand and enrich the real
estate community.” By providing scholarships to students
and professionals, and funding local and national SIOR
initiatives and events, the Foundation (together with SIOR
itself) is investing in the future of the profession.
Nearly everyone in the industry is familiar with SIOR,
the leading commercial and industrial real estate brokerage
association. Their more than 3,000 members in 580 cities
in 28 countries are recognized transaction professionals and
market leaders, closing an average of 30 deals a year. Brokers
are distinguished by the SIOR designation as mature, experienced professionals with a deep commitment to increasing
their expertise and skills throughout their career.
As an organization, SIOR is a respected authority in the
commercial real estate industry, providing advisory reports
and data to the federal government and municipalities.
SIOR’s Center for Career Advancement (CCA) provides
industry-leading training, publications and educational
resources to brokers of all tenures. And, while SIOR member dues address some of these expenses, SIOR’s work in
educating and growing the industry would be impossible
without the support of the SIOR Foundation and its thousands of donors.
The Foundation will be celebrating its 50th anniversary
next year, and education has always been a core focus: the
original project in 1962 was to publish the first graduate-level textbook for industrial realtors. The leadership of the
foundation envisions one day offering full scholarships at
every college or university with an accredited real estate
Colliers International’s Allen Gump, SIOR, CCIM—who
assumed the SIOR Foundation presidency at the beginning
of 2011—says that the Foundation has become an important way for SIOR members to contribute to their community and their industry. “SIORs are, as a general rule, very
successful real estate brokers. The SIOR Foundation really
exemplifies those who have made giving back a serious part
of their lives,” notes Gump.
Over the past decade, the Foundation has awarded more
than $1 million in support through matching fund programs
with local SIOR chapters for scholarships, grant programs,
internships and community outreach. The Foundation also
supplies direct grants for curriculum development, industry
research, and its own scholarships such as the Mildred C.
Hanson, SIOR, Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded
to outstanding female undergraduates pursuing real estate
In the last fiscal year (ending August 2010) the Foundation
gave more than $135,000 in educational contributions,
nearly $95,000 of which was in the form of matching funds
awarded back to SIOR chapters.