The SIOR Foundation also provided more than $75,000 in
matching funds for scholarships, the majority to college students
pursuing real estate studies in accredited programs. Although this
is part of the Foundation’s work year in and year out, Gump recognizes that such contributions are as important as ever right now.
“Many of the best and brightest students that we see in graduate-level real estate studies are working their way through college
and have to significant student loans. This can be a difficult business for someone coming right of college at the best of times; an
economy like this makes it that much harder,” says Gump.
“I remain hopeful,” says SIOR Immediate Past President
Lynn Reich, SIOR, CCIM, FRICS. Reich, a 30-year veteran of
commercial real estate and executive vice president of Colliers
International in greater Chicago, is sees encouraging signs in this
past year’s increase in SIOR applications, and the success of the
Foundation’s December fundraising phone-a-thon which raised
more than $120,000. Although she agrees starting out in a com-mission-based business can be challenging, “…if you have the
entrepreneurial bent, you’re going to evaluate your risk versus
reward, your upside. We’re an entrepreneurial nation, and as long
as there’s business to be done, young people will continue to pursue our industry.”
Reich and SIOR’s leadership are focused on the future of
the industry, and, she notes, “Making sure there’s a pipeline of
young folks who aspire to be in our business.” They have plans
to mobilize the young professional segment within SIOR—
members under the age of 45—to engage those interested in real estate
careers, and also to be more active within the existing membership. What’s more, the SIOR Foundation this year funded an
update to the core SIOR CCA professional courses, and will
under-write revisions of many of the electives in 2011-12. “We
want to ensure that SIOR continues to provide value, and our
offering is relevant to the next generation coming up,” explains
This curriculum development is only one example of the SIOR
Foundation’s many other activities beyond awarding scholarships.
The Foundation funds university programs in real estate studies,
grants money to support research and articles (including, in 2009-
2010, more than a dozen articles in SIOR’s Professional Report
industry magazine), and has helped local chapters commission
municipal market condition report cards for the use of developers
and companies planning to relocate. The Foundation also assists
chapters with their community outreach programs, matching educational speaker fees at industry events that are often combined
with a charitable event.
The Foundation accomplishes all this with a corpus built
entirely on donations. “SIOR members provide a significant
amount of the capital we use to fund educational programs,” says
Gump, but The SIOR Foundation does not receive sup-port from
SIOR membership dues.
The SIOR Foundation has proposed “The 1% Solution,” a call
for SIOR members to make a tax-deductible donation of one percent of all their commissions, whether on their own deals or those
on which they’ve collaborated with other SIORs.
Although financial donations are impor-tant, Reich notes there
are many further ways to contribute: “You can teach courses,
lead roundtables, serve on committees, be a regional director. We
would always like to see more professionals get involved.”