With the commencement of the 2017-2018 school year, we turn our attention in this column to highlighting what some of our people are doing to support the commercial real estate community.
NAI Global professionals are involved in dozens of community-based organizations throughout the U.S. and across the globe, but one association engagement stands out -- The Society of Industrial and Office REALTORS® (SIOR) and the SIOR Foundation. Like other brokerage firms in our industry, many NAI people have the prestigious SIOR designation (among others), and a few of them are deeply involved with SIOR. They are making a difference in our communities.
In St. Louis, MO, Robert J. (Bob) Staniforth, SIOR and a Vice President with NAI Desco, has been an SIOR for 21 years. He has served as Past President for both the St. Louis SIOR Chapter, and the international SIOR Foundation.
As the Foundation recently celebrated its 55th anniversary in 2017 it continues to develop and promote educational initiatives, as well as working to enhance and expand the commercial real estate community in a variety of ways. Staniforth and his colleagues have helped pioneer a college scholarship program that the Foundation is now endeavoring to roll out nationally in multiple markets.
In partnership with Saint Louis University (which has the required criteria of a real estate-focused curriculum), the SIOR St. Louis Chapter introduced the “matching funds program” and has thus elevated scholarship grants from a few thousand dollars a year to $24,000 annually, which typically benefits three or four students at Saint Louis University (SLU).
“The fact that we were able to significantly increase our financial aid (in the form of grants) has really had an impact on these students’ lives. $6,000 or $8,000 is a meaningful grant in today’s economy, and we are very pleased with the level of enthusiasm and support we are getting from the university, and the appreciation from the students,” said Staniforth.
Here’s how it works: The St. Louis SIOR chapter contributed $6,000, matched by the national SIOR Foundation for a total contribution of $12,000, which in turn was matched by SLU for a total scholarship fund of $24,000.
At the February SIOR luncheon and members meeting in St. Louis, three students from Saint Louis University's John Cook School of Business were introduced as the SIOR 2016-17 Scholars at SLU. Seniors Austin Peterson, Keely Resing and Kevin Toner had the opportunity to network with members of the SIOR local chapter. Each student has received an $8,000 scholarship from SIOR for this academic year. It is the third year for the scholarship program with Saint Louis University.
In addition to the matching funds program, SIOR has been instrumental in establishing an annual scholarship grant for young women pursuing college educations that include the field of real estate.
Once a year the SIOR Foundation presents The Millie Award to a woman that is active in SIOR, has established a distinguished career, provides outstanding service to the Society and has made significant strides in the commercial real estate industry as a female.
Further, the Mildred C. Hanson, SIOR, Memorial Fund was created to support and honor pioneering women in commercial real estate. It was named in honor of Millie Hanson, SIOR, who passed away in December of 2007. Once a year the fund grants a scholarship (usually $4,000) to one female college student pursing a degree in real estate or a related degree with significant coursework in real estate.
During her 34-year career, Millie Hanson brokered deals valued at more $1 billion. Millie was named the Top Sales Associate of 2005 and 2006 for NAI Global’s affiliate in Hackensack NJ, NAI James Hanson Real Estate. She was a 25-year member of SIOR. Her husband of many years, Peter O. Hanson, SIOR, CIPSs, remains active in the business with NAI in New Jersey. He was the SIOR National President in 1985 and is a Past President of the SIOR Foundation and is a Foundation Trustee.