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The Urban Land Institute (ULI) and its Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) has been gifted $90,000 from Hines, a global real estate investment firm, to support the creation of WLI Hines Innovation Grants, the organization recently announced. The goal of the Grants is to help raise the visibility and number of women in leadership roles in the real estate industry and within ULI’s membership.

“We are extremely grateful for this generous support from Hines,” says Ralph Boyd, CEO of ULI Americas. “It will help greatly in advancing ULI’s efforts to improve leadership opportunities for women in all areas of the real estate profession. More inclusivity leads to better ideas, better decisions, and better outcomes for our industry and our communities.”

The three-year gift will advance the work of the WLI, which has a presence in 43 cities and eight countries as part of ULI’s District Councils and National Councils, the member networks serving Institute members locally in the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific. Since the WLI’s creation in 2012, it has conducted major research projects in the U.S. and Asia Pacific on improving leadership opportunities for women in the industry; awarded scholarships to women to enable them to attend ULI’s annual meetings; and secured a rising number of speaking opportunities for female members at ULI events.

A portion of the WLI Hines Innovation Grants will be used to support WLI activities conducted by ULI Houston, the District Council serving ULI members in Houston, where Hines’ global headquarters is located. The remainder of the funds will support select WLI activities by other District Councils, which will be chosen through an annual competition that will take place in 2018, 2019 and 2020. The first round of grant winners will be announced at ULI’s 2018 Fall Meeting in Boston.

“Hines is committed to an inclusive culture in which everyone has equal opportunity to achieve their maximum potential,” says Jeff Hines, CEO of Hines. “We are honored to partner with ULI, who also shares this belief that diversity makes companies stronger and better able to serve investors, partners, clients and communities.”

“Hines is pleased to once again partner with ULI on an important industry-changing initiative,” says Sherri Schugart, a member of the Hines Executive Committee and executive sponsor of the OneHines Women’s Network. “From our own internal programs, to the new WLI Hines Innovation Grants, we look forward to continuing our support and enhancing the experience for women in commercial real estate.”

Hines is a sustaining member of ULI. Gerald D. Hines, the firm’s founder and chairman, is one of ULI’s longest-serving members, having joined the Institute in 1960. He was named the recipient of the ULI J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development in 2002. He also created one of ULI’s most successful programs, the annual Hines Student Competition, which challenges graduate students to create development proposals for urban sites in North America. More than 7,400 students have participated in the competition since its first year in 2003. Over the years, the number of female students participating in the program has risen steadily; in the 2017 competition, half the participants were women.   

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