The Appraisal Institute in collaboration with Fannie Mae and the National Urban League recently announced the first class of 2021 aspiring real estate appraisers receiving scholarships through the Appraiser Diversity Initiative.
The scholarship recipients were Jamilah Abdur Rahman, Philadelphia; Angela Anderson, Portsmouth, Rhode Island; Heather Boyd, Waynesville, North Carolina; Vernon Davis, Jr, New Orleans; Devyn Gonzalez, Dallas; Akil Henderson, White Plains, Maryland; Theresa Kennedy, Atlantic City, New Jersey; Melinda Kitchens, Florence, Montana; Abby Reichner, Zephyrhills, Florida; Kristeen Reynolds, Port Arthur, Texas; Ophelia Robinson, Alexandria, Virginia; Heather Vallier, Jacksonville, Florida; Alea Walker, Columbus, Georgia; and April Zadow, Urbandale, Iowa.
“Achieving equity in homeownership and building generational wealth is challenging when the gate keepers don’t reflect who we are or see the value in where we live,” said Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League. “We’re proud to help build a pipeline of diverse appraisers through our Entrepreneurship Centers that empower Black homeowners and communities.”
Working primarily through the National Urban League’s regional Entrepreneurship Centers and other community partners, the joint initiative is an effort to increase diversity and representation in the appraisal profession. The initiative educates candidates about real estate appraisal, provides resources for interested candidates to put them on the path to success and facilitates mentorship from practicing appraisers.
“Representation is a leading force for equity and inclusion in every profession and residential property appraisers play a vital role in the American dream of homeownership,” said Appraisal Institute President Rodman Schley, MAI, SRA. “We recognize that recruiting for greater diversity will make us stronger and more representative of the communities we work in and contribute to greater cultural awareness within our profession.”
The scholarships are funded by the Appraisal Institute Education and Relief Foundation, which has committed $150,000 over three years to the Appraiser Diversity Initiative. The scholarships cover the three entry level courses required of appraisers and winners are matched with advisers who help them through the education and credentialing process.
This program stands alongside regular workshops facilitated by the National Urban League throughout the U.S. to introduce audiences to the appraisal profession as a high-impact, high-reward career option.
“Appraisers are a critical part of the home financing process,” said Jake Williamson, vice president, valuations at Fannie Mae. “We are proud of the new class of scholarship winners, who along with winners over the past two years, are helping to expand diversity in the profession.”
This partnership is one of a growing number of programs spearheaded by organizations working to carry the appraisal profession forward. The Appraisal Institute, the American Society of Appraisers, the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers and the Massachusetts Board of Real Estate Appraisers have combined resources to develop training that addresses potential unconscious bias in valuation. The Appraisal Institute is also working with policymakers such as Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) on how to bolster fair housing programs and develop solutions to mortgage credit problems.
Click here for more information on the Appraiser Diversity Initiative.