In his role as director of engagement, diversity and inclusion at the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), Fred Underwood is responsible for engaging with local associations and members to increase diversity and inclusion in NAR's active membership and leadership positions. He serves as the primary staff liaison with four multicultural real estate organizations and provides workshops and training for local REALTOR® associations to promote inclusion and diversity.
In 2019, Underwood secured an agreement with NAR to work with the National Association of Real Estate Brokers and the Urban Institute to promote a five-part strategic framework with the goal of increasing African American homeownership. The initiative will emphasize local actions to address issues that directly impact communities.
Throughout his career, Underwood has advocated for equal housing opportunities, racial integration and diversity in the leadership of both communities and organizations. In the 1970s, he promoted integration and inclusion as a community organizer on Chicago's southwest side. He worked at both private and government fair housing agencies to enforce fair housing laws before joining NAR. In his nearly 30 years with the association, Underwood has staffed its committees and programs that address fair housing and diversity and promoted integration and equal opportunity.
"Leadership grows out of engagement," Underwood says. "Engaging members of diverse demographic groups will lead to greater inclusion of diversity in the leadership of an organization."