ULI Philadelphia’s mission is to shape the future of the built environment for transformative impact in communities worldwide. ULI’s mission is unattainable without hearing, understanding and amplifying more diverse perspectives involved and engaged in solving today’s land use and urban development challenges. We recognize how homogenous ULI and most of the greater real estate industry remain. While Women’s Leadership Initiative, UrbanPlan and existing content address aspects of diversity, more work remains. To truly fulfill our mission, we need leadership, membership and programming that is more representative, and responsive to the needs, of the populations within which we work. That’s why we are intent on cultivating, fostering and nurturing a culture of inclusion.
Our goal is to increase and promote diversity, equity and inclusion at ULI Philadelphia and in the real estate industry as a whole in our region. This work builds on and complements ULI America’s priority and work on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
In order to accomplish this mission, we have appointed a group of advisors responsible for providing strategic guidance and implementing systems to plan, execute and track our initiative throughout all of our activities. This includes engaging all Chairs and leaders within ULI to implement this mission.
We prioritize increasing the diversity of:
- ULI Leadership (The Advisory Board and Committee Leadership)
- The Membership
- Attendees of programs and events
- Members involved in product councils, committees and affinity groups
Our strategy focuses on creating a welcoming environment for historically underrepresented diverse populations based on, but not limited to:
- Race and Ethnicity
- LGBTQ status
- Gender identity
We have focused on engaging existing members, attracting new members and encouraging the next generation to consider real estate and planning as a career path. We recognize that our role is not just about representation and creating a welcoming, inclusive environment within ULI Philadelphia but also about the role and responsibility that we have as leaders in the industry. We will continue leveraging our platform and convening function to bring education, influence and networks to the industry as a whole.
The goal of this document is to create a framework for action to create a measurable impact in addressing diversity, equity and inclusion within the ULI Philadelphia organization and within real estate as an industry as well as positively impacting our community by addressing subject matters related to race and real estate.
Specifically, we want to create a pathway for improved diversity, equity and inclusion among ULI Philadelphia leadership and our members. We want to convene conversations regarding race and real estate, recognizing the specific role that our industry has played in perpetuating systemic racism. We want to increase content available in our region related to race and real estate.
In order to pursue our mission and goals, we established a group of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) advisors to guide the direction of this effort and to implement this initiative across the organization. This group is responsible for setting and measuring goals. This group is responsible for finding leaders within the organization to take responsibility for each initiative and in managing their progress. The responsibility of implementing the initiatives belongs to the entire organization. Every Chair of a ULI Philadelphia Council or Committee also makes a commitment to contribute to these objectives.
The categories below describe the types of projects, big and small, we have or will undertake to advance this framework.
ULI Organizational Work
- Membership: We seek to increase representation of all underrepresented groups within our own organization by adding value intentionally for these practitioners; we seek to engage these members on our councils, committees and through our policy work targeting specific committees that are currently predominantly white and male. Consider tools such as scholarships and ambassadors to achieve this.
- Leadership: We commit to creating and maintaining a welcoming environment for individuals from underrepresented groups and ensure a pathway to leadership. Support our leadership by providing unconscious bias and related training.
- Content: We ensure that our content serves the needs of minority communities, in particular people of color and Black and Brown individuals who have disproportionately suffered from systemic racism. This includes topics exploring race and real estate, such as: workforce development, affordable housing, community involvement, redlining and the long-term impacts of racism in real estate.
- Events: We will be mindful of the venues and vendors we use; and increase the diversity within our panels, specifically including women and people of color as content contributors (not moderators). Provide platforms for senior leaders of color in real estate.
- Member Tools: We will continue creating tools to support ULI members in planning for diverse content, speakers and locations. Create opportunities for ULI members to financially support or donate resources to DEI initiatives such as membership scholarships and programming support.
- Partnership: We intentionally engage with wide-ranging stakeholders that support minority communities and explore opportunities to leverage our platform to support their work.
- Influence: We share this work with our sponsors, Advisory Board and members by instituting commitments, trainings and other strategies. This includes but is not limited to trainings, anti-Racism commitments and efforts to designate staff from underrepresented backgrounds to serve as ULI leads. Visibly support diverse groups and causes via the ULI platform.
Real Estate Industry Reach
- Promote Equitable Development: develop programming around applied projects that engage minority communities in all aspects of development. Highlight these projects and promote practices that allow more resources to flow to minority practitioners. Scale training programs that support community organizations, such as UrbanPlan for community organizations.
- Education: Create a program of work, including possible research, on the history of systemic racism; share this widely as a means to recon with history and address specific barriers.
- Youth Engagement & Exposure: expand and support programming that serves youth (high school and college students), including mentorship, UrbanPlan, and specific partnership or outreach initiatives targeted to the next generations and increasing exposure for youth in underrepresented communities.
- Hiring & Talent: Explore content and programming to support organizations seeking to enhance talent, recruitment and inclusion.
- Access to Capital & Relationships for Minority Development Professionals: Seek programming or initiatives that directly provide skills, relationships or access to capital and resources required to participate in transactions; including partnerships with organizations supporting a similar effort (do not reinvent the wheel).
- Best Practices: Consider advisory services or other community-oriented opportunities that create practices that can be shared with the development community and organizations trying to tackle these challenges.