October 15, 2021

September 2021 Community Investment

Vector art of various investments growing into a tree-like structure from the Alberta Real Estate Foundation logo

The Board of Governors of the Alberta Real Estate Foundation approved $446,920 in Investment Grants at their most recent Board Meeting. In total, the Foundation funded $901,920 through ten Investment Grants in 2021!

The Alberta Real Estate Foundation invests in real estate policy, research, practices, and education that strengthen Alberta’s communities. Under the Real Estate Act, whenever a consumer deposits money in trust through a real estate broker, property manager, or commercial broker, the interest earned on the deposit is accumulated and forwarded to the Foundation for reinvestment into Alberta’s communities. Individually, it is nickels and dimes, but across the province it all adds up! Since 1991, the Foundation has invested over $26.5 million in grants to over 665 initiatives across Alberta.

Join us in celebrating the Investment Grant projects approved at the September meeting that support and advance education, research, law reform, and other activities related to real estate in Real Estate Leadership, the Built Environment, and Land:

Advancing the Rural Alberta Real Estate Market Through Innovative Local Co-operatives
By the Alberta Centre for Sustainable Rural Communities
Real estate prices in rural communities are dependent upon two interrelated factors: the availability of good jobs, and the availability of a variety of services that make a community a desirable place to live. It is well known that rural communities have, for at least 2-3 decades, faced significant job losses and population decline in the face of globalization, the competitive pressure for economies of scale in agricultural production, and, most recently the fossil fuel industry downturn. This project aims to stabilize and improve the real estate market throughout rural Alberta over the long term by exploring and advocating for the potential inherent in new and innovative local cooperatives to act as significant stimulants in rural economic and community development throughout the province.

Studying the Impact of COVID-19 on the Commercial Real Estate Industry
By the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) Calgary
The Calgary Commercial Real Estate industry needs an updated economic impact analysis. Since the last analysis, more than 10 years ago, much has changed in the market. The COVID-19 pandemic and a sustained slump in the price of energy have impacted lease and vacancy rates. Through an economic impact analysis, this study will establish a baseline understanding of the current state of commercial real estate in Calgary. The research will be used to guide policy and legislation within the industry, and with decision-makers.

Protecting Real Estate Value Through Water Remediation Using Native Wetlands Plants: Phase 3A – Low-Cost Water Treatment Technology for Agricultural Real Estate
By Olds College
According to the Alberta Cattle Feeders Association, 80% of Canada’s cattle processing capacity is located in Alberta. Feedlot runoff can contain many different contaminants, including solid and dissolved organic matter, nutrients, salts, and heavy metals, among others. Conventional feedlot wastewater management often involves diverting it to a contained holding pond, where settling processes reduce high total suspended sediment loads, which is critical for reducing the concentration of nutrients. Constructed wetlands have been used to successfully treat feedlot wastewater, but lower-cost options, like floating treatment islands, are still largely uninvestigated, particularly in the Alberta climate. To date, only a handful of studies show the potential of floating treatment islands to treat feedlot effluent. This phase will seek to answer what designs are suitable for livestock feedlot operations, and what plants are suitable for the application of the floating island technology in cold climates.

Supporting Diversity through Inclusion in Commercial Real Estate
By the REET Institute
The commercial real estate industry lacks diversity. A recent study that included over 50 commercial real estate firms indicated that less than 15% of firms had a diversity and inclusion program; under 5% of companies had a budgetary item dedicated to diversity and inclusion; and only 23% of companies believed their diversity and inclusiveness efforts were effective. These statistics indicate that there is a need to make positive inroads towards fighting the systematic inequalities in the workplace and our communities. By creating a pipeline of diverse talent into the commercial real estate industry, we will be able to improve the outcomes for communities that are underrepresented in the space and improve the real estate industry by partnering with corporations to improve the different diversity and inclusion objectives. This project is a small first step in helping the REET Institute develop the next generation of owners and business leaders in the commercial real estate industry by providing access to skills and resources.

Enhancing Real Estate and Land Use Planning through Urban Farming in Alberta Municipalities
By the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), Urban Farming
Municipal decision-makers and planners recognize the key benefits in urban farming but knowledge or integration of sustainable practices with real estate opportunities is limited. Both promotion of sustainable practices and a better understanding of what occurs in urban farming in Alberta can aid cities to improve real estate values in order to attract diverse residents and maintain/improve our quality of life. This project aims to provide the real estate industry with knowledge on urban farms and the potential to maximize vacant real estate for Albertan cities. This research will benefit the real estate community by exploring alternative usages of urban spaces while improving industry and/or commercial use and the quality of life for residents in the area through policies and practices related to urban farming and sustainability.

Advancing the Westman Centre for Real Estate Studies
By the University of Calgary, Westman School of Real Estate
The Westman Centre for Real Estate Studies exists to create entrepreneurial and ethical leaders for Canada’s real estate industry by acting as a catalyst for the development of real estate industry professionals and a leading centre of excellence for real estate studies. The next step for the Westman Centre is to expand its presence and ensure its longevity. Anchored by the real estate value chain, the Westman Centre will ensure its programs, community engagement, and research activities are comprehensive, future-focused, and impactful to the industry. This program funding will ensure the voice of industry is involved in all aspects of the centre, setting it apart from other post-secondary programs. The Westman Centre will focus on engaging students from different disciplines and faculties to create entrepreneurial and ethical leaders for Canada’s real estate industry.

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