2012 - Another successful year for RREF fundraising

2012 saw RREF celebrate our 10th Anniversary and remain true to our founding principles by continuing to innovate and seize every opportunity to make a difference. With the continued support of our many kind donors, our established activities continue to thrive and fresh support has enabled us to launch new initiatives to complement them over the past year.

The most notable of these is undoubtedly Pathways to Property, a project which aims to increase diversity in the property industry. The industry has long recognised its lack of diversity as an issue but had been slow to address it, not having a clear idea of how to proceed. The result of this appetite for change was that within months of RREF putting together a proposal with a suggested suite of targeted activities, £480k had been raised and the project was formally launched with a speech from Chris Grigg (CEO, British Land) at the RREF Annual Dinner. In addition to key support from British Land and The Sutton Trust (an educational charity interested in social mobility) we count several key firms as our partners in this initiative. A full-time Project Officer is now in place to drive the scheme forwards and we have even received a letter from Government commending the programme.

RREF Annual Fund2012 also saw the launch of The RREF Annual Fund. The aim of the Fund is to support the next generation of property professionals by encouraging alumni to contribute to areas of strategic importance with regular donations. It is about collective philanthropy and alumni coming together to help build for the future of real estate and planning. Even the most modest donation can make a significant difference when combined with the contributions of others. The inaugural RREF Telethon, held in September, was the first Annual Fund appeal and raised a fantastic £22,800 (counted over five years).

Bursary provision received a huge boost last year with support from several new donors. The 1725 Drivers Jonas Bursary has been established by Trustees of The 1725 Heritage Trust to provide support to two students each year, for ten years, and a group of friends and colleagues of the late George Fiennes (BSc Estate Management, 1973) donated to jointly establish a bursary in his memory. This influx of donations means that we were able to disburse more financial support to students in 2012 than ever before and by April we had already awarded over £71,000 to students to help relieve the heavy burden of financial concerns. This demonstrates just how far support for RREF has come since 2002 when the bursary disbursements averaged £7,000 a year.

A gift from Oxford Properties Group has enabled us to establish a prize for the best project by MSc Real Estate students on the sustainability practices used by real estate companies. This prize presents a valuable opportunity to reward excellent academic performance whilst also encouraging students to think about mitigating the impact of development on the environment.

The initiatives outlined above are a great testament to the generosity of Real Estate & Planning alumni, friends and corporate partners. We are extremely grateful to all those who donated to RREF in 2012 and, in doing so, are helping to build for the future of real estate and planning. It is our hope that many more individuals and firms will join our donor community in 2013. There will always be a need to support the next generation of real estate professionals, especially as we seek to attract a more diverse cohort to study real estate and planning. We remain ambitious and are keen to help even more people in 2013.

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