To advance diversity, equity and inclusion in the commercial real estate industry through education, mentorship, and partnerships.
REAP exists because the commercial real estate industry's professional ranks are less than 2% minority at management levels. During its short existence, REAP has increased that minority cohort by 10%—by spotlighting a talent pool that was always there, but previously unacknowledged.
Over 1,700 REAP graduates now work for leading firms in the industry, from London to Los Angeles, New York to New Mexico.
REAP's recruiting process is competitive and selective, attracting credentialed, career-changing, professionals—architects, bankers, engineers, MBAs, lawyers and salespeople. They know how to add value to a company's bottom line.
Employers meet potential minority employees not in mandatory diversity training, but in voluntary, business-oriented opportunities that raise comfort levels on both sides. REAP's success has been validated by leading minority professional groups like Black MBAs, Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting, National Organization of Minority Architects, and REEC (Real Estate Executive Council), and through REAP's affiliation with the Business Schools at Howard and Clark Atlanta Universities.
REAP was launched in Washington, D.C. (1998); Atlanta (2001); New York City (2006); Chicago (2009); Los Angeles (2011); Cleveland (2012); Columbus (2014); Dallas (2015); and Kansas City (2017).
A Successful Model
The typical student holds a bachelor's or advanced degree and has at least one year of professional experience, coming from various industries.
The REAP model was developed on the premise that lack of minorities in the commercial real estate industry is neither an accident nor the result of discrimination. A better explanation is that access is not by formal schooling like law or accounting. Instead, people gain access through networks of personal connections—family, friends, and colleagues. Without such connections, entry into the field is difficult. REAP extends these networks to its fellows with a multi-layer approach that includes both education and networking.
REAP is both a 501(c)(3) non-profit and a business proposition—through a highly competitive and selective process, REAP finds and trains elite, dedicated professionals for firms that want to change the face of the industry. The model is applicable to the banking, construction, and insurance industries, where entrance and success are also heavily based on personal connections.
Industry leaders recognize REAP as a win-win. Not only can the industry hire talented professionals for jobs that add value, but their companies can better match the fabric of their customers, clients, and communities.