The following is a transcript of Annual Fund Chairman Jeff Stack’s remarks at the 2014 Spring Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.
I want to spend a few minutes talking about what goes into making ULI so effective as a force for change. ULI’s impact is the result of all the programs, activities and services that you support with your contributions to the Foundation. And, for many of you, that support is provided through contributions to the Annual Fund.
I am happy to report that in 2013, the Fund received contributions of nearly $1.6 million—a record amount! This reflects the generous support of 1,900 council members. It reflects 100 percent participation from no less than 10 Product Councils, with a year-over-year increase in giving from 21 councils. Best of all, it reflects a 70 percent increase in total member contributions over the past four years.
These gifts are catalyzing change locally and globally through activities such as the highly popular Urban Innovation Grants program. Since this program began in 2005, the Annual Fund has awarded nearly $2 million to District Councils and National Councils to seed nearly 120 local activities aimed at building better communities.
The latest funding round, held last fall, was oriented toward programs focused on health and wellness, and several of the grant recipients have been highly creative.
Here is one example: ULI Singapore is using its grant to work with the Centre for Liveable Cities on a research project to improve walking and cycling in Singapore’s dense, tropical setting. The participants brought in renowned Danish urban designer and architect Jan Gehl, and together they spent a day walking and cycling around Singapore, seeing the city through the eyes of an expert in active transportation. What they experienced will inform recommendations on making Singapore more walkable and bikeable.
This is thinking outside the box. This is creativity sparked by grants made possible by the Annual Fund.
The Fund also supports longtime ULI offerings, including the awards programs, the Hines Competition, UrbanPlan, Advisory Services, and existing centers such as the Rose Center and Terwilliger Center. This work is highlighted in ULI’s 2013 Annual Report, just released this week. It’s an impressive overview of ULI’s work supported by the Annual Fund and other Foundation contributions.
But we’re also supporting new additions to ULI’s program of work, including:
- A policy initiative to track land use policies at all levels of government;
- A series of activities related to the Building Healthy Places Initiative;
- A new Sustainability Center;
- A ULI visiting fellows program;
- A Real Estate Entrepreneur Program.
That’s only a partial list, but you get the idea. These activities do not pay for themselves. As ULI is expanding its work, the Foundation is being asked to do more. And to do more, we need to raise more funds for these worthy undertakings. Each of you can help us do more—at both the local and global level. Please give to the Foundation to support its work.
With your gift, you are adding to ULI’s story. You are helping to create an outcome. And that outcome is communities that people enjoy and cherish.
It has been a rewarding experience to chair the Annual Fund. During my time in this role, my top priority has been to make the campaign more transparent, by emphasizing the connections between your gifts and ULI’s impact. I will continue this in my new role as Chairman of the Foundation, because it is important for you to know why we ask for your help, and what we’re able to accomplish as a result.
I look forward to seeing all of you at the Fall Meeting in New York. With your support, ULI’s best work is yet to come!