New Non-Profit Seeks to Tackle Lack of Diversity in Commercial Real Estate Development

A new charity in the commercial real estate industry aims to combat discrimination and lack of inclusion in leadership.

Leaders in Canada’s commercial real estate development industry have formed a charity in hopes of combatting systemic barriers which contribute to a lack of representation and access.

The MāKin Foundation aims to advance diversity and inclusion throughout the ecosystem of the commercial real estate and development (CRED) industry.

The foundation’s mission is to influence diverse and underrepresented students, youth, and professionals to excel in the Canadian Commercial Real Estate and Development industry (CRED) with an approach designed to build a more accessible industry so it can be a reflection of a diverse Canadian society.

“CREED Council and RealStories were doing such great work in silos, and I saw the potential of creating a foundation that can have a greater impact together,” said MāKin executive director, Bonnie Oppenheimer.

Oppenheimer, who has a background in non-profit work, supported the creation of a scholarship fund to ensure more diverse and underrepresented youth’s financial barriers to entry are minimized.

“Education and access are key. The MāKin Foundation aims to help remove the barriers while connecting industry veterans and professionals to the next generations of talent. We are leveraging their desire to help make lasting change.”

Chandran Fernando, managing partner of Matrix360, and advisor to the Board of Directors said, “We know Boards and executive leadership are committed to improving access, but several systemic barriers must be eliminated and removed before that can happen. It starts with awareness, understanding, and openness to confronting what it is and needs to be. It will take us all to confront our mindsets and centering accountability for a better tomorrow, today.” 

Oppenheimer believes that the MāKin Foundation is a crucial force that the industry needs to invest in community. “We are at a crossroads in the DEI conversation and actions. Many folks are isolated, confused and exhausted because of binary thinking and actions,” she said. “Our objective is unique. It is about the human connection and building an ecosystem that is fair, accessible, accountable and sustainable for everyone. We are a leadership collective invested and committed to recognizing barriers of entry (for growth and advancement), while shifting the narratives to progressive actions for all people.” 

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