USC Price School of Public Policy

Ross Minority Program in Real Estate honored by SoCal Development Forum

December 19, 2016

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By Cristy Lytal

In recognition of its valuable service to the community, the Ross Minority Program at the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate has received a 2016 Design & Philanthropy Award from the Southern California Development Forum (SCDF), an organization for real estate professionals. The award included a $10,000 donation in support of the program.

The Ross Program was one of only four recipients to earn the honor, which was presented at the SCDF’s annual awards celebration held at the City Club of Los Angeles on Dec. 13.

An inclusive executive training program in real estate development and finance, the Ross Minority Program aims to create more diverse professional leaders in the real estate industry and foster responsible development in underserved urban areas. The program was founded in 1993 in response to the Los Angeles civil unrest. At the time, L.A. faced an unprecedented and immediate need for experienced real estate professionals to aid in rebuilding the inner city. In 2003, a gift from Stan Ross, a member of the USC Price School of Public Policy Board of Councilors, and his wife Marilyn made the program a permanent institution at USC.

“The award means recognition, which is always good, but it also means we’re providing something meaningful and useful,” said Richard K. Green, director of the Lusk Center for Real Estate and professor at USC Price. “And since we don’t charge students the cost of running the program, these contributions are critical to us continuing to have this program.”

Legacy of impact and success

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Professor Richard Green, right, and Ross Program Manager Mary Peralta speak at a Ross Minority Program Mixer in October.

Since its establishment, the Ross Minority Program has remained committed to teaching key real estate skills to women, minorities and those who invest time, talent and financial resources in emerging communities. During an intensive two-week or four-week session, participants learn through an immersive array of lectures, panel discussions, site visits and hands-on projects. Topics encompass real estate finance, development, site planning, market analysis and more.

For nearly 25 years, the program’s 900 graduates have been putting these lessons into practice, applying their leadership, abilities and passion to commercial, retail, residential and mixed-use developments throughout Southern California and beyond.

Looking toward the future, the recognition from SCDF will introduce the Ross Minority Program to even more real estate professionals.

“It’s an amazing curriculum,” said Mary Peralta, program manager of the Ross Minority Program. “And for me, the more that people know about this program, the better. At the awards ceremony, there might have been between 150 and 200 people attending. Each one of them learned about this program and could share it with somebody else.”