Amazon signs on as Project REAP sponsor

Jessica Perry//May 13, 2022

Amazon signs on as Project REAP sponsor

Partners share commitment to diversifying commercial real estate

Jessica Perry//May 13, 2022

Screenshot of the incoming class of the Project REAP/Urban Land Institute (ULI) Academy Spring 2022, which kicked off April 25.
Screenshot of the incoming class of the Project REAP/Urban Land Institute (ULI) Academy Spring 2022, which kicked off April 25. – PROJECT REAP

Project REAP (Real Estate Associate Program) is on a mission to diversify the commercial real estate industry and advance equity and inclusion. And to continue that work, the national organization has just brought on a big-name sponsor.

On May 12, Project REAP said it is welcoming Amazon as an Executive Diamond sponsor, the highest level of support it offers. The company joins current ED sponsors JLL and the Urban Land Institute.

According to Executive Director Manikka Bowman, the pairing with Amazon is one based on shared values and objectives.

“The investment aligns Project REAP’s history of positioning dynamic men and women of color – Black, Latinx, Indigenous and Asian professionals – to enter the field of commercial real estate at every level of the talent pipeline,” she said in a statement. “I’m elated Amazon will build on Project REAP’s 24-year success to enhance its DEI goals.”

Part of the way Project REAP works to achieve its goals is through education. The organization runs an eight-week, online course in partnership with the Urban Land Institute featuring on-demand modules, live webinars and panel discussions.

The course is online now, and currently serving more than 200 fellows annually, but before the onset of the pandemic, it operated in-person in select cities nationwide. In addition to the sponsorship, Project REAP said that Amazon will help to enhance the organization’s presence in Seattle and Nashville — cities where the e-commerce giant has an established presence. And, it will serve as a presenting speaker for one of the Academy’s sessions.

“Amazon understands the need to hire, promote, and foster talent from diverse backgrounds as part of the company’s mission to be Earth’s best employer,” said London Kemp Boykin, director of global portfolio strategy & transactions at Amazon. “We look forward to working with Project REAP as we continue to invest in this initiative across our commercial real estate teams, helping to cultivate the future leaders of our industry and this organization.”

REAP Chairman G. Lamont Blackstone

Boykin is also a Project REAP graduate and a board member for the organization. According to Project REAP, nine Amazon employees are currently enrolled in the 2022 REAP/ULI Academy. Two others have also completed the course, Asset Manager Nat Centeno, also a former Project REAP board member; and Associate Corporate Counsel Marissa John.

Project REAP Chair G. Lamont Blackstone expressed gratitude to Amazon Vice President of Worldwide Ops Real Estate Daniel Mallory for his support and “his visionary leadership for investing in and supporting this promising partnership to advance diversity, equity and inclusion — and at a national level.

“It’s important that future talent pools of BIPOC professionals become familiar with the industry leaders shaping the future of commercial real estate,” Blackstone said in a statement.

Project REAP’s Spring cohort began April 25.