Three longtime Urban Land Institute (ULI) leaders have joined together to donate a total of $17 million to launch the ULI Chair’s Fund. Douglas D. Abbey, James D. Klingbeil, and Thomas W. Toomey have created the unrestricted fund to give ULI the flexibility to respond quickly to new opportunities as it delivers its mission of shaping the future of the built environment for transformative impact in communities worldwide.
“We are incredibly grateful to Doug, Jim and Tom for their generous gifts of time, talent and financial resources over many, many years,” commented W. Edward Walter, Global CEO of ULI. “Their latest gifts are very significant and will further solidify our foundation and help ensure that we can deliver on ULI’s mission well into the future.”
“The idea with unrestricted gifts is that ULI decides where the money should go, and how it can be best used to innovate, pivot, and respond to needs,” explained Klingbeil, a former ULI President and ULI Foundation chair whose Klingbeil Family Foundation is making a $7 million contribution. He is founder and CEO emeritus of Klingbeil Capital Management, a multi-faceted national real estate company based in San Francisco.
“What we’re trying to do here as the three founding donors is to help create something that will get larger and be able to respond to the needs of ULI as it goes forward,” added Klingbeil.
Past ULI Global Chairman Toomey and former ULI Foundation Chairman Abbey are making $5 million contributions each. The gifts establish them as members of the ULI Foundation’s Marcus Vitruvius Society, its highest accolade. Toomey is Chairman and CEO of UDR, Inc., a national multifamily real estate investment trust headquartered in Highlands Ranch, CO. Abbey is chairman of Swift Real Estate Partners, a real estate firm based in San Francisco that acquires and repositions office and industrial assets in West Coast markets.
The trio of donors envision the fund becoming the equivalent of the unrestricted endowments that major universities rely upon to innovate and expand their programs, according to Toomey. Having all served in leadership positions, they understand the importance of having a reserve of unrestricted funds to meet challenges as they arise.
“ULI will face an ever-evolving set of challenges,” Toomey explained. “If it has to identify a challenge or an opportunity and then go raise money, that slows the speed by which it can have an impact.”
ULI Foundation President Janice Periquet noted, “The Chair’s Fund is primarily set up for endowment, however, if donors elect and want to make impact immediately through the fund, they can designate their contribution for current use.”
With sufficient funding, ULI’s unique focus upon the built environment enables it to help solve problems ranging from climate change to economic inequity, according to Abbey.
“Land use is an important part of the puzzle, and there is no organization that’s better suited globally to come up with ideas and best practices than ULI,” Abbey explained. “Our mission is to transform communities.”
ULI recently announced three new global mission priorities, which include decarbonizing the real estate sector, educating the next generation of diverse real estate leaders, and increasing housing attainability in communities around the world.
The three leaders hope other members will follow their example and contribute to the fund. Klingbeil urged donors to consider including bequests to ULI in their estate planning.
“I cannot think of anything else that I’ve ever given to where the gift would have so much leverage, when you combine the talent within ULI and its potential impact across the globe, in terms of bettering the lives of so many people,” Toomey said.