Alberta Real Estate Foundation Increases Funding to Help Provincial Recovery

The Alberta Real Estate Foundation (AREF) has increased its granting program to better support organizations and projects that are working to strengthen Alberta’s communities, the real estate industry, and the province as a whole.

Alberta has suffered significant economic and public health effects due to COVID-19. AREF’s Board of Governors voted to double the 2020 granting program to $4M to bolster support as the province moves to recover. This increase will, in part, support AREF’s creation of a major grants category to mark the Foundation’s 30th anniversary in 2021.

AREF works with industry stakeholders to support projects across Alberta that improve civil society, help build vibrant and healthy communities, and develop land where people want to live. AREF distributes grants to a wide variety of projects.

“The projects we fund have varying scope and time horizons,” says Doug Leighton, Chair of the Board of Governors. “It’s important that we get that balance right. The goal is to maximize utility for our stakeholders, strengthen the province, and always keep in mind that real estate is the medium that connects everything we do.”

In March, as the COVID-19 lockdown began, AREF’s Board recognized that the province’s real estate industry required additional short-term support, and in response, the Board more than doubled the Sponsorship and Small Grants budget to $250,000 to ensure the Foundation responded nimbly to the needs of its stakeholders.

AREF has since collaborated with its valued industry partners and stakeholders—including Real Estate Boards, the Alberta Mortgage Brokers Association, and the Building Owners and Managers Association—to discuss how to use sponsorship funding to support them and help strengthen their ability to serve their members in these extraordinary circumstances.

Last year, AREF’s Board of Governors approved an increase to its 2020 grant budget from $1.5M to $2M to help counter the effects of the province’s declining economy. And despite AREF’s revenue being negatively impacted by historically low-interest rates and decreased real estate transactions, in June the Board approved a revised budget allowing for an additional increase to the grants program up to $4M.

In celebration of its 30th Anniversary, AREF will introduce a major grants category for 2021. Projects could include social housing projects, research on housing developments for a post-pandemic world, a mural or piece of art that enhances the vibrancy value of a community, or providing education on condo living. “We know Albertans have great, big ideas,” says Leighton. “We want to help fund those ideas and turn them into reality.”

AREF invests in real estate policy, research, practices, and education that strengthen Alberta’s communities. To find out more about eligibility and applying for funding from the Foundation, please visit  Get Funding and stay tuned for details around AREF’s 30th Anniversary Major Grants Category.