The Voice for Local Real Estate


Education Foundation History

During 1983 and 1984, the Memphis Area Association of REALTORS®, then known as the Memphis Board of REALTORS®, was experiencing comfortable profits. During these years, MAAR began to seek ways to achieve long-term educational goals while at the same time reduce the tax burden of the association.

In 1985, Martin Edwards, Jr., CCIM, spearheaded an effort to establish a not for profit, 501(c)(3) organization. The Memphis Area Association of REALTORS® Education Foundation was the culmination of these efforts. The Foundation was designed to:

  • Provide a vehicle to ensure that adequate funds would be available for educational programs during any year that the association experienced a decline in income;
  • Encourage and promote formal education in the real estate field and allied areas;
  • Cause to be published academic works on the subject of real estate; and
  • Establish a chair of excellence at the university level in the field of real estate.

Over the years, the purpose of the Foundation has remained consistent. The Mission Statement reads:

Promote, research, encourage study and provide resources to affect the business practice of the real estate industry.

The roles of the Trustees who serve the Foundation include securing and administering funds for research, resources, and scholarship purposes while focusing on the financial growth of the Education Foundation. This is a working entity. All trustees are expected to attend and participate in scheduled meetings (6 per year), in addition to any sub-committee meetings.

Since the Foundation has adequate reserves, top-quality educational programs can continue to be offered regardless of membership trends and real estate market conditions. The Foundation can deliver programs to help REALTORS® survive during difficult times in the real estate business.

Since 1987, the Foundation has funded the Mark Sowards Memorial Scholarship at the University of Memphis. Through donations generated by the annual Mark Sowards Memorial Golf Tournament, and generous contributions from individual REALTORS®, and the Real Estate Industry Trade Association (REITA), $25,000 was raised to fully endow this scholarship in 1991.

The Foundation also grants scholarships to members who are pursuing a professional designation such as the Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM), Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Graduate REALTOR® Institute (GRI) and Accredited Buyers Representative (ABR), as well as other designations conferred by the National Association of REALTORS® and the Appraisal Institute.

Furthermore, the Foundation has provided research grants for studies as wide-ranging as the effect of electromagnetic fields on property values, home sales mapping data, a real estate specific information directory, and home buyers satisfaction surveys. These papers have been distributed to professional journals and are available at MAAR as well as public libraries.

The Foundation was an integral part in the establishment of the Morris Fogelman Chair of Excellence in Real Estate at the University of Memphis. Today, the University of Memphis is one of only a handful of universities in the United States with a chair of excellence in real estate.

Because of the Foundation, MAAR has an active role in furthering the real estate profession. The Foundation provides continuing education for the MAAR membership that consists of designation courses, seminars with nationally acclaimed speakers, and courses that are developed locally for our specific needs. The Foundation participates with local colleges and universities and funds real estate research projects on the collegiate level.

Participation as a trustee in the activities of the Education Foundation allows the Foundation to remain a vital resource for REALTORS® and the community.


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