The USC Ross Minority Program in Real Estate is an educational platform providing critical skills to women and minorities and offers graduates the opportunity to participate in leadership roles and establish a pathway for success within the real estate industry. Our mission is to expand the pool of talented professionals and broaden options for investment in urban communities.
In 2012, the National Association of Realtors reported that 89 percent of commercial real estate professionals were Caucasian and 76 percent were men. In an increasingly multi-ethnic nation where women comprise more than half the population, the real estate industry can – and must – do better.
Designed as an inclusive executive education experience, the Ross Program brings individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives together to solve complex real estate challenges. Graduates go on to play roles in numerous commercial, retail, residential, and mixed-use developments throughout Southern California and across the nation. The Ross Program fosters personal growth and insight which positively impacts any company’s bottom line.
The USC Ross Program was founded by USC and the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles (CRA) as a response to the 1992 civil unrest. Los Angeles was faced with an unprecedented and immediate need for experienced real estate professionals to aid in the rebuilding of the inner city. In seeking an inclusive process, the CRA found a lack of minority developers with specific knowledge and skill sets in real estate development and finance. In response, Richard Benbow, then CRA deputy administrator, and Roy Willis, then CRA administrator, organized community leaders, including Linda King-Wright, Barbara Harris, and Michael Banner, along with USC faculty members Stuart Gabriel and David Dale-Johnson, to advocate for a specialized program to help local residents participate in redevelopment. These leaders recognized that real estate was a key component to economic development and self-determination for underserved communities.
In 2003, Stan Ross and his wife, Marilyn, bestowed a generous endowment gift to ensure the program’s permanent viability. Since its founding, The USC Ross Program has graduated more than 700 participants, including developers, private investors, bankers, architects, attorneys, urban planners, and entrepreneurs who work for private, public, and non-profit entiti