As we reach the midpoint of my term as Chairman of ULI Europe, I wanted to provide you with an update on our progress.
You will recall I set out our objectives for my two year term to be the three Ms – Membership, Mayors, and Mission. I am pleased to report we have made strong progress in all of these areas:
We have registered strong growth in our membership over the past 12 months and we now have 2,137 members in 37 countries across the EMEA region. This represents 14.5% year-on-year growth and provides a strong platform to support our ambitious plans to build our membership further in the new fiscal year.
The growth in membership, combined with increases in sponsorship for our events and programmes, means that fiscal year 2014 (1st July 2013 to 30th June 2014) is the first year in ULI Europe’s history that we have generated a financial surplus. We can collectively take great pride in this achievement, as it strengthens our operating position and allows us to better serve our members. I would like to thank our sponsorship committee and all of our sponsors and members, who have made this possible.
Our membership growth is built on supplying our members with informative and thought provoking programming, as well as providing them with a forum to meet and exchange ideas and best practices. Last fiscal year saw some outstanding ULI Europe events, including the Annual Conference in Paris, the Leadership Retreat in Stockholm and the Real Estate Trends Conference in London.
We have superb leadership in place across our 14 National Councils, who are organising programming at a local level. We have excellent events taking place across all of our National Councils, from seminar sessions with small groups of like-minded members, through to large conferences with over 100 members, such as the recent ULI Germany Urban Leader Summit in Frankfurt. Our five European (Product) Councils are also gaining strength and are each running twice-yearly events, which their members find to be stimulating and engaging. I would appreciate your help in growing our membership. There is no better time to suggest that your friends and colleagues become members of ULI.
At ULI, our mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. As a non-profit organisation, we rely on our committed volunteer members to help deliver this mission at a local level.
To help fund the advancement of our mission across Europe, the ULI Charitable Trust was set up nearly a decade ago to raise and allocate money to philanthropic activities. The ULI Charitable Trust had a strong year of donations and its inaugural dinner in December 2013 was a remarkable success. This, coupled with gifts from our ULI Europe’s Governors and other sources, means that the trust is in strong financial shape.
The Trust has been further strengthened with the appointment of Michael Spies as Chair, which has provided additional focus, energy and ideas, as well as the appointment of Ric Lewis as a Trustee who brings with him considerable fund raising prowess.
With financial support from the ULI Charitable Trust, ULI UK delivered its first Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) in Bristol during June. TAPs bring together ULI members who donate their time and expertise to provide advice and solutions to local communities with a specific land-use challenge. The Bristol panel visited the city during its Big Green Week in June to investigate the opportunities and challenges of building sustainable homes through community led development.
Over the forthcoming months, we are also planning a pilot scheme to bring ULI’s Urban Plan programme to the UK. Urban Plan is a classroom-based curriculum aimed at introducing students to, and encouraging them to learn about, the forces and factors that influence urban development. The pilot scheme will bring the programme to three secondary schools in the UK and if it proves successful, we hope to roll out the initiative more widely across Europe.
We continue to help foster public / private sector engagement through a range of activities, including our partnership with Moscow Urban Forum and our delivery of Advisory Services Panels in Budapest and Milan. We were also delighted to be joined by Sir Edward Lister, Deputy Mayor of London, Staffan Ingvarson, Vice Chief Executive at the City of Stockholm and Maria Vassilakou, Deputy Mayor of Vienna, at this year’s Annual Conference in Paris.
However, I do feel there is more that we can collectively do to increase public / private sector engagement. The next Mid-Winter Meeting will feature a panel of city mayors, and if you have suggestions for city leaders who could participate in this important initiative, please let me know. For the remainder of my term, I do hope that we can deepen and strengthen ULI’s crucial relationship with the public sector.
We are actively working on our succession plans following the departure of Joe Montgomery and I hope to be in a position to announce his successor in the next few months. The existing staff team, including ULI Europe’s Chief Operating Officer Steve Ridd, is continuing to provide high-quality service and programmes. I am also very grateful for the significant efforts of Seth Lieberman, who is acting as an advisor and liaison between staff and member leadership. Seth, Steve and the team are to be congratulated, not just for maintaining our operations but for enhancing the momentum that ULI Europe has managed to achieve in recent years.
On behalf of ULI, I would like to thank you for your tireless efforts in helping to deliver our mission across Europe. Our committed members make a real impact on their local communities and together we are making our towns and cities across Europe better places.