In the company’s annual year-end trends report, T3 Sixty’s chairman, CEO and founder Stefan Swanepoel imagined a “more diverse,” real estate industry in 2021. His company is taking another step towards acting on that hope.

Kenya Burrell-VanWormer | Photo credit: HAR

A new nonprofit spearheaded by T3 Sixty’s diversity initiative is looking to help individuals from underrepresented and underprivileged groups pursue a career in real estate. The nonprofit, The Real Estate Apprentice Foundation, will be based in Texas.

In practice, The Real Estate Apprentice Foundation will assist individuals from those communities with various tools, technology, services, Realtor association memberships, multiple listing service fees and provide a path to working with a residential real estate brokerage. The nonprofit hopes to be able to provide cash grants to cover some of the costs related to obtaining a real estate license.

“It is hard to get into real estate, but it is much harder to stay in real estate and remain consistently successful,” Kenya Burrell-VanWormer, who heads T3 Sixty’s diversity initiative, said in a statement.

Burrell-VanWormer, formerly the Houston Association Realtors’ Realtor of the Year and Inman’s Person of the Year, joined T3 Sixty last year to head its diversity initiative. She will focus her efforts on coordinating sponsors and benefactors for the foundation before grants start in the third quarter of 2021, T3 Sixty said in a release.

Swanepoel said, in a statement, that the foundation is “designed as an industrywide effort, and we hope that brokerages, associations, MLSs and vendors from across the country will support the Foundation to make the residential real estate brokerage industry more diverse and representative.”

Swanepoel himself is donating $100,000 of his own money to help jumpstart the initiative.

The foundation is aiming to raise $100 million in donations and sponsorships over the next 10 years and plans to use that money to help 40,000 individuals enter the real estate industry. And it’s seeking industry partners — whether that be brokerages, agents, technology companies or MLSs — to do so.

The company’s first 20 board members will be announced in March 2021.

Email Patrick Kearns

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