Commitment to Philanthropy

Many real estate companies are good corporate citizens in the mar- kets where they work, but by any measure St. John Properties is in a philanthropic class by itself. In 1998, company chairman Ed- ward St. John formed the Edward St. John Foundation. St. John Properties donates 7.5 percent of its net prots each year to the foundation, and 100 percent of the funds donated each year go back into the community that same year. To date, the foundation has gifted more than $60 million. The Baltimore Business Journal has re- peatedly ranked St. John Properties as one of the Baltimore area’s top corporate philanthropists. In 2017, the company was ranked eighth and placed sixth and seventh between 2014 and 2016. Sharon Akers , vice president of corporate relations and executive director of the foundation, says the foundation’s main focus is on edu- cation – particularly the transforma- tive power of education to change lives and strengthen communities. The most notable contribution that St. John has made to date is to his alma matter, the University of Maryland, College Park. The university recently constructed the 187,000-square-foot Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center. The facility encourages a new way of teaching that focuses on collaboration and problem-solving between students that is facilitated by instructors. The whole experience moves away from traditional lectures by faculty. The building has 12 classrooms and nine teaching labs, serving more than 12,000 students per day, and it acts as a national

Pictured are members of the Gold Star Mothers Maryland Chapter during the 2016 dedication ceremony in honor of Gold Star Mothers and Gold Star Families at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) in Aberdeen, Maryland.

model of collaborative learning and teaching, according to Akers. Another example of the com- pany’s extraordinary generosity took place at The GATE, an ofce and technology park developed on Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) in Aberdeen, Maryland. St. John Properties learned of the tragic death in August 2014 of Maj. Gen. Harold Greene in Afghanistan. The general had served at APG before his deployment to Afghanistan and was the highest-ranking ofcer killed offshore in combat since the Vietnam War. Wanting to honor the general and other fallen heroes along with their families, St. John Properties commissioned local artists to create a special tribute to

the general. In September 2015, the Fallen Star Memorial at APG was dedicated. In October 2016, a second sculpture was dedicated at the memorial to honor Gold Star Mothers and Gold Star Families for their immense sacrices. Numerous other examples highlight the company’s philanthropy. Akers said the foundation has a program that matches dollar for dollar the amount that an employee gives to a charity up to a certain limit. She said that employees themselves are extraordinarily generous with the time they devote to community programs. According to Akers, this past year employees donated 7,400 hours to community work and board memberships. ■

Reprinted with permission from Development magazine, published by NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association


Made with FlippingBook - professional solution for displaying marketing and sales documents online