ULI Global Chairman Thomas W. Toomey welcomed Fall Meeting attendees by pointing to the Institute’s long history of leadership in Boston: ULI’s first real estate education conference—a precursor to the Fall Meeting—was held in Boston in 1941; and the last Fall Meeting in Boston was in 2001, less than a month after 9/11. “Due to the leadership of ULI Boston, that  meeting turned out to be especially meaningful in terms of being together and sharing ideas on the future of cities. That same desire for fellowship and to share knowledge is very much evident at the meeting this week,” Toomey said.
He highlighted the Institute’s accomplishments over the past 12 months, including highly successful major convenings in the Americas, the Asia Pacific region, and Europe; an increase in membership to more than 42,000, which is a post-recession high; and the creation of a Global Strategic Plan, based on member input, that invests in people and technology to strengthen member engagement and impact.
These achievements, while significant, are but “one piece of ULI’s 80-year history of changing people’s lives and communities,” Toomey said. “Everything this organization has ever accomplished and will accomplish in the future is because of its members—members like each of you who are dedicated to improving our cities throughout the world with your philanthropic spirit, specifically giving your time, talent, and treasure to ULI.
“Our work to shape cities is far-reaching and long-lasting. And the better we are at demonstrating the impact of our work, the better our success at inspiring members to give more, so ULI can do more. And capturing and communicating impact is exactly the type of initiative our new Strategic Plan will support.”
Toomey pointed to ULI’s advisory work in communities around the world—from Boston to Los Angeles to Hong Kong to Wolfsburg, Germany—as illustrative of the Institute’s far-reaching impact.
“ULI’s mission—and our drive to make our cities better for all—remains strong,” Toomey said. “Through the execution of our Strategic Plan, we will continue to expand Advisory Services and other mission-focused activities even more. And we will grow our ability to measure ULI’s impact.”
Toomey noted that another way of highlighting member impact is through the recognition of best practices through ULI’s awards programs such as the Urban Open Space Award, which highlights projects that have catalyzed economic development while serving as a community amenity.