Grubb Properties Dec13

Grubb Properties

When Grubb Properties decided to upgrade its Yardi Voyager property management and accounting platform to the latest version, the company knew it would meet a little resistance from its staff. Iris Esguerra, Grubb’s Information Technology Business Analyst and Yardi Project Manager, says, “While Grubb embraced the benefits of moving to 7S, our Voyager power users were a little nervous about the potential disruption an upgrade can cause. With a change management strategy that included a lot of communication and documentation through the testing process to go live, Grubb experienced a successful transition.” Our Upgrade Like a Rock Star series shares insider tips for the move to Yardi Voyager 7S. In this installment, Esguerra tells how Grubb made the conversion for its 4,448 multifamily units and 28 commercial properties. Testing and Training The upgrade process began in the fourth quarter of 2016 with a target to go live in late March 2017. Grubb relied heavily on its Yardi Consulting Practices contact, Tricia Wyatt, to stay on track and achieve a smooth transition to 7S. Esguerra says that Wyatt was instrumental in helping Grubb through the upgrade by supplying testing materials and guideline documents for each Yardi module. Relevant documents were distributed to keep testers focused. Since the upgrade would greatly impact the look and feel of the platform, the documents provided a clear breakdown of functionality which users tested and became familiar with in the stage database. Esguerra explains the process, “As the project manager for Grubb and single point of contact for the implementation upgrade, I was provided a project plan and testing checklist workbook. The workbook showed a timeline of goals to hit each week prior to the go-live date, testing results for each module, a list of Yardi root menu sets to...

Supporting Families

When Yardi employee Isabella Mitchell read our original story on Yardi Vasti Vikas Prakalp (YVVP), she pondered ways to get involved with health and sanitation efforts in impoverished in Pune, India. Months later, she and her daughter received the opportunity of a lifetime. Isabella’s daughter, Angelina Mitchell, is a registered EMT and pre-med major at Binghamton University.  Angelina wanted to volunteer abroad and felt called to support Vasti Vikas Prakalp as well. When her mother received a work assignment in Pune, Angelina asked to join her on the trip. While Isabella worked, Bharati Kotwal, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at Yardi in Pune, helped Angelina find ways to get involved. The college student toured several clinics and hospitals with doctors via YVVP. The doctors serve at special sites that offer care free of charge. Angelina focused on programs that assist women and children. “Dr. Genesh showed me one of the mobile clinics that bring the services to the women and children who are not able to travel. These clinics have a doctor on staff that does free check ups and provides the women of Pune with the appropriate contraceptives. This clinic sees about 50 patients a day, 21 days out of every month,” said Angelina. At District Hospital, Dr. Ashwin leads a unique two-week program to prevent and treat malnourishment. Mothers are educated on proper nutrition for their children. Their malnourished children are simultaneously treated with a soft mixture of natural foods to restore health. The mothers receive a small stipend to offset their time in the program away from their families and work. Poor nutrition and early, frequent motherhood contributes to low iron level in local young women. Angelina learned that a lack of footwear exacerbates malnutrition and anemia. Hookworm infects already vulnerable...

Meghan Riskowski Nov29

Meghan Riskowski

At Yardi, innovative software is only part of our recipe for success. Client care is built into the core of every best practice. Yardi honors its shining client care team members at the Annual Customer Service Week for CPG and CSD. Team members are nominated by their peers and selected by the management team. Meghan Riskowski is the recipient of the 2017 CSD Outstanding Mentor Award.  Riskowski will celebrate her 5th anniversary with Yardi in January 2018. She is a Senior Technical Account Manager, RENTCafé, Consulting Practices with Yardi. Jennifer Khaki, Manager, Consulting Practices, works closely with Riskowski. She has observed several characteristics that make Riskowski an outstanding mentor. “To me, an outstanding mentor instills confidence in others and is skillful at making the impossible seem possible. They strive to make themselves available and are patient, respectful and knowledgeable,” says Khaki. “Mentors may not always have all the right answers, but they will ensure they connect others with the right people.” As a Senior Technical Account Manager, Riskowski is very knowledgeable in Yardi’s RENTCafe product and has recently familiarized herself with RENTCafe CRM. When new clients are prepared to implement the program, Riskowski is there to make sure the roll out goes as smoothly as possible. Riskowski is always willing to assist new employees with understanding best practices regarding implementations and day-to-day operations, Khaki says. Riskowski models a positive attitude and healthy relationships with clients and coworkers alike. “I feel that helpfulness is a key aspect of the Yardi culture,” reflects Riskowski. “Our dedication to client service is what distinguishes us from other companies.” Though she has developed her own unique mentoring style, Riskowski has learned from exemplary mentors in her personal life. “My mentor is my mother-in-law,” says Riskowski. “The balancing act of...

CSR, Part Two

Part two of a two-part feature. Read the first article. In 2014, real estate technology provider Yardi established The Yardi Foundation, which supports nonprofit organizations that are located near the company’s offices around the world. Yardi opted for a two-tier CSR model, dividing a seven-figure donation between them: one tier supports several small-scale projects. Yardi designates a sum for every office of more than 50 employees. The grants are allotted to local organizations that are nominated by employees and approved by peer committees. The second tier takes on an international challenge. Yardi launched Yardi Vasti Vikas Prakalp (YVVP) in Pune, India in 2006. It is one of Yardi’s largest CSR programs to date, providing financial support to 17 local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs). All partnering entities serve some of India’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods. Gordon Morrell, Executive Vice President, Yardi, works closely with The Yardi Foundation. “Our work there is focused within the urban poor communities that are just a short distance from the office. These projects include cleaning shared toilet blocks to improve sanitation, working in local schools and preschools, providing vocational training for young people, and funding a mobile medical unit specifically for women’s health issues. Some of the work is conducted by NGOs; in addition, Yardi has hired social workers to provide direct services in many of the areas,” Morrell said. Yardi uses multiple measures of success including impact surveys and reports directly from the NGOs and CBOs. As of 2016, YVVP provided health care services for 120,000 women and children; 500 sanitation units for poor urban communities; and career services for 1,480 teens and young adults. “We got involved in CSR because we simply wanted to give back to the communities that have supported our business and our...

Growing Goodwill

Many multifamily firms are turning to corporate social responsibility (CSR) to meet the needs of their communities beyond the walls of the homes that they develop, manage and support. CSR initiatives encompass a company’s efforts to promote positive societal, economic or environmental change. The initiatives are self-regulated, and the scope and scale of CSR programs can vary widely. The results, however, share common benefits. Four real estate firms shared their successful approaches to local and international CSR projects. Spreading local goodwill MC Residential of Arizona founded the Sharing the Good Life Foundation, the company’s non-profit, to make a positive difference in the communities where employees live, work, learn and play. Lesley Brice, President, has been involved since the nascent stages of the program. “We’ve raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past several years, most of which have been through payroll deductions and time off deductions or donations, as well as vendor matching activities,” Brice said. The Foundation has collected 715 volunteer hours, 42,036 employee PTO hours, and $55,617 in payroll contributions. The funds raised are directed towards local nonprofit organizations. The nonprofits are nominated by employees and selected by a peer grant committee. In recent years, MC Residential focused resources on two national organizations: Autism Speaks and the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC). “We found our niche in raising money for autism when we brought autism awareness to the Arizona Multihousing Association (AMA). We raised over $100,000, mostly through PTO donations. We created a program, hours4autism.com. That way, rather than reaching in their pocket, team members can donate hours of PTO time toward whatever charity we were getting behind at the time. Everyone got to participate in a little way that added up,” Brice said. MC Residential also encouraged vendor...

MS Gong Ride Nov21

MS Gong Ride

When was the last time that you hopped on a bike and cycled nearly 51 miles? Team members  from the Yardi office in Sydney recently completed the 82km bike ride fundraiser, MS Sydney to the Gong. The course traces the southeastern coast of Australia, from bustling Sydney to beautiful Wollongong. The feat of endurance and passion raised funds for those living with multiple sclerosis. Graeme Pearse, Shaunak Kelkar, Zane George, Charobelle Campos and Chris Mumford were among the Yardi representatives. Most of them were cycling novices. “Before getting to the event, it’s important to note that we are novice riders, amateur at best,” shares Mumford. “Some of the team didn’t even own a bike when I first sent an email out to see who was interested. But a bit of training together gave the necessary confidence that we could do the distance.” The iconic race is worth the effort. About 10,000 cyclists get the opportunity to tour spectacular coastline south of The Harbour City. Most importantly, they are able to raise money for a debilitating illness that affects more than 23,000 Aussies. With compassion in their hearts and training as their foundation, the Yardi team prepared to overcome the odds. The odds weren’t favorable. At 7:30am, the Yardi team congregated near the start line, close to the back of the pack along with other beginners. The cyclists, amateurs and professionals, huddled against the cold rain which would last for long periods throughout the ride. Mumford says, “That said, the mood was upbeat with everyone excited about the challenge ahead and being part of something big and knowing this was raising money to a very worthwhile cause. The start, finish and route throughout was lined with many people cheering us on and many of those were living with...

SAFE House

Junior League is a woman-operated nonprofit organization that is committed to developing the potential of women, promoting volunteerism, and community improvement. Junior League of Santa Barbara (JLSB), founded in 1924, continues the tradition of leadership and service in the central coast. Several Yardi team members are involved with LSB including Tori Fisher, Sustainer Melanie Calbow, and Kelly Johnson. Johnson has been with the organization for four years. “I joined JLSB because I have always had a passion for volunteering and wanted to find more ways to become involved with the community,” says Johnson. “Through trainings, I have learned to excel in a variety of areas outside of my current job role and am learning to be a better leader.” She adds, “While the international Junior League was first founded in 1901, I think it is more relevant today than ever before.  Our mission remains the same: promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.” “We work towards making lasting improvements in the community, just as women did in the early 1900s,” Johnson continues. “Too often we hear about all of the negatives in the world and we need people coming together to make changes for the better.” The organization continues to be a positive force in the community. In 2016, JLSB raised more than $100,000 for local causes. Additionally, the Focus Area Committee at JLSB undertakes extensive research to select a Signature Project, the nonprofit’s most ambitious community service endeavor. One project can take several years. JLSB took on the renovation of Eastside Library as a former Signature Project. Phase one gave the teen space a modern and appealing update. Phase two transformed the basement of the library to a bright, fun, and welcoming space...

A-Team, Unite! Nov09

A-Team, Unite!

Jessica Krisher, Director of Affordable Housing CSD at Yardi, creates tiny blue “A-Team Flags” by hand. Traditionally, support team members that completed compliance and subsidy certifications received the flags. When they had a question, they would raise the flag to notify their managers. Over time, the flag became a broader symbol. It is a reminder that near or far, members of the team form a support system for one another and their clients. A New Tradition To show their solidarity, a few A-Team members carry along their flag during their travels. The team shares photo ops with the flag when they return to the office. “The A-Team Flags have become like Flat Stanley,” Krisher observes with a laugh, a bit bewildered. “It’s sweet that they take it out on their personal time. They’re thinking about us—though they shouldn’t be while they’re on PTO,” she adds. “But it’s nice that they’re taking the team with them on their adventures.” In pictures, A-Team flags fly on the tops of mountains, wave in the depths of the sea, and appear everywhere in between. Under the Sea Stephen Kearns, Affordable Housing Team Leader, Client Services Department was the first to carry the flag to the ocean floor. During a dive in summer 2016, he planted the A-Team flag in the sands of Palancar Reef near Cozumel, Mexico. When asked why he brought the A-Team flag along, he explains, “I wanted to make people back in the office jealous! Just kidding – well, partially.” After deeper reflection, Kearns adds, “It’s refreshing to see that your teammates don’t necessarily forget about everyone and everything the moment they walk out the door at the end of the day. To share the moments and travels with your colleagues back in the office...

The Benefits of BI Nov08

The Benefits of BI

In September, Yardi clients and employees gathered in sunny San Diego for the fall YASC event. A record turnout made for an exciting three days of product demonstrations, user classes and networking. On the topic of advanced business intelligence software and what’s working for clients, the Yardi Orion Business Intelligence Panel provided salient insights on making analytics available to all stakeholders — and best practices for delivering that data. On the panel were Dana Patterson, director of asset management at ALCO Management, Maria Braun, ERP business analyst at Bigos Management and Lisa Friedman, database coordinator at HCA Management Services. Aaron Wells, the Yardi client services team leader for BI, moderated. Choosing Orion BI over other options Yardi Orion Business Intelligence is a unique mobile-enabled platform that combines financial, operational and ancillary services data from Yardi Voyager to deliver holistic portfolio insight. The system features configurable dashboards with more than 200 key performance measures to choose from, and provides flexible reporting functionality to both desktop computers and mobile devices that enables fast, informed decisions. Dana Patterson of ALCO said, “We saw several demos for BI software before selecting Orion, and discovered that companies using those systems had to hire someone because BI software that isn’t integrated with your property management platform requires staff or a consultant to manually upload data monthly and manage it. We didn’t want to add staff so Orion was an easy choice because it’s built into our Voyager platform. Orion is constantly pulling data, and all staff need to do is log in to access real-time information as well as historical data. No administration is needed, and updates happen automatically.” Patterson explained that ALCO also uses Yardi RENTmaximizer for revenue management, Yardi Payment Processing for electronic transactions and RENTCafé for marketing,...

Feeding SB County

Members of the Yardi Marketing team gathered for a two-day conference in sunny Santa Barbara. As the conference drew to a close, the team celebrated with a volunteer service event at The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County (Foodbank SBC). Foodbank SBC is moving the community from hunger to health. The organization is “not only feeding but teaching how to fish.” Leslie Velez, Development Coordinator, explained, “Our motto means that the Foodbank helps clients move beyond a state of food insecurity through education and resources. With many of our programs, food distribution is offered alongside nutrition education, cooking instruction, exercise classes, and connection to support services like CalFresh and blood sugar testing. We want clients to have the tools they need to live healthy lives.” Foodbank SBC first works to ensure that clients have access to enough healthy food to feed a family. Of 10 million pounds of food distributed each year, half is fresh produce donated by groceries and local farms and gleaned from people’s homes. To continue the fishing metaphor, the organization has also created “the net,” a network of partners. Members include gardeners, many of who are Master Gardeners, who teach gardening classes year-round. Budgeting classes are led by a partner nonprofit to help people shop smart for food. The Foodbank also issues “fishing” tools, programs for growing food, preparing food, and using food in a way that improves food security. The Feed the Future initiative encompasses six educational programs geared towards youth and teens. Food Literacy in Preschool and Healthy School Pantry collaborate with local schools to promote access to fresh produce and provide an enhanced understanding of nutritional intake. Healthy School Pantry serves more than 8,000 clients. Kids Farmers Market gives kids an interactive experience with growing fruits and vegetables, selecting...

Pitching In

Nearly three dozen Yardi Atlanta team members and their loved ones recently volunteered for the Mimosa Elementary School Courtyard Cleanup. Their efforts transformed a neglected square into a welcoming space for students and faculty. A growing body of research confirms the importance of green space in communities. They foster physical and mental health, bolster energy, and even reduce crime rates. The myriad of benefits associated with green spaces highlights the significance of the elementary school courtyard. Winding walkways, a spacious deck, and raised garden beds made the courtyard a beautiful place for learning. School counselor Flynn Pustilnik explained, “Teachers can facilitate their reading or writing time outdoors and incorporate science curriculum into that time. Some teachers have incorporated project-based learning with our outdoor space and made habitats for the turtles out there. As the counselor, I like to use the outdoor space to eat lunch with students.” In recent years, however, weeds filled the garden beds and shrubs peaked near the gutters. In Georgia, school budgets do not include funds for landscaping other than grass mowing. A gardening club invested personal funds and time to maintain the space for years but the club eventually dissolved. The courtyard became a less inviting place. The two turtles—one of which is more than 14 years old—were the only ones who liked to linger in the courtyard. It was time for an overhaul. Yardi Atlanta stepped up to help the local school. The courtyard cleanup is one of many outreach collaborations between Yardi and Mimosa Elementary School, including a recent school supply drive. The morning of the event, rain drizzled as the volunteers arrived to the parking lot, unloading the gardening tools and cleaning supplies that they brought from home. Other volunteers arrived with supplies from Home Depot, purchased with gift...

Growing with Matrix Oct25

Growing with Matrix

With 4,200 units of owned multifamily housing, MACC Venture Partners is on a mission to more than double in size, according to managing partners Tony and John Azar. Based in Gastonia, N.C., MACC Venture Partners is a private equity owner operator of commercial real estate engaged in active pursuit of capital preservation and appreciation. With over 4,200 owned apartment units and over 5,000 under management, the family owned and operated firm is currently pursuing an aggressive growth strategy of Class B and C properties in the Southeast U.S. To identify the best deals to augment its portfolio, MACC Venture Partners chose Yardi Matrix as its source of dependable real estate data. Matrix offered the most complete information for the most reasonable price point, and covered all the markets required, John Azar said. Yardi Matrix is the real estate data provider of choice for MACC Venture Partners because of its comprehensive market analytics, including for secondary and tertiary real estate markets. Many of the properties that MACC Venture Partners considers for acquisition are often located outside of major cities, so coverage of these markets is important for the company. “The granularity of the data was important to us and not only from a primary market perspective. We don’t operate just in major metro areas, we operate in first, second and third tier areas. Yardi Matrix has the data we need,” said Azar. Matrix was instrumental during MACC Venture Partners’ recent acquisition in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where the company purchased a 168-unit garden apartment community in partnership with Legacy Capital Partners. “(Matrix) was very relevant to this transaction because North Myrtle Beach area had less available data than Myrtle Beach. This was a situation where Yardi gave us good data not just about the...

Success Stories

Little makes us happier than hearing about a client’s success with one of our products. Unless that same client is experiencing success with three of our products! We recently had exactly that happen when we sat down to chat with Belinda Torres and Heather Palmer of Continental Realty Corporation (CRC) about their experience with RENTCafé. It turned out that CRC wasn’t just getting positive results and feedback from using RENTCafé, the company was also seeing measurable returns by extending its marketing platform with both RENTCafé CRM and RENTCafé Reach. Keep reading to see how CRC improved their online presence, lead tracking and organic traffic with a suite of integrated marketing solutions. Meet CRC CRC was founded in 1960. Headquartered in Baltimore, it’s a full-service multifamily and commercial real estate investment and management company. It uses Yardi software to manage a diversified portfolio featuring nearly 10,000 apartment homes and retail centers consisting of more than 3.5 million square feet of space. Better Websites Before adopting RENTCafé, CRC had a corporate website that hadn’t been redesigned in a decade and didn’t have individual property websites. “There wasn’t any SEO value,” said Torres, corporate marketing director at CRC. “Keywords and alt tags weren’t being utilized. There was nothing to help a prospective resident find us.” CRC used RENTCafé to create marketing websites for every multifamily property in its portfolio. CRC also uses COMMERCIALCafé to create websites for its commercial properties. “The websites that we have now are attractive. Photos and tours are what people want to see, and we’ve been able to give that to them with RENTCafé,” said Torres. The sites are mobile-friendly and allow the marketing team to upload videos and custom content for each community. Applicants can apply online and receive and submit all...

Transition House

There is something special about nonprofit galas: the glitz, the big names, and the buzz of fellowship in the air. But how special would it feel if the gala didn’t exist at all? What if all of a nonprofit’s funds were directed to the people who need it most? Transition House explores the no-ball fundraiser concept with Help-a-Kid No-Ball. Transition House in Santa Barbara provides housing and services for families facing housing insecurity. Heather Stevenson, Grants Manager at Transition House, has seen hardworking families lose everything. “In Santa Barbara, the cost of living is so high that people without a safety net or family support can lose everything when an unexpected crisis occurs,” she said.  “A job loss or a medical emergency might be all that stands between a family that is already poor and homelessness.” She recalls a family that arrived to transition house several years ago. The father, a roofer, was unable to earn pay during one rainy winter month. Though he had part of his rent payment for the next month, he lacked $430. The family lost their apartment as well as all of their possessions. Transition House was there to help. The non-profit offers emergency shelter, transitional and permanent housing, as well as homelessness prevention services to promote long term stability. Each family obtains the essentials such as three meals each day, clothing and reliable shelter. Case managers and a career development specialist work together with heads of household to improve money management skills, education, and employment preparation. Since the organization exclusively serves families with children, about 60 percent of its residents are under the age of 18. When children enter Transition House, they are able to participate in uplifting programs and interventions that may provide the care and stability...

Tech Transforms Oct12

Tech Transforms

“Information technology is the core of your business and every business,” states Brian Turpin, vice president of information technology for Greenwin, one of Canada’s largest privately owned residential property management companies. Headquartered in Toronto, Greenwin has a combined staff of over 500 employees. The company professionally owns and/or manages more than 1,000,000 square feet of commercial space and 15,000 residential units throughout central Canada. Greenwin is currently using integrated software solutions for accounting, construction management, budgeting and forecasting, procurement, inventory control, and maintenance management — operating on a single platform. Turpin’s role over the past four and a half years has been to work with Yardi, Greenwin’s software vendor, to meet the company’s evolving needs as it seeks to do more digitally. Part of this rewarding relationship includes beta testing Yardi’s latest innovative products. Currently, Greenwin is testing VENDORCafé, the one-stop-shop for vendor management. Changing the Way People Work Turpin describes the way he looks at new technology as “digital transformation” and is always asking himself and his team, “what challenge does this product solve for us?” Usually, the answer to that question includes the ability to untether Greenwin’s staff with the option to use mobile devices and leave their laptops behind.  Turpin further elaborated on this line of questioning, “How can we do what we’re doing every day better, and where can technology take us? Are we at risk for falling behind, and do we need to automate more manual tasks and digitize our paper-based resources to create greater efficiencies?” For help with answering these questions and more, Turpin reaches out to Yardi. “Why not be the first to ask for something that maybe no one else is asking for yet? Yardi will endeavor to make it happen — and that close collaboration...

Intuitive Integration Oct11

Intuitive Integration...

With 30 senior living communities across six states, Merrill Gardens provides a lifestyle approach to senior housing that’s unique to each locale they inhabit. By designing each community with characteristics unique the area in which they reside, Merrill Gardens creates a comfortable and welcoming environment for residents so they can relax and feel at home. “We take great pride in the fact that we spend a lot of time making sure that our communities, especially the senior side have a place to live that is like a home,” says David Wiedeman, Business Systems Analyst for Merrill Gardens. “It’s a place you want to be. With activities integrated into the community, our residents aren’t living on an isolated island but are going to events and participating in clubs and other activities. This keeps everyone active and connected.” Making the switch to an integrated platform allows Merrill Gardens to avoid missed billing opportunities and increase revenue. Previious a CFO for a property management company, David was once a third party consultant for Yardi. When Merrill Gardens began implementing the Yardi platform, David and his team worked side-by-side with Yardi to ensure the switchover went smoothly. “If you have the vision of what you want, Yardi can build it,” says David.  “Yardi has a good knack of hiring people who are really good in their fields, they are specialized but can also be creative and help us meet our needs across different channels, including the residential and senior sides of our portfolio.” As part of his role as Business Systems Analyst, David spearheads software infrastructure and administration for Merrill Gardens, overseeing all Yardi modules as well as software implementations throughout the company. A big supporter of the single stack solution, David feels Yardi provides an unmatchable combination...

Austin Cap 10K

When it comes to celebrating the importance of parks, there is no better place to gather than a local park on a balmy spring day. Ideal weather helped to make Vic Mathias Shores Park the perfect backdrop for the 2017 Austin Cap 10K, a benefit race for local nonprofits. The Austin Cap 10K race winds 6.2 miles through the city and is accompanied by a two-day health and fitness expo. Participants are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite superhero or sport t-shirts from their favorite business or organization. Several Yardi Austin team members participated in the race including Dan Woodhead, Joshua Dwyer, Kelly Wolf, Ann Vejsa, Will Manns, Daniel Cook, Nicole Benavidez, Ashley Musso, and Robyn Chavez. Chavez, a five-time race participant, describes the morning of the event. “The weather was perfect! I was a little nervous but overall excited. There were more than 20,000 people who ran it this year and the crowd was amazing!” Participants are encouraged to walk, jog, or run the course. The race leads registrants through several popular landmarks in the city, which makes for terrific sightseeing at a slower pace. There are just enough hills to make the race a fun challenge for experienced runners. “I like to stay active as much as possible,” says Chavez. “Since I’ve done this race in the past, I like to continue with my yearly tradition and try to beat my time from the previous year.” Chaves beat last year’s time by two minutes. Post-race events take place at Vic Mathias Shores Main Lawn overlooking the Lady Bird Lake waterfront. Participants receive massages, free prizes and swag from vendors. Food trucks, live music, and interactive exhibits create a festive atmosphere for hours after the race has ended. What makes the Austin...

Apartment Idol

For musicians Jay Filson of Nasvhille and Jeremy Gentry of Chicago, a year of free rent in a brand-new apartment building is a golden ticket while they work toward establishing fledgling music careers. And for Chicago-based Magellan Development Group, a Yardi client, hosting the two musicians as “Artists in Residence” at its new properties is an amenity so unique that it has garnered significant press attention. Filson and Gentry are the inaugural winners of a creative lease-up competition held by Magellan as it marketed The Sobro in Nashville, and Exhibit on Superior in Chicago. The goal was to find Artists in Residence who would perform at the communities and provide music lessons to residents in exchange for a year of free rent. The Contest Each Artist in Residence winner competed against dozens of other musicians who submitted videos about why they were the most deserving and talented applicants. A live final performance, a la American Idol, concluded the competition. “Our Magellan principals envision this musician/artist in residence as teaching, playing, connecting with our residents in a variety of ways. They believe that music brings people together,” said Sherri Cuda, Director of Leasing for Magellan. Both Filson and Gentry are newly out of college and each was struggling to figure out what next steps their pursuit of a music career would take when they heard about the “Sobro Star” and “Exhibit A-Lister” competitions. Gentry, who works at one of Chicago’s dueling piano bars in the evenings, was thinking of moving back in with his parents. Filson had been working in marketing but knew that music was really the passion he wanted to pursue. “This is the kind of opportunity that does not come up, ever,” Gentry said. “I’m hoping that before next year I can make some original music. That’s my goal, to release an EP or a short album of original music before my time is done here.” Filson has a similar plan. He was working at his alma mater, Indian Wesleyan University, when the opportunity to compete for free rent in “Music City USA” came his way. “I tried not to get my hopes up too high but it just seemed like such a perfect opportunity,” he said. “And then it worked out, so I packed up all my stuff and moved to Nashville.” Since arriving, he’s been working on establishing a broad base of contacts and exploring the local music scene. “People here really do care about music in a really exceptional way. So it’s fun to be able to play for people and residents here that really love music and are open to hearing new artists,” Filson said. Benefits all Residents As part of the terms of the contest, each Artist in Residence puts in 30 hours a month of musical contributions toward their community. “We get a great deal out of it, but the residents get in house entertainment on a regular basis,” said Filson, who often mixes his own original work with mash-ups from popular artists like Eminem. “I’ve been playing by the pool, playing any events we have, and playing events at other Magellan buildings,” said Gentry, who is trained as a pianist but also plays guitar and drums. To augment his preparation for work at the piano bar, Gentry asks his neighbors for their song requests when he plays at the pool. He also has a list of residents who are interested in lessons and plan to start teaching soon. Expanding Possibilities Cuda says that Magellan plans to continue to roll out the contest in other future lease-ups, with the option to expand the scope. The talent portion of the event garnered significant publicity and attention in both markets. Local public relations agencies helped market it via social media and local news outlets. “In future projects, we intend to tailor the program. We may include culinary, wellness, fitness, or other areas. We...

Sizzling Summer Luau

Did you know that 48 percent of California’s seniors lack sufficient income to cover housing and meals? That means two out of every five seniors have to choose between paying rent and having enough money for food. Serving Seniors is a 501c3 nonprofit that minimizes the financial burden faced by thousands of San Diego seniors. Since 1970, Serving Seniors has offered vital services including food, health care, housing, social and educational opportunities. It is the only organization of its kind in the county, and one of few in the country, to provide for the fundamental needs of seniors. Food and housing top the organization’s list of priorities. Seniors ages 60 and older are eligible for congregate meals and physical, mental, and social health services. Seniors 62 and older are eligible for those services as well as permanent affordable housing at the organization’s communities in East Village and City Heights. There is also a transitional housing program for seniors facing housing insecurity. “Meals and affordable housing are the most-needed services we offer,” says Shannon Fogg, Communications and Special Events Manager at Serving Seniors. “San Diegans can always volunteer to help serve meals or lead classes. Any kind of class is typically interesting to our curious seniors.” Serving Seniors understands that clients have needs beyond the necessities. Learning and socialization opportunities give seniors a chance to make new friends, learn new skills and develop existing abilities. To maintain mental and physical agility, seniors participate in classes for low or no costs. Yoga, Tai Chi, interactive games, art, crafts, and health education classes are just of few opportunities for mature adult learners. The Civic Engagement league empowers low-income seniors to address challenges that impact their community. They participate in volunteer opportunities, brainstorm and execute solutions to community issues....

ATL March of Dimes

Atlanta summers are known for their sweltering heat and ruthless humidity. Those conditions were no match for Yardi Atlanta. The team of eight braved the heat to show their support for babies during the March of Dimes March for Babies. Supported by donations from fellow team members, their efforts helped to give hope and support to babies and their families. March of Dimes was born as the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, a response to President Franklin Roosevelt’s personal struggle with polio and his desire to see the disease eradicated. The organization fought and achieved its mission to end polio in the United States before turning its attention to broader services. The nonprofit now supports March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center in its fight for healthy babies. The center leads in groundbreaking research on the genetic causes of birth defects, screening methods, as well as pregnancy education for medical professionals and the general public. March of Dimes and the Prematurity Research Center have experienced major breakthroughs. The teams created and improved surfactant therapy to treat respiratory distress. The new Folic Acid Campaign successfully reduces incidences of neural tube defects and birth defects of the brain and spine. The organizations also founded a system of regional neonatal intensive care centers for premature and sick babies. To continue the good work, March of Dimes relies on March for Babies as its primary fundraiser. There are thousands of marches across the United States each year, each one uniting teams of family members, coworkers, and friends on a journey towards a future for healthy babies. Yardi Atlanta team members Heather Humrich, Monique Benson, Ken Romero, Kami Reid, Wendy Caffrey, Shana Winbush, Charity Williams, and Elizabeth Daniels participated in the march. They represented Yardi on the walk of the...