Commercial Real Estate

How Real Estate Council CEO Linda McMahon is Changing Dallas

D CEO will honor the admired professional with its first Excellence in Community Service award.

Ask anyone in the Dallas commercial real estate community to name some of the city’s most admired professionals, and Linda McMahon will be on that list. Over the past decade, the TREC president and CEO has tirelessly worked to improve North Texas. 

McMahon has championed neighborhood revitalization initiatives, such as the Dallas Catalyst Project, which invests more than $1 million in grants and pro bono services to revitalize the Forest District in southern Dallas. She also has been behind TREC launching an Affordable Housing Fund with $2.6 million in seed funding from the PRO Neighborhoods investment and an additional grant from AT&T. Last year, McMahon was one of three North Texans asked to participate in a statewide effort to develop a steering policy to benefit urban areas.

For these reasons, D CEO is honored to present McMahon with the first Excellence in Community Service award at its annual Commercial Real Estate Awards program on April 28.

“Dallas is a tale of two cities – that is an acknowledged fact,” McMahon says. “Our work matters because as an industry, we are addressing our city’s most pressing problems in partnership and in support of community-based organizations who witness the struggles of families every day.”

An unparalleled year, 2020, brought many unexpected triumphs and upsets to the Dallas business community, learning to navigate the waters of a global pandemic. 

Under McMahon’s guidance, TREC pivoted and continued to provide the TREC membership with a sense of stability. From a community standpoint, the organization took on a proactive approach to the pandemic by engaging its membership and providing over 100 networking opportunities – even virtually. Likewise, more than 70 educational programs engaged nearly 3,000 participants throughout the year. Members completed over 3,300 volunteer hours of pro bono professional services, even with social distancing and shelter-in-place protocols. Public policy efforts also continued, engaging nearly 400 members. TREC encouraged and supported citywide efforts to get businesses back on their feet once Dallas reopened, including the adoption of parklets, and encouraging affordable housing initiatives. 

Last year, TREC helped its community partners, St. Philips and Cornerstone, gain almost $1.4 million in city funding for projects through the Dallas Catalyst Project. This was a major win and a real example of true collaboration between business, nonprofit and public sources.

“Our unique approach of combining professional and expert human capital with financial capital has supported hundreds of projects throughout the city but most recently the Dallas Catalyst Project and the creation of the Dallas Collaboration for Equitable Development,” McMahon says. “We are a national model of combining the commercial real estate industry membership organization with community investment and policy initiatives.”

In 2021, TREC introduced a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee with the goal of candid discussions about what TREC’s responsibility to its members and the industry is within the equity space. The Committee developed a comprehensive and evolving plan to increase diversity and inclusion within the Dallas commercial real estate industry. This committee resulted from over six months of candid discussions on race, equity and inclusion with members. TREC has been engaged in communities of color for over 26 years. Over the period, TREC  has provided $15 million in grants and supported more than 250 nonprofits.  

Leveraging her community investment experience, McMahon successfully guided the TREC Community Investors team in three submissions that secured  $725,000 from the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Program through the U.S. Department of Treasury. The funds supported TREC Community Investors programs that help businesses in underserved communities get access to capital, such as unique programs like TREC Shark Tank and Real Estate Boot Camp and the Real Estate Accelerator program, an intensive nine-month process that pairs burgeoning developers with TREC mentors, project managers, and other volunteers to help them refine finance and development plans for community-oriented real estate projects.

One of the biggest financial successes has been McMahon and TREC’s ability to secure grants from JPMorgan Chase for its work in the Forest District, The Bottom, and West Dallas Census Tract 205. The initial PRONeighborhood grant of $400,000w will fund the one-year study that resulted in the Community-Driven Growth Report evolved into a second PRONeighborhood grant in 2019 of $6 million to implement the report’s recommendations. The JPMorgan Chase PRONeighborhood grant is one of only seven grants awarded nationwide and is the largest grant ever awarded to TREC Community Fund. 

“These initiatives focus on healthy, economically vibrant, and diverse communities concerning the history of these communities,” McMahon says. “What makes me most proud is that we are inspiring the next generation of leaders who are contributing their talents to enrich the lives of thousands through building relationships and improving their built environment.”

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