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Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate Announces New $10K DL3 Realty Scholarship for Graduate Certificate in Real Estate Development

August 6, 2021

The Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate at Roosevelt University (MBIRE) today announced that DL3 Realty, a Chicago-based minority-owned development firm, has established a new DL3 Realty Impact Scholarship Fund that will award $10,000 in scholarships annually to underrepresented students pursuing a graduate certificate in real estate development. Two qualified applicants to the certificate program will be awarded $5,000 each, beginning with the 2021-22 academic year.

“DL3 Realty’s generous support will make graduate-level commercial real estate knowledge accessible to professionals of color, allowing them to reach their career potential in an industry that has long been challenged by a lack of diversity,” said Collete English Dixon, executive director of the Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate.

In fall 2020, MBIRE launched two graduate certificate programs: Real Estate Finance & Investment and Real Estate Development. These new post-baccalaureate options were created due to the demand from professionals wanting to advance their skills without having to make a two-year commitment to pursuing a graduate degree. An MBIRE certificate can be completed in two semesters, taking two courses each semester. Classes are scheduled in the evenings to make it easier for students working during the day.

“I know firsthand how hard it can be for a person of color to break into commercial real estate, so I want to help minority students, especially those committed to community development,” said Leon Walker, Esq., managing partner of DL3 Realty, a firm that has invested more than $100 million toward real estate developments in some of Chicago’s neediest neighborhoods over the past few years. “I am passionate about mentoring our scholarship recipients on our ‘venture development’ approach, which includes partnering with private investors, local authorities and community organizations to transform historically disinvested communities through inclusive development.”

Professionals with a bachelor’s degree, and preferably with a background in commercial real estate, can apply now for MBIRE’s graduate certificate program and the new scholarship for the fall 2021 semester.

Following are additional guidelines and criteria for the DL3 Realty Impact Scholarship Fund:

  1. Students must be enrolled in the non-degree, real estate development post-baccalaureate certificate program.
  2. Preference is given to African American or Hispanic students, and to students who demonstrate a strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
  3. Scholarship recipients must maintain a 3.0 GPA for scholarship renewal.
  4. The fund shall award scholarships to at least two students annually.
  5. Scholarship recipients must participate in supplemental programming hosted by the MBIRE and attend industry events hosted by DL3 Realty. Students will be invited to be featured in DL3 Realty publications and social platforms.

“Our ultimate goal is to create a cohort of DL3 Realty ‘Impact Scholars’ that would be comprised of at least four to eight students,” Walker said. “But to achieve that we need additional commitments of at least $10,000. There’s been a lot of talk about moving the needle in CRE diversity, and this is one tangible opportunity for other real estate firms to make that a reality.”

Walker is also offering students use of one of DL3’s development projects as the students’ “community project,” which is a graduation requirement. Other plans for the cohort include either guest lectures from the developer sponsors or two to four “lunch and learn” sessions with the developers during the academic year.

Last year, MBIRE honored Walker with the 2020 Changemaker Award at its 19th annual and first virtual Real Estate Gala. “We want to create a new narrative around what it means to be engaged in communities of color and how we execute uplifting investments that provide both financial rewards as well as a positive social impact,” says Walker. “Our projects bring light, opportunity and hope, which inspires people to take different steps and make positive choices.”

For students who do want to continue their studies, the graduate certificate in real estate development completes more than 50% of the credits needed to complete a master’s in real estate degree at MBIRE.

About Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate:

Established in 2002, the Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate at Roosevelt University (MBIRE) is a leading Chicago-based institution of higher learning offering master’s and undergraduate degrees as well as certificate programs in real estate. MBIRE also informs, connects and advances real estate professionals through events featuring industry-leading speakers and panelists. Conveniently located in the heart of Chicago’s Loop, MBIRE offers flexible and specialized programs geared toward successfully preparing professionals for today’s real estate challenges. MBIRE has graduated more than 350 students, many of whom hold leadership positions in development, investment, brokerage and property management in the residential and commercial real estate sectors. MBIRE graduates work at firms such as JLL, Lendlease, CBRE, Cushman & Wakefield, Libcor, Avis & Young, Barings and Chicago Public Schools just to name a few. For more information, visit


Leon Walker, Esq., managing partner of DL3 Realty, has established a new $10,000 scholarship fund for students pursuing a graduate certificate in real estate development from the Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate.