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Christiana Foglio-Palmer Expands Community Investment Strategies With Diversity at the Forefront
Real Estate Development Company Creates Career Paths for Women and Minorities in Business
"There is a new level of awareness that people, regardless of income level, are defined by where they live and where they work," said Foglio-Palmer, whose company boasts a multi-family portfolio of 2,000+ units valued in excess of $350 million.
Guided by Foglio-Palmer's public service, professional planning and private development expertise, CIS specializes in affordable, market-rate and senior housing initiatives. "We build for the long-term and are guided by a ‘with you for life' philosophy that goes beyond just bricks and mortar," she said.
As a for-profit, boutique real estate company, CIS expects to double its size in the next five years. "Affordable housing is now being implemented in urban and suburban markets to serve as a catalyst for local economic development,"
The company distinguishes itself from its competitive set by providing in-house finance, development, construction and on-site property management services. These services are an extension of the company's commitment to build value-added communities for area residents, children, municipalities and local businesses by repositioning unproductive properties and land parcels. "We build and maintain communities where we would live ourselves, serving a demographic of mostly women and minorities that reflects our own company," added Foglio-Palmer.
Creating Communities and A Career Path
Since a majority of CIS' tenants are female minorities, the CIS team feels it is not only important, but imperative to promote gender and ethnic diversity on a company-wide and community-wide basis. Led by Foglio-Palmer, the senior-level management team includes vice presidents Theresa Reed and Barbara Schoor; and Elsie Velez, chief financial officer. "We have a team of professionals and support staff that have the ability to make a difference. We are doing just that, each and every day. That feels good," said Reed.
"Since day one, CIS has been attracting, hiring, retaining and promoting the most talented and ethnically diverse professionals, many of whom are tomorrow's leaders," said Foglio-Palmer. "We support them on a professional level, by encouraging them to take risks and pursue senior-level positions, and we support them in their roles as mothers, daughters and caregivers by offering them flexibility."
The company also hires locally based female- and minority-owned subcontracting firms for each development project as standard practice to support economic and business growth. This philosophy also extends to the people of all ages who call a CIS community their home. From intergenerational mentoring programs at affordable senior housing communities, to after-school care, resume-writing programs and computer training at communities designed for low-to-moderate income households, CIS' diversity inspires others.
"We not only talk the talk; we walk the walk," said Foglio-Palmer.
Based in Lawrenceville, N.J., CIS is widely acknowledged for its dedication to developing the most appropriate low-to-moderate housing options and has been consistently recognized for its award-winning communities, business model, corporate citizenship and advocacy. The company is a past recipient of the Corporation for Supportive Housing and Supportive Housing Association of NJ Supportive Housing Award, Top Woman-Owned Business in New Jersey Award, Van Zandt Community Involvement Award and the Urban Land Institute's Edward J. Bloustein Award for Exemplary Achievement in Civic Leadership.
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About Community Investment Strategies, Inc.: Community Investment Strategies (CIS), Inc., is a fully integrated real estate organization specializing in multi-family housing, including 55+, senior housing and mixed-use redevelopments, as well as market-rate and affordable housing. The for-profit woman owned company's in-house finance, development, construction and management services are an extension of CIS' commitment to build value-added communities for area residents, children, municipalities and local businesses by repositioning unproductive properties and land parcels.