CAI’s Best Kept Secret

BY ROBERT W. BROWNING, PCAM, RS

If CAI is the best kept secret in the community association industry, what is the best kept secret within CAI? Of course that would be easy: The Foundation for Community Association Research (Foundation.) The name may sound familiar to you if you are the one who pays your CAI dues, as every CAI renewal invoice has a $10.00 voluntary contribution check-off for the Foundation. Besides asking for money from all of you each year, what else does the Foundation do?

For starters, the Foundation was created by CAI over 30 years ago and is a 501(c)(3) corporation devoted to common-interest community research, development, and scholarship. The Foundation supports and conducts research relevant to the growing share of the U.S. housing market represented by close to 300,000 homeowners associations, condominium communities and cooperatives.

The Foundation offers quality research and surveys, publications promoting best practices and educational studies, scholarships encouraging and supporting academic interest, and the resources for every chapter to work with its local members to place CAI and Foundation materials in local libraries.

Research Products and Publications- The Foundation supports scholarly research through the Byron Hanke Fellowship. Graduate students can apply to the Foundation for grants to conduct research on enhancing the communities in which we live and work.

Best Practices Reports- These are useful tools covering such topics as governance, community harmony and spirit, energy efficiency, financial operations, strategic planning and new for 2008: security.

Salary Survey- Published every few years, this chronicles what managers and other association employees earn, along with employee benefits and more.

Nationwide Survey of Homeowner Satisfaction- Conducted by Zogby International, this survey reveals the opinions of homeowners in associations throughout the country – how they feel about the rules, their boards, their managers, and more. It is just out in early 2008.

Scholarships- The Jerry Fein Memorial Scholarship provides funds for homeowners to attend CAI’s national conferences. Applications are now being taken for the Orlando conference in May 2008.

Adopt-a-Library Program- For a tax deductible donation of only $350, YOU can provide your local library with CAI publications valued at more than $1,500. The Foundation underwrites a large portion of the cost and the sponsor and local chapter gain recognition and publicity for the contribution.

As President of the Foundation for 2007/08 I have made a commitment to spread the word on the Foundation. Last year, we adopted a five year strategic plan capitalizing on the above strong programs and initiatives as well as layering a few more on top of them. Look for our booth at the Orlando conference in spring 2008.

How can you get involved? It’s simple. Visit the Foundation’s web site at www.cairf.org to learn more. You can also make a donation to the foundation at 225 Reinekers Lane, Suite 300, Alexandria, VA 22314. Or call us at (703) 548-8600.

Robert W. Browning, PCAM, RS is President of the Foundation for Community Association Research. He owns the Browning Reserve Group in Sacramento, CA and has been President of the CA North Chapter twice and served 6 years on CAI’s Board of Trustees. Bob can be reached at Bob@BrowningRG.com or (877) 708-0600 Toll Free.

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