Impact stories

Beal Legacy Scholarship recipient Tasha Rush is celebrated as an inspiring IREM chapter volunteer.

Name: Tasha Rush

Chapter: IREM® Chicago Chapter
Current Membership: ARM®
Member since: 2019
Impact: Beal Legacy Scholarship recipient

Her story

Starting in the real estate industry as a housing inspector, Tasha found success because of her passion for working with people and making everyone around her feel comfortable. She’s always enjoyed helping others so when she was offered a position as an assistant manager at a senior apartment complex, she jumped at the opportunity, knowing she could have an even deeper impact.  Soon after she started, she was introduced to IREM and obtained her ARM.  In 2019, Tasha was inspired to start her CPM® journey and looked to the Foundation for financial assistance along the way to help her meet her goals. Since that time, Tasha has continued taking courses and has served on several IREM committees both within the Chicago Chapter as well as on a national level, including being appointed to the 2022 DEI Advisory Board. Not only is Tasha pursuing her professional goals by working toward her CPM certification, but she’s making the world a better place by volunteering and giving back to those in her community and in the industry.


"Volunteering has given me great pleasure knowing I’m a part of a collective whole, making an impact, and that I am essential in moving the mission of IREM & the Foundation forward."

Our impact:

To support Tasha as she continued to work toward her CPM, the Foundation has been honored to award her two scholarships throughout her education journey, a Donald M. Furbush, CPM® Scholarship and one of the very first Robert K. and Gladys M. Beal Legacy Scholarships, launched in 2021. The Beal Legacy Scholarship is awarded to IREM members who demonstrate both merit and service by volunteering with their local chapter. We’re proud to be part of Tasha’s professional journey and she continues to make a difference in the community and real estate management industry.

Scholarship recipient inspires others to pursue their own CPM path.

Name: Carron Fillingim

Chapter: IREM® Louisiana Chapter
Current Membership: CPM candidate
Member since: 2020
Impact: Donald M. Furbush, CPM® Scholarship recipient

Her story

By the time Carron was in her 30s, she had already been through two rewarding careers in two different industries but found herself looking for a new path. She answered an ad for position in real estate management and hasn’t looked back ever since. She became involved with her local IREM Austin chapter and wanted to pursue her CPM certification but hesitated to move forward, worried about the cost. That’s when she applied for a Foundation scholarship.


"Once I obtained the IREM Foundation scholarship, it truly lit a fire in me and gave me the confidence I needed to sign up for my first courses."

Our impact:

With the additional financial help of the Donald M. Furbush, CPM® Scholarship, Carron set a goal to complete one course a month for 4 months straight, and she did it! Her path also inspired her peers to apply for scholarships and begin their IREM and CPM journeys. Now in her new home of New Orleans, Carron looks forward to continuing her IREM education, with the help of the Foundation, and reaching her goals.

Financial freedom with a Foundation scholarship fast-tracked this recipient’s dreams.

Name: Maya Ramirez

Chapter: IREM® Orange County Chapter
Current Membership: CPM®
Member since: 2015
Impact: Donald M. Furbush, CPM® Scholarship recipient

Her story

Mayra Ramirez was at a crossroad in her career as an Assistant Property Manager. She wanted to expand her knowledge of the industry and explore new career opportunities, but she didn’t have the financial means to do it. Her employer at the time would only fund one educational class per year so she was stuck on an 8+ year path toward her dream of earning her CPM certification – until she discovered and applied for an IREM Foundation scholarship.


"From the beginning of my journey until today, I have received a 70% increase in compensation directly correlated to my CPM certification dream. A dream that would not have been possible to achieve so quickly without the IREM Foundation scholarship."

Our impact:

Mayra was awarded a Donald M. Furbush, CPM® Scholarship which allowed her the financial freedom to take charge of her career goals and earn her CPM certification in just three years! She is now a leader in her local IREM chapter and hopes to pay it forward by working with local universities and students to promote IREM and the mission of the Foundation.

The Foundation knows diverse perspectives are needed to help communities thrive. Our programs develop inclusive leaders.

Name: Samantha Thornton

Chapter: IREM® Austin Chapter
Current Membership: CPM®, ARM®
Member since: 2011
Impact: 2021 Diversity & Inclusion Succession Initiative (DISI) Leader

Samanth Thornton

Her story

Increasing diversity within the real estate management industry is something Samantha Thornton, CPM®, ARM®, is not only passionate about but is committed to making a reality. In 2021, she was named the Chairwoman of the Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion (DEI) committee for her local IREM Austin Chapter and a 2021 DISI Leader, making a remarkable impact on both her local community and for the industry on a national level.

Samantha has set her focus on the hiring and recruiting process and how unconscious bias plays a rather large role in that. “No one is free of these biases and my goal is to make people in leadership roles aware of this and help to find more structured tools to change and diversify our industry. We can grow so much as an industry the wider we open our arms to embrace more people.”

Samantha is now paying it forward as a participant in the other Foundation initiatives and raising funds to support DEI initiatives, like future DISI Leaders and the Foundation’s Diversity Scholarship. Thank you for making a difference, Samantha!


"Diversity and representation are so important in the workplace. When people see leadership that represents them, they know they can achieve high levels of success. One of the most rewarding things about the work I've done as a DEI advocate and IREM DISI Leader is watching the change happen right in front of our eyes."

Our impact:

The Foundation is proud to support the IREM DISI program which recognizes underrepresented individuals in the real estate management industry who want to excel in their career. As a DISI Leader, individuals receive a complimentary registration to attend the annual IREM Global Summit, as well as a travel subsidy, professional mentorship, networking opportunities, and offered free leadership courses.

Elaina’s Sustainability Grant Award Winner

Company: Demi Composting:

Location:Chicago, IL

Their need:

Demi is on a mission to make composting the new normal. Composting offers a way for small choices to aggregate into big impact by dramatically reducing methane emissions - one of the leading causes of climate change. But until Demi, there have been no feasible options for urban apartment buildings and no strong enough incentives to make the average person want to compost. We want to disrupt this, by partnering with building managers to offer everyday residents sleek, biodegradable composting bins, streamlined pick-up services, and a mobile app that makes composting fun and engaging. However, as a young start-up, we need support to turn our innovation into reality.

"Thank you so much for helping us get our project off the ground and into a reality! We are so excited to fund our first pilot project and bring composting to the city."

Our gift:

Demi is currently focused on standing up all operations of their business. They have worked tirelessly on building their team, refining their environmental business model, and developing strategic partnerships with community organizations and compost processors. Demi is now focusing their efforts on a business development and marketing project, looking to build their brand among urban apartment buildings and raise awareness around composting as an activity for apartment-dwellers.

Through this project, Demi hopes to fund 10 pilot initiatives with small condo buildings, catalyzing operations so that they can build momentum towards the Fall, when they hope to land their first major partnership with a large apartment building for a soft launch. This project will also involve launching a social media marketing campaign to broadly disseminate educational information and awareness around the positive impact composting has on our planet.

Elaina’s Sustainability Grant Award Winner

Company: Apple Patch Community, Inc. dba Pillar

Location: Louisville, KY

Their need:

The Apple Patch Community was founded because a group of parents worried what would happen to their children with disabilities when they could no longer care for them. Pillar built 17 homes over the course of five years with the oldest being approximately 20 years old. They are seamlessly integrated into two neighborhoods, so that one home may belong to Apple Patch and the other may belong to your family.

"We have a responsibility to maintain these homes and keep them a warm and comfortable place to live for our residents. Conducting air sealing on our homes will not only make our homes more sustainable but will also lower the costs of utilities for our organization and by proxy our residents. 100% of our residents are low income and while utilities are included in their rent fees, if utility prices continue to rise rent costs will have to rise.

This will be such a great opportunity to lower our utility costs and hopefully provide a model to be replicated in other communities around the country!"

Our gift:

The Apple Patch Community will be able to address the energy usage of their homes with real world environmental data, which benefits everyone as it reduces our energy usage which is good for the environment. More directly it benefits the adults that live in these homes.

A $2,400 grant will allow the community to work with a weatherization company that is providing services at cost to air seal one of our 17 homes. This is the most effective weatherization tool that reduces energy use for homeowners. Following the results (and hopeful savings) of the first home, Apple Patch will be able to replicate it to their other 16 homes.