Press Release

Building the Next Generation of Real Estate Professionals: REBNY, CUNY and Project Destined Launch 2021 Summer Internships


June 17, 2021

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In its Second Year, Program Expands to Serve 150 Students and Adds New Community Platform to Help Interns Network with Industry Leaders

Young New Yorkers of Color Speak Out About Their Paths to Building Careers and Creating a More Diverse and Inclusive Real Estate Industry

NEW YORK, NY – The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), the City University of New York (CUNY) and Project Destined today announced the launch of their 2021 summer internship program in commercial real estate, which provides diverse CUNY undergraduate students with a paid, eight-week virtual internship that will put them on the path to pursuing careers in the real estate industry.

This internship program, which is entering its second year, is now expanding to serve 150 CUNY students from across the five boroughs. Last year’s inaugural program was launched virtually amid the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and helped 100 CUNY students avoid losing in-person summer internships that were cancelled due to public health restrictions at that time

This collaboration with CUNY and Project Destined is an important piece of REBNY’s broader, ongoing efforts to work with stakeholders throughout New York City to create a more diverse and inclusive real estate industry and develop a strong pipeline of diverse talent. The internship program is made possible by CUNY, as well as this year’s REBNY program sponsor Donald Zucker and platinum sponsors BentallGreenOak, SL Green, Himmel + Meringoff Properties, Tishman Speyer and Newmark, among other REBNY member sponsors.

“As the real estate industry continues to drive New York City’s recovery and long-term economic growth, it is young New Yorkers of all backgrounds who will drive the next generation of real estate across the five boroughs,” said REBNY President James Whelan. “We are excited to see the incredible opportunities that this internship program is already delivering for CUNY students and we know that partnerships with stakeholders like CUNY and Project Destined will continue to play a critical role in ensuring that our industry reflects the diversity of our City.”

The launch of this year’s internship program is accompanied by the launch of the new Project Destined online community platform, which provides exclusive opportunities for all Project Destined interns to network directly with past interns who are advancing their careers and real estate employers and mentors throughout the industry.

Students will also gain more learning opportunities this year through the upcoming launch of a new accredited course in Real Estate Financial Modeling at CUNY’s Lehman College, which will be available this fall and will be led by Project Destined. This new course builds on last year’s launch of the accredited course on Commercial Real Estate Fundamentals at Lehman college, which is also continuing this year.

“Last year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with our partners REBNY and Project Destined, we launched this program allowing 100 CUNY students to embark on virtual internships, providing them with an exciting career opportunity when they needed it most,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “Now as we emerge from this dreaded pandemic, the program is expanding to include 150 students from throughout the city, helping them gain valuable experience, develop in-demand skills, while creating a more diverse and inclusive real estate industry — all important factors that will contribute to the revitalization of New York City’s economy.”

“We are excited to expand our partnership with REBNY and CUNY to prepare this incredible group of students for a career in commercial real estate,” said Project Destined Co-Founder Cedric Bobo. “This is a powerful example of leading firms translating words into action by providing diverse undergraduates with the skills and access required to build a great career while also impacting their community and their city. The success of this work is evidenced by the growth in this model in cities across the country.”

This program has already begun to generate additional internship and employment opportunities for previous interns of diverse backgrounds, some of whom are now interning or working for some of New York City’s most prominent real estate firms. In addition to playing a firsthand role in creating a more diverse real estate industry, these young New Yorkers of color who are now entering the industry are continuing to stay involved in Project Destined programming by engaging and inspiring other young people as they embark on their own internships and paths forward.

“I am grateful for the REBNY x Project Destined x CUNY Internship as it was a life changing opportunity that equipped me with knowledge and confidence to pursue a career in Commercial Real Estate,” said Ismael Almanzar, a 2020 intern. “It also provided me with a tremendous platform to build relationships with industry professionals and an amazing set of peers. I feel both empowered to have an actual equity stake in my community and proud to launch my career in real estate as a Corporate Solutions Intern at JLL and Program Manager at Project Destined."

"My name is Aaliyah St. Louis and I’m currently working as a Development Intern at Hines. My experience with the REBNY x Project Destined internship helped me secure employment at one of the largest real estate investment firms in the world,” said Aaliyah St. Louis, a 2020 intern. “The program taught me the skills that are required to evaluate live deals and allowed me to network with industry professionals from prestigious firms across the globe. Not only have I strengthened my technical real estate skills, I also learned how to be a great team member which will surely benefit me as I embark on my career path."

“While making the transition to College during a pandemic, Project Destined provided a sense of community where I could learn, grow and build a network,” said Meenakshi Mugrai, a 2020 intern. “I began as an intern during the first semester of my freshman year in the Project Destined x REBNY x CUNY Fall 2020 Internship Program and I was able to not only learn a tremendous amount of real estate but I was also pushed to step outside of my comfort zone where I shifted into becoming more confident and being a leader. Through the power and network of Project Destined, this summer I will have the opportunity to join Related Companies and I am very excited to continue on this journey and one day impact others.”

In addition to delivering significant results for CUNY students, the success of the internship program along REBNY and CUNY in New York City has enabled Project Destined to expand this model into more than 20 cities worldwide – including Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta – to continue building talent pipelines and increasing industry diversity.

REBNY is committed to advancing efforts that help attract, retain and advance women, people of color, and others from diverse backgrounds in the real estate industry. The organization’s REBNY Fellows Program aims to foster a more diverse and inclusive real estate industry by creating and cultivating a pipeline for rising leaders of diverse background within the industry. On the collegiate level, REBNY has collaborated with CUNY to assemble informative career panels focused on the pathways to leadership roles in real estate. Additionally, REBNY partners with Building Skills NY to connect underemployed New Yorkers with jobs and training to create new career pathways into the construction industry, a partnership that has resulted in placing more than 1,200 individuals from diverse backgrounds since 2016. REBNY’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts are supported by REBNY ’s Diversity Committee, which works to create professional opportunities and improve and promote the diversity of the trade association’s membership and the real estate industry at large.

“The future is youth – all youth from all backgrounds,” said Donald Zucker, CEO & Founder of the Donald Zucker Company. “The REBNY Project Destined internship program fulfills this.”

“Tishman Speyer is proud to partner with CUNY, REBNY, and Project Destined to help develop talent and build a real estate industry that truly reflects the diversity of New York City,” said Rob Speyer, President & CEO of Tishman Speyer. “This program is a perfect embodiment of Tishman Speyer’s longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, talent development, and a strong economy across all of our city’s neighborhoods.”

“Successful investment management teams of the future will need to be as diverse as the cosmopolitan markets that we invest in,” said Sonny Kalsi, CEO of BentallGreenOak. “We need diversity of thought, background, and lived experiences to help us tap into the opportunities for growth and value in the commercial real estate industry. Together with Project Destined, we are paving a path for young, bright minds to find their way into our industry with meaningful experiences that will lay the foundation for their future career success.”

“Newmark is committed to increasing opportunities for underrepresented groups in all areas of the real estate sector,” said Barry Gosin, CEO of Newmark. “We are uniting with Project Destined, REBNY and CUNY with the common goal to introduce a diverse and talented group of college students to entrepreneurship and, year after year, foster the next generation of owners.”

“SL Green has a long-standing commitment to the development and growth of tomorrow’s industry leaders and we are proud to be a program sponsor for the REBNY/CUNY/Project Destined Summer Internship initiative," said Edward V. Piccinich, Chief Operating Officer, SL Green Realty Corp.

For more information about the 2021 summer internship program, see here.

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The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) is the City’s leading real estate trade association. Founded in 1896, REBNY represents commercial, residential, and institutional property owners, builders, managers, investors, brokers, and salespeople; banks, financial service companies, utilities, attorneys, architects, and contractors; corporations, co-partnerships, and individuals professionally interested in New York City real estate. REBNY conducts research on various civic matters including tax policy, city planning and zoning, rental conditions, land use policy, building codes, and other city, state, and federal legislation. REBNY regularly publishes market data, policy reports, and broker surveys. In addition, REBNY provides for its members: informational, technical, and technological resources; networking and charitable service opportunities; qualifying and continuing education courses; professional education programs, seminars, and designations; career-changing awards; legal advice; and a wide range of additional member benefits. For more information, please visit


The City University of New York (CUNY) is the nation’s largest urban public university, a transformative engine of social mobility that is a critical component of the lifeblood of New York City. Founded in 1847 as the nation’s first free public institution of higher education, CUNY today has seven community colleges, 11 senior colleges and seven graduate or professional institutions spread across New York City’s five boroughs, serving 500,000 students of all ages and awarding 55,000 degrees each year. CUNY’s mix of quality and affordability propels almost six times as many low-income students into the middle class and beyond as all the Ivy League colleges combined. More than 80 percent of the University’s graduates stay in New York, contributing to all aspects of the city’s economic, civic and cultural life and diversifying the city’s workforce in every sector. CUNY’s graduates and faculty have received many prestigious honors, including 13 Nobel Prizes and 26 MacArthur “Genius” Grants. The University’s historic mission continues to this day: provide a first-rate public education to all students, regardless of means or background.


Project Destined is a leading social impact platform that provides training in financial literacy, entrepreneurship and real estate. Founded in 2016, Project Destined partners with corporations, schools and non-profits to deliver training using its proprietary e-learning platform and live courses. Project Destined leverages a work-based learning approach where students work with executives to evaluate live deals in their community and present them in a pitch competition to industry leaders. Scholars emerge with the skills, confidence, experiences and networks that prepare them to secure a strong first job and to become stakeholders in their community. For more information, please visit