Ryan Companies, Building Stories of Impact 

by Tyler Butler

Through thick and thin, Ryan Companies has a history of doing the right thing. Its community support is rooted in its purpose to create places for people to thrive. Its leadership recognizes that commercial real estate leaves an imprint on customers, team members and the larger society, and they’ve made a commitment to be a valued partner in growing stronger communities.

Since 1938, Ryan has created a legacy of commitment to communities, the environment and its people. Stewardship is one of its core values, and “Always do the right thing,” attributed to former CEO and third-generation leader Jim Ryan, is one of the mottos the company commonly uses. Ryan has grown from a small family-owned company into a company where everyone feels like family. And while the company has grown significantly, its leadership has never walked away from the values and culture that are rooted in its core: integrity, honesty and community.

“Ryan’s commitment to positively impact the communities we work in every day is deeply embedded into our culture and is a commitment we act upon in a variety of ways. Through employee donations, corporate matches, regional grants, scholarships and volunteer time, Ryan and our team members live the company motto of ‘Do the right thing’ in cities and neighborhoods throughout the country,” shares Colleen Kucera, vice president of marketing and Southwest regional representative to the Ryan Foundation Committee.

This commitment is put into action through a variety of programs, one of which empowers Ryan employees to donate to any 501(c)(3) charity they are most passionate about. Ryan takes this commitment one step further by matching all logged donations. In 2020 alone, Ryan Companies team members donated to 540 different nonprofit organizations, and additional regional or corporate grants were awarded to many more. Each fall, Ryan’s 15 offices spend a week focusing on events, games and impactful charitable missions to put a spotlight on localized donations and volunteering in the communities where they work and live.

Chuck Carefoot, president of the Southwest region , says, “We support employee contributions of time and talent through community service by encouraging each team member to use up to 20 hours of work time annually to volunteer in the community. Stewardship truly defines the culture at Ryan; our employees do a fantastic job of engaging in their local communities to give back to causes they are passionate about.” 

A vital component to Ryan’s strategic planning is a focus on its total societal impact. Its leadership is mindful that what the company does and how the company does it makes communities better. Each year, the efforts of the companywide Ryan Gives Back initiative results in hundreds of thousands of dollars of giving, including employee donations, matching funds and corporate grants. While each of its regions select organizations to support year-round, its main event is the annual Ryan Gives Back campaign.

Ryan also gives back by leveraging its own business as a conduit for positive change. Every few years, the company selects a nonprofit project and credits back all project fees. In 2021, Ryan chose the Arizona Humane Society to support through its new campus, which broke ground late last year: the new Arizona Humane Society Rob and Melani Walton Papago Park Campus, a 72,000-square-foot campus and medical complex that will be a state-of-the-art facility that will create a sustainable, long-term system of care for the Valley’s most vulnerable animals. Thanks to Ryan’s generous support, all profits on the project were credited back to the Arizona Humane Society, which, according to the company, represents a savings of more than $1 million.

The Arizona Humane Society Rob and Melani Walton Papago Park Campus, which will be located near Papago Park, will allow the Arizona Humane Society to offer comprehensive rescue, medical and behavioral care for pets at a level not yet seen in the United States.

These larger charitable giving efforts are guided by the Ryan Foundation Committee, which focuses corporate funds to three areas: Health & Wellness, Education, and Food & Shelter. The company is known to sponsor charitable events across the country, from hospital galas to golf tournaments and walks for various causes. Ryan has a full-circle giving program and also holds fundraising events regularly, for team members, customers and vendors, with money raised going to local nonprofit organizations. 

Ryan has ensured the company’s legacy of giving will continue. It has created the Jim Ryan Award, which was established to be given out annually to the team member who best exemplifies the stewardship qualities of the late CEO, who passed away almost 10 years ago. Recipients are nominated by their peers and are considered for their unwavering commitment to the greater good. The award comes with a $10,000 donation that can be directed to the charity of the winner’s choice. It’s through programs such as this and the company’s many other contributions that Ryan will continue creating communities that thrive.  

Tyler Butler is the chief social impact officer for the Weedmaps’ corporate portfolio, where she leads programs that positively impact humanity. She is also the founder of 11.11CoLab and is often cited as a subject-matter expert by Forbes, SHRM, Entrepreneur, US News & World Report and more.

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