Children doing a science experiment Children doing a science experiment

Serving the communities in which we operate

We are committed to supporting the neighborhoods which we are fortunate to serve. Across our portfolio, we strive to create a lasting benefit through corporate charity initiatives and property-led community events. In 2019 alone, our retail assets hosted over 500 community events.

A group of children listening to a teacher A group of children listening to a teacher

Where community programming and tradition meet

For the 47th year in a row, The Mall in Columbia in Columbia, Maryland, hosted the Howard County Public School Art Exhibit in 2019. This exhibit was held throughout the common areas of the mall and featured over 3,000 works of art from 72 Howard County public schools. 

Additionally, Family Fun Day has been in existence at The Mall in Columbia for nearly 25 years—a long-standing tradition and family favorite. This event is free to the community, where parents and caregivers alike are welcome to bring children to participate in the activities while learning in a fun environment. The activities include singalongs, story time, magic acts, puppet shows, and more. Miss Julie, a retired schoolteacher, has hosted this beloved event since its inception.

A whiteboard during an employee meeting A whiteboard during an employee meeting

Global focus based on local roots

In 2019, our Chicago office showed its support for multiple nonprofit groups that focus on educational needs within the local area. This included educational donations and support for Countee Cullen Elementary School, employee volunteer sessions with Open Books, and participation in the Ronald McDonald House Pop Tab program. 

Throughout our second year of supporting Countee Cullen Elementary School we:

  • Hosted the school’s Beta Club, which celebrates high-performing students, at our offices for career introductions and interactive activities 
  • Built 30 bikes as a team exercise, which were donated to the school during our bi-annual operations conference. This incentivized students who received perfect attendance and/or the highest standardized test scores 
  • Participated in a career day which allowed a number of our employees to explain their jobs and professional paths
  • Donated Office Depot® Gift Cards to each teacher before the start of the school year
Two children climbing on a truck Two children climbing on a truck

Summer Garden at Ridgedale Center in Minnetonka, MN

In 2019, Ridgedale Center partnered with the University of Minnesota’s “Master Gardener” Program to open one of the first community gardens at a U.S. mall property. The garden features native plants, including two different varieties of Minnesotan apple trees which were developed, in part, by the University of Minnesota. Customers are welcome to harvest and enjoy items from the garden. In addition to maintaining and enhancing the garden, we hope to further engage the local community in sustainability through additional initiatives, such as the establishment of an organic recycling program at the property. 

In 2019, our Summer Garden Celebration showcased the opening of the garden with multiple community events, including a floral mural painted by Atlanta-based artist Niki Zarrabi, live modeling, and a succulent bar.

Downtown Atlanta skyline Downtown Atlanta skyline

Food donation in Atlanta

In addition to improving our waste operations, 2019 marked the commencement of a food waste pilot program at three of our properties in the Atlanta market—Cumberland Mall, Perimeter Mall, and North Point Mall. We engaged with food tenants at our malls to promote the donation of surplus food to local charities as an alternative to merely discarding it. 

This program connects food tenants with local charities and creates an easy and direct way to donate leftover food to communities in need. Through our pilot program we’ve contributed to three organizations in the area: I Care Atlanta, Second Helpings, and 7 Bridges to Recovery. We are looking to expand this program to other markets and are excited by the additional opportunity to positively impact the communities we serve.

Awards and recognition

2019 was a year full of recognition for our property teams’ commitment to sustainable operations. The results of their hard work and dedication were submitted to the Institute of Real Estate Management's (IREM) Certified Sustainable Properties (CSP) program, which provides a meaningful distinction for existing buildings and, upon certification, highlights our commitment to sustainable property operation. This holistic program allows our properties to demonstrate success in five categories across energy, water, recycling, health, and purchasing.

A community-focused portfolio


community events hosted in 2019


sq. ft. certified by IREM's CSP program


consecutive GRESB Green Star in 2019