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June 26, 2001

Latino, Asian and African-American entrepreneurs from across the United States are on the University of Southern California campus in Los Angeles this week to learn fundamental real estate skills needed to revitalize inner-city neighborhoods.

"We teach them to run their spread sheets and structure their deals so they can reach their well-intentioned goals," said Stuart Gabriel, Ph.D., a founder of the Lusk Center’s Summer Program in Real Estate at USC.

Program Director David Dale-Johnson, Ph.D., also a founder of the program, said this year's class includes mortgage bankers, non-profit housing developers, attorneys, real estate brokers and others from the private and public real estate sectors all seeking to "jump-shift" their real estate development career path.

Students include former heavyweight champion Buster Mathis, who heads a residential and commercial development firm in Florida; Heriberto Barrios, an executive with the National Farm Workers Service Center in Oxnard, Calif.; and Los Angeles real estate agent Patricia Lankford, who became a mother at age 13, then graduated from college and now works with a non-profit women's group to create inner-city housing.

The Lusk Center faculty this week is calling on real estate developers, bankers, architects and urban planners to lend their technical expertise, networking and team-building skills to help the 28 students enrolled in the program.

Volunteer instructor Stan Ross, chairman of the Lusk Center Board and former vice president of Ernst & Young, said the classes integrate economics with social policy.

"Non-profit doesn't mean you don't make money. You simply can't achieve the social good without the economics," Ross said.