Conifer Realty Receives Prestigious International Award for Corporate & Social Responsibility

The Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) hosted its annual Inaugural Gala Dinner and Real Estate Management Excellence (REME) Awards Celebration on Friday, October 13th in Chicago

Conifer Realty, LLC is honored to have received the 2017 International Award for Corporate and Social Responsibility from the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) presented at the 2017 Real Estate Management Excellence (REME) Awards.

This year’s finalists covered both residential and commercial sectors, including submissions from the US, Canada and China. The Corporate and Social Responsibility category recognized exemplary corporate responsibility and contributions to the community that enhance the reputation of real estate management.

Conifer was recognized for its initiative and leadership in developing a brand-new, state-of-the-art homeless shelter in Rochester, NY, the House of Mercy. “For a city of our size, Rochester has the highest poverty rate in the United States, so when we first heard of Sister Grace’s story and the House of Mercy, in 2015, we knew we had to take action to provide our time, talent and treasure to an organization and an individual who had given her whole self to the needy in Rochester,” said Tim Fournier, Chairman and CEO at Conifer.

The House of Mercy was founded in 1985 to provide shelter, food, clothing and case management services to those in need. The first building offered 19 beds with a need that far exceeded its capacity.

“In March of this year, The House of Mercy opened its doors to a brand new 82-bed, state-of-the-art homeless shelter at a new location, just minutes from Downtown Rochester, closer to the population served, other providers and transportation hubs,” said Fournier. “The new building, designed by NH Architecture, more than triples the size of the previous shelter location. It includes an innovative sleeping area with 82 separately partitioned beds providing the guests with their own space to add a feeling of dignity.”

Conifer-LeChase Construction (CLC), a joint venture between Conifer Realty and LeChase Construction, was the General Contractor for the substantial 15,000 square foot rehabilitation of the new building. Under the leadership of Vice President Brian Russo, CLC donated the construction fee and was able to obtain over $100,000 in donations from their subcontractors.

“The House of Mercy is a true testament to “Greatness from Many”, it was with superior partnerships and collaborative team efforts that this once blighted site of disrepair has risen an 82-bed homeless shelter,” said Fournier. “Lisa Kaseman, Vice President of Development Operations and Jim LeChase, Senior Vice President of Construction at Conifer Realty worked diligently and tirelessly on the new shelter and I’d like to thank them for their efforts, for without them, we would not be looking at such a beautiful, revitalized building for the needy in Rochester.”

Tim Fournier along with Dick Crossed co-chaired a Capital Campaign for the House of Mercy, raising over $3.6 Million in private financing to develop, construct and maintain the new House of Mercy. In addition, the NYS Homeless Housing Assistance Corporation (HHAC) contributed a $2.3 Million grant and the City of Rochester gave an additional $500,000. Sister Grace Miller, Director at the House of Mercy played a pivotal role in increasing awareness of the need for a larger, safe, state-of-the-art homeless shelter in Rochester. Her effort and dedication to the homeless have provided shelter, food, clothing, and case management to thousands of Rochester residents for over 30 years.

“We see a happiness we didn’t see before,” said Sister Grace Miller. “And to show the impact of the new building, the first day we opened up and [the] homeless were coming in, they’re saying ‘oh, this is beautiful, it’s like a hotel,’ and two of them said, ‘I’m going to turn my life around,’ and I think the fact that we have a beautiful building like this, does a lot for their own image, their own ego, their own self-worth – they really feel they’re important, that they are human beings and they’re being treated like human beings. So, our gratitude to Tim and to Dick is unfathomable, we cannot thank them enough. And they’ve given the homeless hope.”

Many members of our community demonstrated tremendous generosity; we could not have accomplished this achievement without their commitment and support. We’d also like to thank Kelly Finnigan, House of Mercy’s Director of Operations, as well as the House of Mercy Board Members: Bernard Sass, Christine Castronova, Barbara Green, Bob Bartolotta, Miriam Zinter, Edward Hourihan, Jamie Winnick, Dick Crossed, Jim Vogel, and Alan Hanford; as well as past Board Members: Ashley Papp, Laurent Esquier and Pam Smith, for their never-ending support.

This project has been an excellent example of how companies can give back to their communities. Conifer will continue to work with the House of Mercy, providing our best practices, pricing relationships and staff to aid the shelter in providing an on-going, safe, quality place for its guests to rest their heads.

Conifer’s property management team touches the lives of over 20,000 residents on a daily basis – with the addition of the House of Mercy, we are now taking steps to end homelessness by providing shelters and a plethora of affordable housing options in the markets we serve. We are truly humbled to know that what we do every day makes a difference.

“Hospitality to all – no matter how lost,” said Sister Grace Miller.

The House of Mercy is always in need of donations and volunteers. For more information on how you can get involved, please call (585) 546-2580, or visit