ULI starts Debra Stein “YIMBY” fellowship for women land use experts

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Debra Stein, GCA StrategiesIn honor of her legacy, ULI San Francisco has established the Debra Stein “YIMBY” (Yes In My Back Yard) Graduate Student Fellowship to support promising young women in their pursuit of responsible land use and urban development.

Frank Noto, Debra’s business partner for 19 years at GCA Strategies in San Francisco, explains: “Our hope is to provide these students with unmatched access to both professional networks and to knowledge of best practices in urban development – while seeding the next generation of female leadership in our field. The Fellowship represents Debra’s ideals of education, mentoring, responsible urban development, and women’s advancement.
“Every $15,000 in contributions funds a full two year Fellowship for one student (fellowship details attached). We hope to support at least one young woman a year for the next five years (grand total of $75,000). Among ourselves we have already pledged $16,000 and hope you will help further Debra’s legacy with a generous contribution.
“Jeffrey Heller will match, dollar for dollar, the next $10,000 of contributions, so your tax?deductable donation will help us meet this goal even more quickly. The Fellowship will be launched in the Spring of 2010 to serve the first student in Fall 2010. Applications will be open to all female students across the country who meet the selection criteria.”

Mike Saint, chairman and CEO of The Saint Consulting Group, wrote about Debra Stein in June 2009.

For further information about the fellowship, see details below:

Debra Stein Student Fellowship
The mission of the Debra Stein “Yes In My Back Yard” (YIMBY) Student Fellowship is to support promising women graduate students in their pursuit of responsible land use and urban development.
Chosen Fellows will be provided with a passport to participate in Urban Land Institute (ULI) events and educational activities at the national and local level during their final year of graduate school and their first year in the workforce.
Fellowship Benefits
Two-year free ULI Full Membership with all rights and privileges thereof
 Registration to attend ULI semi-annual meetings – Spring Council Forum and the Fall Meetings (including tickets for events) – for two years
Travel and lodging allowance for Spring Council and Fall Meetings
 Admission to a Product Council and its meetings and functions (including Council dues and Council reception/dinner at the Spring Council Forum and Fall Meeting) for two years
 Admission to all local District Council events for two years
 A seasoned ULI leader as a mentor for two years, based on student’s interest areas
 A copy of all Debra Stein’s publications
 Orientation to ULI and on-going Fellowship management by ULI San Francisco District Council staff
Cost of Fellowship Annually:
ULI Full Membership $1,300
Registration for Spring Forum and Fall Meeting $3,400
Travel and Lodging for Spring Forum and Fall Meeting $2,000
Product Council receptions/dinners $300
Council Dues $500
Total $7,500
Selection Process
The selection committee are land use leaders and professional colleagues of Debra Stein, who will meet annually over at least the next five years to choose the Fellow (see signatories of cover letter). Members of this selection committee can nominate their replacements. The Fellowship will be managed by ULI San Francisco District Council staff in cooperation with national Product Council staff.
Selection Criteria
The selection committee will consider the following criteria:
Female graduate student in good standing entering their final year in a land use-related field, including: real estate, city planning, urban design, political management, finance, economics, government, law, civil engineering or related fields.
Indication of commitment to YIMBYism (Yes In My Back Yard, pro-responsible growth) work.
Strong leadership potential in the field of urban development.
Debra Heller Stein, ULI leader and CEO of GCA Strategies, died unexpectedly July 30, 2009 of complications related to a rare neurological disease at 48. Debra authored ULI books and articles, served on national and local ULI Advisory Service Panels, led workshops on community participation around the country, served as a “Mentor” to ULI San Francisco’s Young Leaders Group, and served for many years on ULI’s national Programs Committee.
Debra was a nationally recognized land use expert, public affairs professional and published author who
counseled some of the largest developers in San Francisco and across the United States. Debra graduated
from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in political management and held a law degree
from the University of San Francisco. Debra was an expert in building community support and finding
political solutions for land use projects.
She was the author of four books on the subject as well as numerous articles related to development and
smart growth. She was considered one of the country’s top experts on NIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard)
and was often called to speak at land use conferences and events nationally. She had a particular soft spot
for affordable housing, and worked on several projects throughout the country.
Debra was married to noted architect Jeffrey Heller, whom she met in 1986 while they were working on a
project at San Francisco City Hall.
Debra Stein Student Fellowship
Pledge Invoice
Contributor (name):
Contribution Amount:
$15,000 – 1 Student
for 2 years
$7,500 – 1 Student
for 1 year
$3,750 – 1 Student
for ½ year
$1,875 – 1 Student
for ¼ year
Other _________
Please make check out to “ULI San Francisco” with “Debra Stein Fellowship” in the note.
Mail checks to:
ULI San Francisco
One California St, Suite 2500
San Francisco, CA 94111
The Urban Land Institute is classified as exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Accordingly, gifts to the ULI San Francisco District Council are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.


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