In June of 1976, the American Right of Way Association (ARWA), predecessor of the International Right of Way Association (IRWA), elected to adopt a separate, non-profit corporation known as the Right of Way International Education Foundation (RWIEF). The Foundation’s purpose was to raise, grow, and manage funding for education courses, professional development programs, scholarships, and awards to Association members, as well as provide grants for studies on important issues affecting the right of way profession. In its first year, the Foundation was tasked with funds management and expansion of three scholarships bestowed by the Association; the Frank C. Balfour Scholarship, the Mark A. Green Award, and the Gene L. Land Award.
A sea change in the scope of right of way work began in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Right of way agents had been expected to be a jack of all trades – appraisal, negotiations, engineering, title research, relocation, and property management. The knowledge base of these agents tended to be extensive but vague. Industry trends began moving toward more specialized agents with specific training and expert knowledge in one field. The Association responded by providing better access to education, increased training options, and specialized education staff to develop and coordinate course offerings. Members could now have more advanced training that went beyond the basic principles. All of this would take secure funding at the time, and into the future, making the Foundation a critical partner for education.