Business Issues

Paying It Forward

Those who contribute to the CCIM Foundation are giving to those who seek the CCIM designation.

The CCIM Foundation provides the scholarships allowing many commercial real estate professionals to earn the CCIM designation. To accomplish the goal of raising funds for scholarships, the Foundation needs a solid financial base. Its contributions come from many CCIMs. To recognize those individuals, the Foundation recently formed the Leadership Society. 

Within the Leadership Society, those who have contributed $20,000 or more reach Platinum level status. To date, Sandy Shindleman, CCIM, 2012 CCIM Foundation president; Patricia Tesluk, CCIM, 2016 CCIM Foundation president; Robin Webb, CCIM, 2015 CCIM Foundation president and 2016 CCIM Institute president-elect; Susan Groeneveld, CCIM, executive director of CCIM Foundation; and Gary Ralston, CCIM, 2016 presidential liaison and CCIM senior instructor have achieved the Platinum level of contributions. Why have they been so generous to the CCIM Foundation? Discover their motivations for giving back.

CCIM Foundation: What motivated you to become involved?

Sandy Shindleman: The education I received from CCIM Institute was the basis upon which I built a successful business. Working with the Foundation allows me to give back to my profession and help others pursue similar goals. We all succeed by helping others.

Robin Webb: From the start, I was a donor to the CCIM Foundation. About 2002, I decided that I also wanted to give back to the organization by volunteering my time and expertise.

Patricia Tesluk: Being part of the Jay W. Levine Leadership Academy Class of 2006 gave me a broader perspective of what the Foundation accomplishes. At Foundation Board meetings and knowing those who served before me, it's clear that Board members are committed to the future of the CCIM designation and want to give back by volunteering their time and talent.

During Robin Webb's term as the 2015 CCIM Foundation president, which programs did you focus on?

Webb: We undertook an initiative to approach employers of CCIMs for corporate donations. We also created 10 Named Endowed Scholarships, which was the most ever in a single year, and awarded scholarships to 113 individuals.

As the 2016 President of the CCIM Foundation, Patricia Tesluk, what new initiatives are underway?

Tesluk: We know there are countless places to donate; we are truly grateful to our members who made the choice to support the CCIM Foundation.

We have asked the Foundation directors to become ambassadors to the local CCIM chapters and discuss the valuable work of the Foundation. Many chapters do not realize that their funds for scholarships come from the CCIM Foundation.

We have plans underway to communicate more often with our donors. We introduced “The Red Thread” - not only the name of our newsletter - but to illustrate how the red thread started. The Red Thread began with CCIM Institute and an individual's interest in securing the CCIM designation. This thread continues to wrap around its members, encourages fellowship, and, finally, finds its way to the CCIM Foundation, which supports and encourages new members and designees. 

Why do you think it's important for CCIMs to contribute? 

Shindleman: It's a tangible way to give back to the organization and industry. Every foundation requires money to continue and expand its work. The CCIM Foundation is no different and needs the support of CCIMs.

Webb: If you have a “heart” for the CCIM pin and the organization, the logical outcome is to become a donor. Give what you can every year consistently.

No matter how much that is, it will grow and you'll soon find yourself a member of the Leadership Society. Remember that the donation is tax-deductible, so always consider the CCIM Foundation when you're making your charitable donations for the year.

Tesluk: I fondly remember all my instructors and how generous they were with their time and sharing details about transactions. I wanted to be a force in promoting the benefit of the CCIM designation. A great way to express gratitude is to share with others; being able to assist individuals with scholarships as they pursue the CCIM designation is an impactful way to give back to the industry.

Gary Ralston:  As I began my career in commercial real estate, I was counseled that “you have to learn to earn.” The CCIM education program provided that opportunity. As a committed continuous learner, I support education and encourage all of my fellow successful CCIMs to support education by contributing to the CCIM Foundation.

Susan Groeneveld: I give to the Foundation because it has been such a big part of my life for the last 30 years, and I want to give back. I donate to the Named Endowed Scholarship that was created in my name because all the alumni of the Jay W. Levine Leadership Development Academy benefit. There are more 100 alumni, so the money spent each year from this fund benefits them.

For those of you unfamiliar with the work of the CCIM Foundation, visit  to learn more. 

Continue Reading

Mary Stark-Hood, JD, CFP

Mary Stark-Hood, JD, CFP, is president of the Hood Group, Inc., and serves as a consultant to the CCIM Foundation. Contact her at

Advertise with Us

Reach more than 45,000 top-performing commercial real estate professionals with CIRE magazine’s print, podcast, and online offerings.

Download the Media Kit


Ready Your Business for Recession

Fall 2022

While the market is unpredictable, preparations can and should be made for difficult economic times.

Read More

Creating Opportunities Out of Adversity

Fall 2021

The anxiety resulting from COVID-19 is a barrier that must be addressed and overcome to find the opportunities and succeed.

Read More

New Year, New Approach to Budgets

Winter 2021

Considering the volatility and uncertainty of 2020, budgeting for the new year will require more than business as usual.

Read More

Negotiating Difficult Deals


For advisers to less experienced investors, the commercial real estate transaction remains all too human. It’s their job to navigate through the emotions, the competing interests, and the miscommunication to get to that closing.

Read More