CCIM Feature

The CCIM Foundation: Past, Present, Future

Conceived by Jay W. Levine, CCIM, and other early members, including Victor Lyon, CCIM, the CCIM Institute has built its reputation on delivering the most in-depth education and analytical tools available in the commercial real estate industry. Both Levine and Lyon were instrumental in developing specialized commercial real estate education. However, they also saw the need to establish the CCIM Foundation to provide support for students pursuing the designation. These two early CCIMs left a legacy of commitment, passion, and financial contributions to establish the Foundation’s solid financial footing.

The two men met in the 1960s when Levine started teaching the courses for the Certified Property Exchangor, or CPE, program in Washington State. When Levine was chairman of the International Traders Club (ITC/Exchange Division of the National Institute of Real Estate Brokers), he and Lyon talked about offering more formal versions of the courses through that entity.

In 1966, the NIREB acquired the CPE program and in 1967, the two men taught the first national education offering. In 1969, the CPE designation became the Certified Commercial Investment Member, or CCIM, designation and the forerunner of today’s CCIM Institute was born.

In the ensuing years, Levine and Lyon became lifelong friends and dedicated time to teaching courses. In 1986, the Victor L. Lyon Award was created, and Levine was the first recipient for his vast contributions to the CCIM education program. In 1996 Levine received the first Jay W. Levine, CCIM, Distinguished Service Award, to recognize his outstanding contributions to the growth and development of the CCIM Institute. Finally, the Jay W. Levine Leadership Development Academy was created in his honor. This nine-month program is designed to build leadership skills in CCIMs to prepare them for roles within the Institute as well as in their communities and professional careers.

In its early days, the CCIM Foundation was a committee of the CCIM Institute that provided CI 101 scholarships through the CCIM chapters. Both Levine and Lyon had the desire and recognized the need to provide financial support so the work of the Foundation could continue for future generations.

Lyon’s family made a significant financial contribution to the Foundation through a bequest from Lyon’s estate and also established a Named Endowed Scholarship in the name of his wife, Elise, upon her passing. In 2003, Levine left a legacy contribution of more than $2 million through the donation of real estate and other assets. He wanted the Foundation to continue its work of providing scholarships to worthy recipients, assisting individuals in pursuing the CCIM designation, and helping them to become knowledgeable and effective specialists in the commercial real estate industry. Funds from his legacy gift are used for matching funds on Chapter Named Endowed Scholarships. There currently are 60 Chapter Named Endowed Scholarships with a goal of reaching 100 by 2017.

At present, because of the financial support of these individuals and many others in the Trustees’ Circle and the Chancellors’ Circle, the Foundation continues to financially assist individuals with course scholarships and provide chapters with matching funds on Named Endowed Scholarships. This is an ongoing objective of the Foundation for which support is still required.

As the CCIM Founding Fathers did when identifying charitable organizations for annual and legacy donation purposes, consider the CCIM Foundation in your own planning. It’s customary for individuals to provide donations to charities. Often individuals include universities from which they graduated to acknowledge the valuable impact their degree has had on their career. The same applies when obtaining a valuable designation to demonstrate a specialization in an industry. Thus, while doing your annual planning along with your estate planning, consider including the CCIM Foundation along with your other charities of choice.

Go to for more information on providing support to the CCIM Foundation.

Mary Stark-Hood, JD, CFP is president of the Hood Group, which provides consulting services to business organizations and foundations. She currently serves as a consultant to the CCIM Foundation. Contact her at

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


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