CCIM Feature

Committed to the Cure

Past president puts his networking skills to work for juvenile diabetes research.

Serving as a CCIM Institute leader fosters communication, organization, and networking skills that often evolve into new business opportunities. For national past President Allen M. Feltman, CCIM, owner of Allen M. Feltman Real Estate in Plano, Texas, these important leadership skills transcended real estate into a cause that hit very close to home.

On Nov. 15, 1999, the day Feltman passed the gavel to W. Duncan Patterson, CCIM, he received news that changed his life forever: His son Alec, who was 10 years old at the time, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Feltman soon put his leadership skills to work in a new capacity as a Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation volunteer. Currently, he is the Greater Dallas Chapter's vice president of financial development. "The skills you use to raise money for these [fund-raising] events are really no different than the ones you use in selling real estate," he says.

About a year after learning about diabetes, which affects more than 18 million Americans, Feltman discovered JDRF, an international organization whose sole mission is to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through research support. "After a long run of CCIM involvement, I knew I wanted to volunteer my time for something else. Little did I know it would be something of this nature," he says.

His initial visit to the Dallas chapter's headquarters was just the beginning of a strong commitment to finding the cure. As logistics chairman, he worked with local volunteers to organize the Collin County Walk, a fund-raiser that drew 3,500 participants last year; this year's goal is 5,000 walkers. "I actually use my real estate skills to attract new companies to walk with us," Feltman says of the corporate partners he solicits to participate in and support the annual event. "It takes that type of networking and targeted marketing"

In the future, Feltman would like to create a fund-raising model that could work for chapter events nationwide. "I'm working to connect the dots through networking," he says. "Similar to how large real estate companies facilitate business in different locations, a local [sponsorship] partner in Dallas, for example, could connect with his office in Boston for an event. As one person, I don't have that many tools or contacts at my hands, but through a network we can gain national support."

For now, he starts by contacting area corporations' decision-making managers, who many times say they relate to the organization's goals because a family member or friend has the disease. He also reaches out through various CCIM connections. Ultimately, raising awareness is the most critical part: "It's really about talking to people and telling them about the disease," he says.

Feltman also devotes much of his time to special events, such as the spring gala and an annual golf tournament. "It's like a part-time job for me now," he says. The fruits of his and other volunteers' labor are apparent: The chapter raises about $3 million annually for diabetes research.

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