Lew McGinnis is the owner of a real estate investment firm he founded in Nichols Hills, Oklahoma, more than 50 years ago. Outside of his work in real estate investment, Lew McGinnis has been involved in a diverse range of charitable causes, including literacy tutoring, volunteering with underprivileged children, and fundraising for hospitals.
Along with the direct positive impact that volunteer work has on people in need, becoming active in charitable initiatives also provides a collection of personal benefits for those who donate their time and effort. For example, according to a study conducted by the London School of Economics, individuals who participated in charity work were more likely to classify themselves as very happy compared to those who did not volunteer time to charitable causes.
Buoying this stronger sense of personal satisfaction is the fact that people who engage in charitable work often find themselves surrounded by other volunteers who share their values, providing them with the opportunity to interact socially and connect with others. Learning from and contributing to causes alongside like-minded individuals has the potential to lead to more genuine connections, creating a stronger sense of community and overall higher levels of contentedness.
Criminal Justice and Mercy Ministries (CJAMM)
Lew McGinnis has worked in the field of real estate investing for more than 55 years. Alongside his professional activities, Lew McGinnis works to give back to the community through his support of organizations such as Criminal Justice and Mercy Ministries (CJAMM), which is conducted by the Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church.
In its efforts to break the cycle of incarceration, addiction, and criminal behavior, CJAMM oversees a variety of programs for currently and formerly incarcerated individuals and their families. For youth affected by incarceration, CJAMM offers the New Day Camp, which gives children the opportunity to take part in therapeutic and recreational activities with counselors and other youth from similar backgrounds.
During the weeklong camp, participants enjoy arts and crafts activities, water sports, and therapeutic games that help promote teamwork and self-confidence. Campers also have the opportunity to make new friends and share their stories during small-group discussions with their peers.
To attend CJAMM’s New Day Camp, children must be between the ages of 8 and 14 and have at least one parent who is currently incarcerated. Each summer, CJAMM holds one session for children 8-11 and one session for children 12-14.
Master of Real Estate Development
Going only as far as the 8th grade did not prevent Lew McGinnis from eventually leading his own $400 million residential-industrial project, then the largest of its kind in Tucson, Arizona. Lew McGinnis’ real estate development achievements at one point saw him giving lectures to students at the University of Arizona (AU) to help them succeed in the real estate realm.
To develop aspiring real estate investors and developers, AU offers its Master of Real Estate Development (MRED) program through the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture. The MRED program is best suited for professionals who desire increased knowledge of the entire building industry as well as for those who want to become real estate developers and leaders.
The program’s focus is on private/public partnerships, sustainable cities, green building, transit-oriented development, and sustainable and responsible development. Students experience real work projects, and one group’s entry was a finalist in the 2016 Bank of America Merrill Lynch Low Income Housing Project. The course can be completed in three semesters and graduates have a 100 percent employment record.
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Real estate investor Lew McGinnis has held leadership positions at a number of nonprofits over the years. For a period, Lew McGinnis served as director of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Foundation. The museum plays an important role in research and preservation of the desert.
Through the Conservation Education & Science Department, the museum spearheads ecological research of the Sonoran Desert that influences conservation policies and makes its research readily available to the public. In addition, the department offers various outreach education programs so that children and adults alike can learn about important issues affecting the desert. These educational efforts reflect the various ways that people learn with hands-on programming, as well as place-based learning and inquiry-based education.
The research undertaken by the museum is essentially interdisciplinary in nature, with experts in biology, earth sciences, botany, and ecology all working together along with specialists in ornithology and ethnobiology. Because about two-thirds of the Sonoran Desert is in Mexico, the museum also partners with researchers, educators, and conservationists across the border to ensure that findings reflect the entire ecosystem and protection efforts can be implemented across the whole desert.
Yoho National Park
A real estate investor in Oklahoma, Lew McGinnis has more than 55 years of industry experience. Outside of work, Lew McGinnis has traveled both domestically and abroad and has even been to British Columbia.
Located on Canada’s west coast, British Columbia is rich with natural beauty. The following are a few places to visit in British Columbia:
– Yoho National Park. Yoho National Park is teeming with natural beauty, including waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, and its famous Lake O’Hara. Visitors should also check out Takakkaw Falls, which drops 1,260 feet and is among North America’s highest falls.
– Whistler Blackcomb. The venue for the downhill ski competition in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, Whistler Blackcomb is Canada’s main ski area. Visitors to the area should also check out Whistler Village, which features numerous restaurants and shops.
– Butchart Gardens. Located on Vancouver Island at the site of an old quarry, Butchart Gardens features a unique mix of plants, trees, and flowers that change with each season.
Criminal Justice and Mercy Ministries
In addition to his decades-long career in real estate, Lew McGinnis has also been an outspoken advocate in the area of criminal justice reform. Through his work with Criminal Justice and Mercy Ministries, he has helped former inmates in Oklahoma and throughout the country break the cycles of imprisonment and addiction.
One of the hidden costs of incarceration is damage to the family, and Criminal Justice and Mercy Ministries reaches out to the children of incarcerated parents through its New Day Camp. Children with at least one incarcerated parent can attend these camps, which last less than a week during the summer, and spend time with other children in similar situations.
Much of the time at camp is spent in small group activities. During these activities, young people develop friendships and interact with one another. They also study Christian tradition through worship and spiritual activities. Group counseling and medical care are also available. For children who are unprepared for camp, Criminal Justice and Mercy Ministries operates a camp store, where children can receive new clothes or shoes to replace missing, improperly-sized, or worn-out camping gear.
Criminal Justice and Mercy Ministry (CJAMM)
Self-made investor Lew McGinnis rose above his humble beginnings to create a successful real estate development and management organization. His real estate investment career began with the purchase of a single apartment complex, and he ultimately expanded his business to encompass apartment communities throughout the midwestern and western United States and as far as Alaska. Throughout the course of his career, Mr. McGinnis has owned over 100,000 apartments. In the philanthropic area, his modest roots helped fuel his desire to help those in need. Involved in multiple charities, Lew McGinnis is particularly passionate about the Criminal Justice and Mercy Ministry. He serves as finance chairman of the organization.
Based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the Criminal Justice and Mercy Ministry (CJAMM) was founded to help alleviate some of the burdens associated with incarceration. CJAMM focuses its efforts on both inmates and former inmates. For incarcerated individuals, CJAMM provides worship services and opportunities for relaxed meals and socialization. It also runs New Day Camp for the children of inmates. The camp provides counseling, worship services, and recreation.
To assist newly-released individuals, CJAMM runs Exodus House, which provides temporary housing for former inmates and their families for up to six months. The furnished, decorated apartments are supplied with food until the person finds employment. All items within the house are donated by the public, and the family can keep them when they leave. A case manager works with the former inmate to help him or her reacclimate into society.
The City of Hope
Tucson, Arizona, resident and successful real estate investor Lew McGinnis has been recognized by a number of organizations for his service and philanthropy. One of the organizations that has honored Lew McGinnis, presenting him with the “Man of the Year” award, is the City of Hope Cancer Research Center in Duarte, California.
The City of Hope features the Beckman Research Institute, dedicated to conducted research in deadly diseases. The research done by the Beckman Research Institute seeks to discover how diseases like HIV/AIDS and cancer develop. The Institute provides symposiums and lectures throughout the year with guest speakers who are the leading researchers in the field.
The Beckman Research Institute has received grants from the National Cancer Institute regularly for over 30 years for the research it conducts. The world-famous Beckman Research Institute was established in 1983 by Arnold and Mable Beckman through the Beckman Foundation.
Paper Airplane Contest
Developer and entrepreneur Lew McGinnis has spent a lifetime investing in residential properties in the state of Arizona. Lew McGinnis’ philanthropic work includes support of the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona.
One of the largest privately funded organizations of its kind, the Pima Air and Space Museum exhibits more than 300 aircraft. Its mission is to maintain the history of air and space flight. As part of this goal, the museum offers several special programs, one of which is the Great Paper Airplane Fly-Off. The next Fly-Off will take place in April 2017.
The event is open to children age six through 14. Contestants construct an airplane from one 8-1/2” x 11” sheet of 20-weight paper and throw it in competition for the furthest flight. A Guinness World Record holder for paper airplane flight instructs the children in folding and throwing their planes.
The winners in each of three age subgroups get to enjoy an hour-long flight over Tucson. Everyone is eligible to win door prizes, including another tour of Tucson by air, plus tickets to NASCAR races and Mars chocolate candy. Further information and registration is available at www.greatpaperairplane.org.
Distinguished Speakers Series
A skilled entrepreneur and real estate agent with more than 50 years of experience, Lew McGinnis manages his own real estate investment firm in Nicholls Hill, Oklahoma. Lew McGinnis maintains a high level of community involvement outside his professional responsibilities and formerly held positions on the board of directors for numerous organizations and educational institutions. He previously served on the board of directors for the Oklahoma-based Heritage Hall High School, which offers a Distinguished Speaker Series for students.
The Distinguished Speaker Series acts as an extension of Heritage Hall’s commitment to a rich education and engages students in compelling discussions about art appreciation, history, and current events. It features prominent speakers and performers from a variety of professions, in addition to Heritage Hall alumni members. Open to students and members of the public alike, the series also includes informal receptions at the end of each presentation that give attendees the opportunity to meet the speakers.
For more information about the Distinguished Speakers Series and a list of past and future guests, visit www.heritagehall.com/programs/distinguished-speaker-series.