History of CHAM

In the 1980s and early ’90s, the nonprofit housing industry focused on creating financing and building development capacity for the production of affordable rental housing. By the mid-1990s, ensuring the sustainability of these units emerged also as a critical issue for nonprofits, communities, lenders and syndicators. In response, Neighborhood Reinvestment (now NeighborWorks America), The Enterprise Foundation (now Enterprise Community Partners), and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) came together in 1995 to form the Consortium for Housing and Asset Management to support nonprofit organizations in their long-term ownership of affordable housing.

Thus began the drumbeat for asset management. As the issues and complexities of nonprofit ownership of affordable housing continue to evolve, CHAM provides training, networking and information required to keep that housing affordable, well maintained and an asset to the owner, residents and the community.

The early days of CHAM were interesting

CHAM started out with the Nonprofit Housing Management Specialist course (NHMS). We offered that roughly three times a year in Denver. We provided scholarships to people in the beginning, so they didn't have to pay to come. Mickey Diggs was the first CHAM director, and his motto was “work hard, play hard.” So, we did work hard. And then in the evening, he would get group activities going so people would play. And then after playing, people would then come back and say, David, I need help trying to figure out how to compute net present value, an internal rate of return and all that good stuff. So, we'd be doing technical assistance on calculators at ten o'clock at night along that line.

- David Fromm (former CHAM Training Manager) 

"Asset Management" Emerges

While Mickey Digg’s initial focus was on property management, LISC was focused on this notion of asset management, which was a term borrowed from the world of finance. There was a belief at LISC that every community development corporation should have expertise in asset management, whether or not they directly managed the property day to day. In 1996 LISC wrote the training curriculum, and we were trying to make the concept of asset management salient in the context of nonprofit, affordable housing.

And we came together on this to build a broader coalition. Enterprise and LISC realized that the premier community development training institution was housed in what was then Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation and why compete when you can join? And that was brilliant. And it helped us grow quickly and gain a following and legitimacy and reach. And it was all done in a remarkably short time. I mean, really in a period of one, two, three, four years. And CHAM was up and running.

- Dick Heitler

Hear about CHAM from inception to the present in a spirited retelling of the history by several key players. The story of our values, mission and culture comes full circle at the end of the video with the presentation of the 2021 Mickey Diggs Award to Juana Meija.

This recording from the 2021 CHAM Conference features storytellers Lisa Deller (NEF), David Fromm (NeighborWorks America), Dick Heitler (formerly of LISC), Ruby Rodriguez (MBD), Harold Nassau (NeighborWorks America) and Judy Weber (Viva Consulting).


We have an incomplete timeline of CHAM’s history. If you can fill in any gaps, please email info@chamonline.org.


 CHAM starts as a collaboration of 3 intermediaries - LISC, Neighborhood Reinvestment and Enterprise.

 CHAM offers its first Nonprofit Housing Management Specialist (NHMS) courses in Denver CO


 Publications – Making a Match; LISC Guide to Asset and Property Management

 1997 Publications - Managing to Prevent Crime; Should We Accept that Property?

 LISC publishes first Asset Management Training Curriculum

 1999 CHAM incorporates as a nonprofit organization
 2000 1st Conference – We are missing information about where and when this conference occurred. Anyone know? 
 2001 2nd Conference – Program We do not know where this conference occurred. Anyone know? 
 2002 DC Conference – Truth or Consequences

 Certified Housing Asset Manager designation launched

 2004 New Orleans Conference - Celebrate

 Nuts and Bolts of Asset Management offered for the first time at an NTI in Minneapolis

 2005 San Francisco Conference - Pump it Up

 First Certified Housing Asset Manager graduates

 2006 New Orleans Conference - Playing for Keeps
 2007 Miami Conference - Turn Up the Heat
 2009 San Antonio Conference - Fiesta Time
 2012 Asset Management Specialist designation launched

 Asset Management Fundamentals and Financial Fundamentals of AM offered for the first time at an NTI in Washington, DC

 2014 Louisville Asset Management Convening – by NeighborWorks America

 First Asset Management Specialist Graduates

 2015 Kansas City Asset Management Convening – by NeighborWorks America
 2016 Columbus Conference – Mind the Gap
 2017 Denver Conference – Weathering the Storm: Asset Management Takes the Helm

 National Association of State and Local Equity Funds (NASLEF) joins CHAM’s consortium

 2018 Chicago Conference – Managing Mission and Margin
 2019 Nashville Conference – Asset Management for Growth
 2020 Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, conference was canceled and CHAM pivoted to a webinar series.
 2021 Virtual ConferenceResilience, Sustainability and Equity

 Asset Management Specialist courses available online

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