Jim Littman, whose enormously successful fundraising efforts had a tremendous impact on operations and plans of the Gemological Institute of America, has resigned as its chief development officer, effective Nov. 3. He left for what he called “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to be CEO of a new e-commerce company called IBBC Inc. It is “a marketing and branding company [for the jewelry industry] and unlike anything else out there now,” he told JCK. Littman called his six years at GIA “one of the most rewarding experiences” of his life. At press time, GIA hadn’t announced his replacement, but GIA president Bill Boyajian told JCK that Littman created “a great team in our development department, with good leadership and a platform to build on for the future. I am confident they can carry on in the same manner as they have under Jim’s direction.” Boyajian said that in the interim he would “work closely with them to ensure a smooth transition within both GIA and the jewelry trade.”
Littman, then with the Jewish National Fund, was hired in 1994 by GIA president Bill Boyajian to be GIA’s director of development and revive GIA’s floundering Vision 2000, its first-ever capital campaign. His success in promoting Vision2000, the New World Headquarters Campaign, and Planned Giving has raised close to $30 million since 1994.
Littman also created GIA’s annual League of Honor Founders Dinner, the Genesis Young Leadership group, museum development plans, the Friends of GIA group in Carlsbad, and GIA’s Symposium Sponsorship Program. He worked to enhance GIA’s worldwide profile and support by creating the International Executive Council as well as a fund and business development program that included foundations, corporations, and governments around the world. Littman also oversaw the redesign of GIA’s quarterly newspaper The Loupe and the GIA Alumni magazine, In Focus.
In 1998, in recognition of his success with GIA’s fundraising campaigns, Littman was promoted to the newly created post of chief development officer and charged with expanding the institute’s development and fundraising operations.
In saying goodbye to Littman, Boyajian said he has done “a truly remarkable job of raising awareness of GIA and taking our development efforts to heights that we never dreamed possible. He will be missed in the GIA family, [but] we are confident he will continue to be supportive of the institute in any way he can, long into the future.”