I guess I’ve always wanted to be a superhero (without the cape)
How I got here
I was born and raised in Chicago, (with early childhood spent roaming the Highland Park ravines). My business career began with a dog-walking and shoe-shining business in the high-rise apartment building we moved to when I began 4th grade. Through most of high school, I held down two part-time jobs in a tropical plant store and a quick-printing business.
I was lucky enough to have attended the Latin School of Chicago and the University of the Pacific, where I was so interested in everything from plant taxonomy to philosophy that I graduated with a degree in University Studies. After college, I partnered with my oldest brother to start an industrial fastener distribution company in Albuquerque. Our customers were mostly uranium mines. Naturally, when the accident at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant happened, our business ended. Overnight.
I have always been sickened by social injustice. In my childhood, I became aware of the Holocaust because I had two “cousins,” foster children, who had been taken in by my aunt and uncle in Cleveland. They were German orphans whose entire family is believed to have died in concentration camps.
In 9th grade, my parents took our family on a fantastic trip, which included Jerusalem and a visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. Several years later, I traveled alone to India. Whether those experiences, seeing the poverty and the vestiges of injustice first-hand, are what led me to create a charitable platform to help others years later is anybody’s guess—though I’ve come to realize that it most likely did.
I enjoy helping
In 1985, I moved back to Chicago, got a real estate sales license, and began at a small commercial real estate brokerage firm. After 14 months, in 1986, I started, MAP Real Estate, Inc. Since 1987, when I married my wife, Sharon Porter, she and I have run MAP together. Nine years after starting MAP, Sharon and I began an experiment to see if we could make more money by giving some of it away every time we earned a commission. We called the experiment Investing In Communities® (IIC for short).
IIC started as a philanthropic marketing concept, long before it became my life’s passion. Our experiment was a success. We have gotten more business because of it, and consequently we have been able to give more than $550,000 of our commissions to over 100 charities chosen by our clients. I love to help our clients through MAP Real Estate. And I love helping the world through Investing In Communities.
I’m more interested than interesting
My personal interests include (not necessarily in order of importance): traveling, watching good movies and great television, reading (mostly nonfiction), gardening, collecting photography (and snapping the odd shot), textiles, mineral crystals, insects, natural history art, and sculpture, as well as picking up to examine things that can be found while walking “in the woods!”
For longer than I have ever done anything else, I have been the proud and loving husband of my wife. Sharon and I delight in being with our friends and family. Through it all, like IIC, I remain a work in progress. Thank you for taking the time to get to know a little about me. If you’d like to know more about IIC or me, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.