Make it Right – A Great Organization to Get Behind
I had a great opportunity to head to New Orleans to support an organization I strongly believe in, The Make it Right Foundation. Town Residential featured me in a Q&A on the company blog and social media. Here is the interview:
What made you want to get involved with Make It Right?
I have been following the Make It Right Foundation since its inception for its commitment to using and promoting sustainable technology as well as the rebuilding of a great city devastated by Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans was one of the first cities I visited after moving to the U.S. for college, and it always fascinated me. The history, architecture and warmth of the people there spoke to me and had me coming back often. Supporting Make It Right was a natural choice for me and even more-so now after seeing firsthand the destructive powers of a hurricane when Sandy hit.
How does the Make It Right mission tie to your passions as a philanthropist and real estate professional?
From an early age I’ve had an interest in environmental issues. As my grandfather owned a sawmill in Denmark, I was exposed to the issues of deforestation and the need for sustainable forestry management. My father had a love of restoring old homes, since we moved every two to three years. I quickly found a fondness for architecture and real estate, so melding the two came naturally. I used to live across from the Southface Energy Institute in Atlanta, and would go visit them weekly to see what new, innovative or old-school green technology ideas they were implementing or experimenting with. Continuing that knowledge with being the first LEED accredited real estate broker in New York City helps me in guiding clients and developers I work with to think outside of the box about ways to employ sustainable and energy efficient technology. I get pretty excited even with the small victories, like finding Passive House grade windows for a project with the same cost as double paned windows. When you can tie this in with reciprocating to the community that surrounds and supports you, it makes giving back so much easier.
How do you hope to spread the ‘Make It Right’ philosophy in NYC?
We are hoping to build on the success that Make It Right has had in New Orleans and its other projects by replicating it here in New York. We are currently going through a building boom and we’ll be approaching our new development friends over the next year to help them reuse their leftover construction materials to support new home construction areas like Breezy Point, which is still suffering from the aftermath of Sandy. Hopefully it can be expanded into something larger where we start to look at quality modular housing that can support more affordable housing in New York and is both healthy for its inhabitants and sustainably built. We really can’t get more cradle-to-cradle than that.
What other charity work are you active with?
I support a variety of charities and always find it hard to just commit to one. Currently I’m working with a fundraiser for ‘Gideon’s Promise’ that focuses on helping public defenders provide defense reform for low income individuals. Monday night following the weekend in New Orleans, I’ll be at the ‘Goods For Good’ gala which supports the financial capacity of communities in Africa so they can provide orphan care.
Would you share with us your personal “Life Motto”?
Fortune favors the bold.