25th CRE United Way Breakfast Raises $3M, Fetes Alan LeventhalNovember 12, 2018 - By Mike Hoban
BOSTON— In keeping with the prior 24 programs, the 25th Annual United Way Real Estate Leadership and Building Industry Breakfast proved a resounding success, raising over $3 million that is funding innovative programs aimed at ending family homelessness in Greater Boston. More than 1,200 commercial real estate professionals filled the Hynes Convention Center Wednesday morning to support the cause, many of whom participated in a smartphone fundraising round that saw an additional $50,000 added to the coffers. This year’s fundraiser pushed the breakfast’s quarter-century total raised above $48 million, monies which have helped 375,000 Massachusetts families through initiatives which stabilize communities through housing and supporting residents struggling to survive.
This year’s event honored Beacon Capital Partners CEO Alan Leventhal with the United Way Norman B. Leventhal/Edwin N. Sidman Real Estate and Building Industry Leadership Award, bestowed annually upon individuals or firms who have made professional and charitable contributions to the CRE community. It is named after his late father and the late Edwin N. Sidman, principals at BCP forerunner Beacon Properties Corp. who were legendary for the firm’s enduring development activities in metropolitan Boston, as well as their proclivity for philanthropy. In that regard, Alan Leventhal has demonstrated acumen in both areas, according to New England Development founder Stephen R. Karp, on hand to present him the award.
“Alan is, in no uncertain terms, a role model to many of us in this city and in this industry,” said Karp, further telling the attendees that Leventhal “has been described as having a quiet tenacity, but does things with great intensity; he is known in the real estate industry as a brilliant analyst with a cool knack for breaking with conventional wisdom and knowing when to buy and when to sell; and almost no one has been better at it than Alan.”
Leventhal thanked the United Way and gave a brief history of the Boston real estate community’s extended relationship with the organization. “Today the role of United Way—as a uniter, and as a builder of community—could not be more important,” he relayed in impassioned remarks. “We live in a world today that is more divisive and more filled with hate and violence than any period of time in my lifetime,” referencing the slaughter of 11 people at the Tree of Life Congregation synagogue in Pittsburgh last month, an incident he decried as the latest “continuation of this vicious environment.” Quoting Massachusetts Institute of Technology President L. Rafael Reif, Leventhal continued, offering “(we) need to know that violence, and racism, and harassment, and bullying are out of bounds: period. We have a duty to treat each other with respect, sympathy, decency, humility and kindness . . . and this is work we have to do ourselves. But by doing it every day, we can each of us repair our divided nation.”
In concluding, Leventhal observed to the audience that “it is up to us as individuals to build our community and to build our nation’s future,” and closed with the rhetorical question, “As we look to the future of our community, what could be more important than the work of the United Way and its efforts to help build the lives of the most vulnerable, the homeless?”
Michael K. Durkin, president of United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, informed the audience that despite the booming local economy and valiant efforts of the CRE sector and others, there are 21,000 children in Massachusetts homeless. In response, the United Way has launched a new program, the Family-Led Stability Pilot, a collaboration of for-profit, non-profit and government organizations seeking to address homelessness in Boston by supporting children. The pilot program identifies homeless students in seven Boston Public Schools, provides social and educational guidance to those children and their parents, and places families in affordable housing within one mile of the school. And with the help of the CRE community, Durkin says, “we have a chance to change how homeless families live and really to thrive if we get together with them.”Alan Leventhal Stephen Karp