Philanthropist

Adam Milstein: Setting the Example for Cultural Advocacy

Adam Milstein is indeed the type of individual who does not deviate from a particular plan of action once he sets his mind on a goal to achieve it. As an accomplished businessman, he understands the value of time and the deprivation of opportunities for success that people bring upon themselves when they fail to either fully commit to a task or rely upon others to do it for them. Nevertheless, stemming from the combination of his childhood parental teachings of love and respect for others with that of his personal experiences of societal hardships while growing up in Haifa, Israel, Adam Milstein developed an intense desire to honor and preserve his culture by pursuing options that would bestow him the financial and leadership privileges to do so.

After partaking in combat in the Yom Kippur War of 1973 following his vow to serve as a troop in the Israeli Defense Forces at 19, Adam Milstein pursued an education in Business Management from the Israel Institute of Technology. With his degree in hand, he then committed to first furthering and secondly utilizing his education upon his move to the United States in 1981. Moreover, after achieving his MBA from USC in 1983, Adam Milstein then knew that he possessed the knowledge that would allow him to execute his willpower to better the living circumstances for the Jewish community. Therefore, he began to invest within a business career that he felt most passionate about—real estate. Beginning at base level as a sales agent, Adam Milstein demonstrated his professional ability to inspire and lead others, thus, inevitably placing him in the authoritative position to oversee financial matters for Hager Pacific Properties as a managing partner for the real-estate firm. Nonetheless, with his leadership skills in hand as a businessman, Milstein began to network with Pro-Israel organizations that sought to build upon their mission to preserve the Jewish culture through educating the community and providing opportunities for occupational advancement.

Through his active membership with the organizations Hasbara Fellowships and Israel on Campus Coalition, Milstein strives to inspire pro-Israel activism and end anti-Semitism on college campuses in the U.S. Furthermore, in uniting with StandWithUs, Milstein endeavors in publicly correcting all the misinformation involving the Middle East for the sake of creating an understanding for the true nature of injustices in the region. Yet, in addition to proactively serving in these nonprofit groups, Adam Milstein took it upon himself to co-find several other as well. Milstein co-founded Sifriyat Pijama B’America (SP-BA) to service as a literacy program by providing monthly literature pieces to Jewish families. He co-founded the Israeli-American Council upon the intent to provide Israeli-Americans with a way to culturally connect to their homeland and even co-founded his very own Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation to promote the mission of active philanthropy amongst community leaders.

http://jewishjournal.com/culture/just-asking/232907/adam-milstein-promoter-israeliness/

Dick Devos – article recap

Dick Devos may not be lesser known than his wife, but it wasn’t always that way. Before becoming the husband of the Secretary of Education, Devos was the CEO of his family’s Amway Company, a giant in personal selling. Before that, he got involved in his local community to try and protect it from urban sprawl and potential degradation. Devos dedicated himself early on to ensuring that Grand Rapids did not suffer the same fate as Detroit, which saw its downtown area struggle for multiple decades. With this focus in mind, he became known for taking a stand when others would not.

 

It started prior to Devos taking that job as the CEO of his family’s company. He was well on his way, and he was busy enough that he could have declined to get involved in local politics. He cared deeply about Grand Rapids, though, so when certain individuals proposed building an athletic complex north of downtown, he called to launch a complaint.

 

Devos was smart enough to diagnose what had happened in Detroit a few years prior. The Palace at Auburn Hills, where the Pistons played, and the Pontiac Superdome, where the Lions flailed, were proposed in Detroit as a means of providing fans with a better experience. In reality, they pulled people out of the downtown area and made it impossible for Detroit to see any productive growth. This led to squatters buying up all of the land in downtown and just waiting for an opportunity to sell for a profit. Empty lots festered, leaving Detroit with a reputation problem, a crime problem and a lack of economic growth. Seeing all of those results, Devos knew that a new facility north of Grand Rapids would lead to similar problems there.

 

With this new focus on Grand Rapids came the formation of a group called Grand Action. Devos and other business leaders led the charge to ensure that the Grand Rapids skyline was full of great attractions. The medical university for Michigan State was built there. A new arena came about. A convention center is named after Devos. Overall, the revitalization helped to ensure that Grand Rapids would have one of the most attractive downtown areas for businesses and residents alike. This has been important for preventing population loss, too. All of a sudden, breweries began popping up. Young people saw Grand Rapids as a hip place to call home.

 

The heirs to two different fortunes, Devos and his wife have been given the opportunity to make great change. Betsy has made her mark in educational fundraising, using her position to advocate on behalf of people who have no better options for their children. Dick has made his community his focus, pouring his time, effort and skill into developing a downtown area that is now a model for other smaller cities around the country. The two have become known for their good works and also their vision. They’ve seized on issues that matter, using privilege to leave their mark.

 

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