Friday, October 24, 2008

How to feel good

I walked by two banks hosting cocktail receptions this week, trying to give their retail customers some comfort and feeling of safety and probably also to lure new customers (after all hors d'oeuvres and wine are a sure sign of safe conditions regarding your deposits aren’t they? Plus I don’t think they had any raw shrimp, just veggies and dip!). There isn’t anything that I know about what’s going on that you don’t already know; actually I don’t know if any of us really know too much but things seem to be starting to play themselves out. So I’m going to move to another subject.

Last night I attended the annual gala of The MacDella Cooper Foundation (MCF). Those of you who have been following my travels for at least two years remember that I went with MacDella to Liberia for a month in December/January 2006/7 during which time we hosted a Christmas party for 600 needy children. MCF supports needy children. At the event last night, Nathaniel Barnes, Liberia’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the U.N. made a poignant remark: “When you have nothing, all you can think about is having something.” Sadly, from what I saw in Monrovia, this holds true for many, many children there. We have grown up to recognize the importance of education but there is no public school system in Liberia. In order to go to private school, it costs approximately $200 per child per year. That’s all. But when unemployment is 85% and the average wage of those employed is $24/month, $200 could just as well be $2 million.

The vast majority of Americans have seen their investments drop at least 20%. No one is happy about that and many people are frightened. There is a fog over our society caused by the shattered underpinnings of the global financial markets. This is heady stuff and it’s taking it’s toll on us as people. But I’ve learned that when you help someone, even in a small way, it makes you feel better, about yourself. So, I have a suggestion about how you can feel better: go to your checkbook and write a check for $200 to The MacDella Cooper Foundation. Mail it to:

MCF US Office
101 West 55 Street
Suite 10F
New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212 204 6574

If you like, you can contact them and arrange to have your donation go to sending a specific child to school and you can identify with that child and get updates on their progress. The $200 that I gave last night is paying for Aloysius Johnson, Age 4, to continue at the Action Faith Institute in Monrovia. The children of Liberia need us to give them some hope. This, my friends, is the ultimate win-win situation. I guarantee you will feel good about doing this and, with all the financial stress that we’re feeling, me included, $200 is one less dinner out or one less latte over two months. MacDella Cooper, called “Liberia’s Angel” is making a difference in the world. You can to. Just do it!

Where I'll be:

Oct. 27-30: Miami Beach for the ULI Fall Meeting.
Oct. 30-Nov.2: Montreal
Nov. 3-7: New York
Nov. 12-13: New York to moderate a panel at the PERE Forum (there's a special "FOS" (Friends of Steve) discount available. Please contact me for details.
Nov. 18-19: Amsterdam for INREV's Investor Platform and Committee Meetings
Dec. 3-5: Sacremento, San Francisco & Los Angeles, CA
Dec. 8-12: London for meetings and especially to moderate a panel at the Reuters Real Estate Global Property Outlook 2009 on the 9th (Invitation only).
Feb. 19-20, 2009: Chapel Hill, NC to attend the Kenan-Flagler Center for Real Estate Development’s Annual Conference and Real Estate Challenge Case Competition.

Thanks for reading my blog.
Many of you know that my life is built on people, on community, on collaboration and on sharing. This platform gives us all a chance to connect and reconnect. I am grateful for your support, suggestions and contributions. Thanks a lot.

Photo: NYC, 5pm, Friday, 10/24/08

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