The Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation


Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation dinner program book

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32 In The News The real estate industry is big business in Chicago. Employing roughly 100,000 Chicagoans according to U.S. Census, the community is as powerful as it is proftable, and as competitive as it is compassionate. Harold Eisenberg was a pillar of this community. In addition to bringing economy-boosting shopping centers and street- front retail developments to suburban downtowns like Highland Park (where he lived), Eisenberg spearheaded many large-scale developments in Chicago proper, including the redevelopment of the Century Shopping Centre and One North State Street. He was also heavily involved with the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), frst as Illinois state director and then as a trustee. Following a winter vacation with his family in 1999, Eisenberg was diagnosed with gastrointestinal (GI) cancer of the liver, thought to have originated in his pancreas, after experiencing back pain while on one of his morning runs. Within weeks of his diagnosis, sadly and devastatingly for his family, Harold passed away from a category of cancers—colorectal, stomach, liver, gallbladder, pancreatic, small intestine, rectum and esophagus—that takes the lives of more than 130,000 people in the U.S. each year. Tat same year, Harold's wife, Sheila, sons Peter and Scott, and daughter Lesley founded Te Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation (HEEF, as a tribute to their father with the hope that someday, as they stated at the outset, "other families will not have to endure the loss of a loved one to GI cancer." The organization's mission is two-pronged. HEEF is one of the nation's most prominent funders of GI cancer research, raising more than $1.5 million to date. Secondly, it is committed to enriching and empowering real estate students and young professionals through scholarships and mentorship programs—a passion of Harold's throughout his career. Harold was not only a mentor to his business associates and friends, he was also a teacher at the International Council of Shopping Centers School for Professional Development. To date, HEEF has impacted more than 3,000 students looking to work in the real estate business and awarded $250,000 in real estate scholarships. "Te Eisenberg Foundation has united the real estate community to honor one of their own through fundraising for GI cancer research, and is simultaneously changing the lives of college and graduate students looking to pursue careers in the industry," says Benjamin Wineman, principal of Mid-America Real Estate Corporation and HEEF executive board member since 2007. "Tere's a reason why more than 700 people attended this year's annual dinner at the Palmer House [in October]; the foundation has become a rallying point for many in the industry as a way to raise funds for what historically has been an underfunded cancer feld." T h r o u g h i t s p a r t n e r s h i p w i t h t h e Ro b e r t H . L u r i e Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, HEEF established the Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation's Gastrointestinal Cancer Tissue Bank in 2008, the only one of its kind in the Midwest. Storing more than 18,000 tissue samples from patients diagnosed with colorectal malignancies, the bank promotes future research in understanding GI cancer biology, as well as enabling Lurie to partner with other comprehensive cancer centers. "Cancer centers such as Northwestern University are very much dependent on philanthropic support to generate additional funds to help accomplish our research mission," says Professor of Medicine and Associate Director for Clinical Investigations at Northwestern University, Dr. Al B. Benson III, "and patients enrolled in our clinical trials program can obtain tremendous beneft in terms of therapeutic outcome from participation." With the majority of funds raised through corporate sponsorships stemming from the commercial real estate industry (primary sponsors include Inland Real Estate Group and Clark Street Real Estate), the Eisenberg Foundation continually sells out each of its signature fundraising events, including Career Day, where students are given one-on-one access to Chicagoland's real estate industry leaders; the foundation's annual dinner, a gathering of the real estate industry's who's who that raised nearly $500,000 in October; and the upcoming Eisenopoly evening, the foundation's tournament-style Monopoly night, taking place in January at the new Revel Fulton Market in the West Loop (last year's Eisenopoly raised nearly $125,000 for HEEF). "Te local real estate community has a propensity and desire to give back," says Peter Eisenberg, principal of Clark Street Real Estate and president of the foundation's Executive Board. "The Eisenberg Foundation is a vehicle that enables them to do so in an environment that networks them with colleagues, clients and contacts in the business. Cancer research technology is advancing so quickly; we strive to provide philanthropic support that keeps pace with this progress, funding breakthrough clinical trials that we believe will ultimately result in fnding a cure." sl Eisenopoly will take place on Friday, Jan. 22, at Revel Fulton Market, 1215 W. Fulton Market. Tickets $90-$200, Now in its 17th year, Te Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation builds a brighter tomorrow for Chicago's real estate industr y while gaining ground on GI cancer research. FAMILY MATTER S By Alexandra Sabbag Photography by Joshua Albanese, Maximillian Komnenich and Francis Son 100

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