Giving Children a Place to Dream in Staten Island
July 31, 2012
Miles Nadal suffers from what he calls "obsessive compulsive advantage."
It's a condition where you can channel compulsive energy into a positive direction to accomplish "lots," he says. Consider this condition just one part of his giving philosophy.
"I know how to get things done quickly and I'm fortunate to have resources to be able to marshal lots of things," says the 54-year-old chairman and chief executive of MDC Partners, an ad-holding company with offices in New York and Toronto.
The latest success in Mr. Nadal's "OCA" strategy is an investment in Staten Island-based Global Medical Relief Fund. Mr. Nadal has given $100,000, which was matched by MDC Partners, to purchase half a house for the organization. (GMRF reached out to others to cover the costs of the other half of the house.)
GMRF provides free medical care to children who are the victims of war and natural catastrophes. These are children who are often severely disfigured and have lost limbs and require surgery, reconstructive work and prosthetic devices. Children have come from countries including Haiti, Iraq, Syria and Indonesia.
Elissa Montanti founded the charity in 1998 and lines up all of the donated care, supplies and arranges travel. One thing she didn't have was a permanent place for the children and their families to stay while receiving medical care. But on Thursday, the "Dare to Dream" house on Staten Island will finally open and become the official home of GMRF.
As big a moment as this is for the charity, it's an equally big moment for Mr. Nadal and his employees, who will get on a bus and go to the ribbon cutting ceremony. He first learned of GMRF from a television segment and he's been working to help make this house a reality for some time.
Mr. Nadal says he's a bit of a "mushball" when it comes to particularly needy charities, but he was also inspired by Ms. Montanti's spirit. Another element to his giving philosophy is following his gut about a person's character.
"I was amazed that this woman had no resources, no means and she was doing it out of sheer desire to help other human beings," says Mr. Nadal. "You can't say no to her. It's not possible. Whatever she asks for you say, 'I know I'm over my budget. It's fine, Elissa. My pleasure.'"
Mr. Nadal says that he knows that there are many people who are contemplative about their giving and he too has undertaken philanthropic projects that require a lot of planning. He raised some $20 million for the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre in Toronto, for example, and has had his hand in a number of other projects both in New York and abroad that serve children.
One commonality among his charitable initiatives, and another part of his philanthropic philosophy, is that there shouldn't be any reluctance or delay in giving big.
"The reason people are reluctant to make decisions is because they are afraid to be wrong," he says. "There's no such thing as being wrong in supporting charitable initiatives; there's only good. Some are amazing, some are incredible, and some are just good."
Write to Melanie Grayce West at email@example.com