Deborah’s Place is fortunate to be governed by a highly skilled, committed and dynamic Board of Directors. The following is an interview with one of those directors, Jeremy Bressman.
Jeremy joined the board in 2019 and serves on the Resource Development Committee. At Cushman & Wakefield, the world’s third largest CRE firm, Jeremy leads the firm’s Brokerage Engagement team. Outside of the office, Jeremy has been actively involved with numerous philanthropic and community organizations. He is a native Michigander who grew up in suburban Detroit and graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, prior to moving to Chicago, which he now calls home.
Jeremy, what motivates you to give back?
There are a number of things that motivate me to give back. In addition to the obvious reason that it is simply the right thing to do what you can to help make the world a better place, I have found giving back to be personally rewarding and fulfilling.
Why did you decide to serve on the board at Deborah’s Place?
I was introduced to Deborah’s Place through a volunteer event at work. Years ago, I served on the Associate Board of a non- profit which assisted low income youth enter the work force, but unfortunately that organization went under during the Great Recession. Ever since they closed, there was a void in my life, and I had been looking to get back into serving another non-profit. But I didn’t want to do something just to check the box or to add it to my resume. I wanted to find something that was just as fulfilling and an organization that I felt was really making a difference in the community. Enter Deborah’s Place.
What do you hope your impact will be as a board member of Deborah’s Place?
Deborah’s Place has a lofty goal to double the number of women they serve, and I hope that I am able to help the organization reach that goal. My particular interests and passions are in development & fundraising, and I believe that there is a great opportunity for Deborah’s Place to create more partnerships with corporate and individual donors, which in turn will assist us in meeting those goals.
What is one thing you think you have learned since being on the board? (e.g. about homelessness or about the importance of board service)
There are actually two things that have really resonated with me since joining the board. First, I was not aware that it can actually cost less for society to house someone than it does to keep someone on the street, after you add up the costs for ER visits, government assistance programs, incarceration, and mental health care. Think about that, it is absolutely mind blowing.
The second is that I did not realize that homelessness sometimes has a steeper hill to climb than other philanthropic causes from a fundraising perspective. There are a lot of good people and companies out there, and this certainly is not a negative on any other group or donor. But the reality is that people are often a bit more eager to donate to groups that support animals, children or cancer as those causes resonate with them a bit more. It makes sense when you think about it, but certainly not something I had thought of before getting involved. I am hopeful that through my role on the board, and particularly with the development committee, that me and my Board colleagues can help Deborah’s Place raise more funds and in turn meet our lofty goals and help even more women moving forward.