Why did you do this?
I am a pretty lucky guy. Despite circumstances in my youth that could have held me back, life is good for me. I found myself in a career with an outstanding firm on Wall Street which led eventually to being able to start Urban Compass , which is a technology company focused on apartment rentals and sales in NYC. I am healthy and prosperous. And above all, I have a wonderful family: a great wife and daughter, a loving mother and great friends. I am keenly aware of the fact that I did not achieve all this by myself. I had a great deal of help all along the way from people who cared and who were willing to give of themselves to others. I felt that it was now my turn. I wanted to use what I have been given - my health and physical stamina, my abilities and my connectedness with others to reach out to young people and make a difference in their lives.
What did you do?
I ran marathons in every state over six years and I raised a million dollars. But the mission is not over because the needs filled by these organizations are important. To the extent any of the missions of the organizations at the bottom of this page resonate with you, please consider making a donation. Your support kept me focused by knowing that each step that I ran helped young people to help themselves. If you continue to support them, these young people will know that there are people who care about them and that they are not alone.
Where did you run?
Why did you choose these specific organizations?
These programs are geared to helping young people acquire the education and the skills that will allow them to achieve their goals. They focus on teaching and training students rather than simply giving them a hand-out. The result is life-long self sufficiency rather than dependency. I know this first hand because I was helped by many of these organizations in my youth.
Who else was there? Did others join your run?
My mother began by cheering me on at every race. My godfather came to a few and then my aunt and uncle started to come. Two years after I started my marathon effort I met the woman who has become my wife and she started to come with us. We have since married and now have a lovely young baby girl. This became a family project and together have visited some of the most beautiful parts of the country. When I approached the last race - the NY Marathon 12 wonderful New York Needs You runners joined me, each running the marathon and raising over $150,000.
Do you know Robert?
My name is Robert Reffkin and I am the Founder & CEO of Urban Compass. Prior to founding Urban Compass I worked at Goldman Sachs as Chief of Staff to the President & COO following five years working in the firm's private equity arm. Before that, I was employed as a Business Analyst at McKinsey & Company, where I also led the firms community outreach program, McKinsey Cares. In 2005, I was appointed as a White House Fellow to serve as special assistant to the Secretary of the Treasury. I am also the Founder of New York Needs You.
When I was in high school, I founded the disc jockey company Rude Boy Productions and started Care Packages for the Homeless. After graduating from high school I attended Columbia University After receiving an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School, I became an Associate in the Mergers & Acquisitions group at Lazard Frères where I founded the firms Sponsors for Educational Opportunity professional internship program for underrepresented minorities. As an alumnus, I have held numerous teaching, leadership and board-level positions with the A Better Chance program, the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, Sponsors for Educational Opportunity and Summer Search.
Organizations that Supported Me When I Was a TeenagerA Better Chance (ABC) refers students of color to the nation's finest schools for placement and financial aid. Donate to ABC
The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) helps young people from low-income communities improve their business, academic and life skills. Donate to NFTE
Summer Search provides low-income high school students with mentoring and life-changing summer experiences. Donate to Summer Search