Our Founders’ Week profiles of five of our longtime friends continues today with Michael Laub. Since joining NPF in 1991, Laub – who owns and manages residential and commercial real estate in New York and 10 other states – and his wife, Carol, have donated more than $1.1 million for NPF programs, particularly those aimed at research. Laub served on NPF’s board of directors from 2008 to 2017 and played a major role in establishing the New York Community Division.
Why did you get involved with NPF?
My daughter, Allison, has psoriasis. She was about 17 when it first appeared. She’s now 48. That’s how long I’ve been involved with NPF. I really wanted to do something for Allison and for whoever else has this disease. Psychologically and socially, it’s pretty devastating for a young kid.
Gail Zimmerman, who was the head of NPF at the time, was the one who got me involved. She invited me to a dinner that she was holding at a hotel in New York City, around 1990. The people who were at the dinner were parents who wanted to be involved. Mark Lebwohl was there and a few other people who spoke and who really made a dent in my thinking. Dr. Lebwohl became Allison’s dermatologist. From that point, I decided I was going to be involved in this organization and do whatever I could. I made my first donation at that time.
Which NPF activities do you enjoy?
I didn’t feel that NPF was raising enough money, that they really needed to get out there and let the public know about our organization and the disease itself. So we wanted to have an entire campaign, an awareness campaign, and a great deal of the money we raised would go toward research but also exploding out there, letting people know what the disease is and how it affects the millions of people who don’t realize they have it.
So I gave Gail this idea of fundraising. I introduced her to one of my friends who was a major fundraiser here in New York. We had lunch and he explained to her raising money at this scale, and from that point on, she was into it. I started a campaign to raise $5 million. I can’t remember what year. I think it took us two or three years, but we made our goal.
After that, I was asked to be on the board. Then I started the walk in New York with Lebwohl. I think we had our first walk 13 years ago in Tryon Park in Manhattan. It started small, but every year it grew and grew. I enjoy that. Carol and Allison help run the walk.
What would you tell someone who is thinking of joining NPF?
I would tell them about NPF and what NPF does and I would give them my copies of the Advance. The Advance does a great job and I think they would see what the organization does through that. I’d also put them in touch with a few people at the Foundation and see what kind of help they need. I always refer people to Mark, here in the metropolitan area. Those would be my first steps.
Other Profiles in This Series