"Friends are the family you choose." "Say what you mean and do what you say." "Good to forgive. Best to forget."
Such mottos literally surround real estate magnate Stanley Black within his Beverly Hills office. They stare down at visitors from his bookshelves.
So perhaps it's only fitting that when The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles' Real Estate and Construction Division honors its longtime benefactor on May 30, the evening will be dubbed "The Quotable Stanley Black."
"I collect various thoughts, proverbs and sayings that I find mostly in magazines," said Black, who turns 70 in October. "My father started to collect them, and I have continued with them."
Black's father, Jack, who led the United Jewish Fund's Textile Division, passed away when Black was 21, but not before imparting to him the importance of tzedakah. With his father's friend, Arthur Kaplan, Black started KB Management in 1955. The duo built and developed over $375 million in real estate holdings, predominantly in Southern California.
When construction costs escalated, KB Management reapplied its energies to developing existing under-utilized commercial properties. Three years after Kaplan died in 1985, Stanley Black and his son, Jack Black, formed Black Equities, which today manages about 500 holdings.
Business aside, Black has been a big supporter of Jewish-formed institutions, such as City of Hope, the Anti-Defamation League, Jewish Big Brothers, American Friends of Tel Aviv University, American Friends of the Hebrew University, The Guardians of the Jewish Home for the Aging, Vista del Mar and Yeshiva Gedolah/Michael Diller High School. Other favorite charities include Boy Scouts of America, L.A. Music Center and Union Rescue Mission.
The American ORT Stanley and Joyce Black Family Building -- named for Black; his wife of 40 years, Joyce, and children Jack, Jill Zalben and Janis Black -- provides immigrants from all backgrounds a place for vocational training.
"He's a good friend," said Imperial Toys CEO Fred Kort, who Black involved in establishing L.A.'s ORT chapter. "I admire him a lot because he does a lot for humanity."
Black has also been a true friend to The Federation. He was not only instrumental in establishing the Goldsmith Center, The Federation's current headquarters, but convinced Federation executives not to move their offices West following the 1994 Northridge earthquake.
Israel is definitely a cause Black feels passionately about.
"We need Israel," Black said. "If we lose Israel, we're in trouble."
On the microlevel, Black is driven to effect positive change.
"I try to give charity every day," said Black, who comes from the school of "if somebody asks you for help, you always help him."
For philanthropist Danny Ziv, the 38-year-old founder of Z Valet and Shuttle Service, Black has been an inspiration in how to balance the giving with the getting.
"He's definitely been instrumental to me, opening my heart and my checkbook to philanthropic causes," said Ziv. "He said, 'Always remember, when you give, you get back tenfold.' And it's true."
The Jewish Federation's Real Estate and Construction Division will honor Stanley Black on May 30 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire. To R.S.V.P., call (323) 761-8233.
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