WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – As a child, Paul Snitkin’s father taught him many lessons. According to Snitkin, vice president, broker and head of the commercial real estate division of Anderson & Carr in West Palm Beach, the two most important were that, one, there are no short cuts in life; you must work hard. And the second? Giving back to the community is vital.
“The community needs so much help,” he says. “If everyone pitched in, we could wipe out homelessness and hunger in America. The possibilities are endless. My father was a huge philanthropist. He was a successful businessman and always gave back. He was drawn to helping underprivileged children and those with medical issues.”
Because of his father’s lessons, it was only natural that Snitkin would become active with local non-profits.
“I volunteered at so many different places,” he says. But, he was trying to find one place to call home. “I was trying to find a non-profit that reaches our community and around the world,” he says.
Then, he met Shuzz Foundation President Lita Lombardo. “I knew that charity was the one for me. I joined on and have traveled the world delivering shoes to kids. We’ve provided 20,000 pairs of shoes so far and are now expanding into the medical field,” says Snitkin, who is now on the foundation’s board of directors.
“Giving back is good for the soul, and I consider myself a ‘sole’ giver. I want to inspire people and do the work my father passed on to me,” he says.
The Shuzz Foundation holds special meaning for Snitkin.
“As a child, my father would take me to work, bring me to business lunches, show me how he did things, and we would go to a soup kitchen to feed the homeless,” he says. “It had a big impact on me, because they knew my dad’s name and looked forward to seeing him. I wanted to do something that would have that great of an impact. So, when I saw how a pair of shoes could be that something, I realized it was a perfect fit for my business. I meet many successful people looking for a non-profit to support,” he says.
Snitkin’s first international trip with the Shuzz Foundation was to Guatemala.
“I’ve never seen poverty at this level. There was one instance where I asked a mother, what did you have for dinner last night? And she said, ‘We had one egg.’ The interpreter told me that they split one egg between three people,” he says. “But, they all had smiles on their faces. They were so happy to see us.”
In fact, his mission was solidified with one small child. “One child sat down with me,” Snitkin recalls. “Her shoes were passed down through many generations and, when I pulled them off her feet, I realized they were so small that her toes were bent downward. I put new shoes on her feet, and she was the happiest kid on the planet.” It was that feeling that stuck with him. “One $15 pair of shoes can change a child’s life.”
For the past five years, Snitkin has also been chair of the community outreach committee for the Realtors® Commercial Alliance of the Palm Beaches (RCA). “We volunteer once a month in the community and once a year, we host a fundraiser. In the time that I’ve remained chair of this committee, we’ve helped many local charities, including Habitat for Humanity, Palm Beach County Food Bank, Boca Helping Hands and the coalition for the homeless.”
Snitkin says, “My father was my inspiration. I want to be like him to my children, staff, coworkers and colleagues. I will lead this march by example.
“As a community, we need to come together and help each other. Everyone just needs to contribute a little bit. By doing that, we can change a lot of things and create a world that is safe for our families.”
To find out more about the Shuzz Foundation, go to www.shuzz.org.