Komisar works for disabled kids
Meet Lori Komisar, has been a Winnetka resident of six years and is national president of the American Friends of the Israel Sport Center for the Disabled. Komisar attended with Morrie Silverman, also of Winnetka. | Karie Angell Luc~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 30, 2012 6:13AM
We caught up with Lori Komisar, a Winnetka resident of six years, at the Ravinia Green Country Club in Riverwoods Nov. 18 where the American Friends of the Israel Sport Center for the Disabled hosted its annual fundraiser brunch. Komisar, national president of the American Friends of the ISCD, attended with Morrie Silverman, also of Winnetka. Her three children — Miriam, 26, a second year medical student at UIC, Randi, 22, a Loyola University master’s candidate in dietetics, and Davey, 18, a freshman at Vanderbilt — supported their mother on a sunny day of goodwill. Meet Lori Komisar, former hedge fund trader turned full-time philanthropist.
Q. Lori, why do you love Winnetka?
A. Winnetka is a really friendly place, the neighbors are very friendly, it’s absolutely beautiful, I raised my children on the North Shore, I raised my children in Wilmette, went to New Trier High School. The whole community of New Trier High School is just a very giving and gracious community. The people there are involved in many, many aspects of Chicago and they give back and I like that about it. If you go to a community meeting, there are a lot of people who show up.
Q. Talk about the man in your life, Morrie Silverman.
A. He’s very special. He’s incredibly, incredibly generous and philanthropic. He’s a self-made man, he grew up from basically abject poverty to where he is now, but has always remembered where he has come from. And he is always kind to, you know, the waiter in a restaurant as he is to a major CEO of a corporation. He treats everybody equally. He’s an incredible guy.
He loves business. It’s an adventure to him.
Q. So you two are a perfect philanthropic match, right?
A. We have this deal. The deal is, he writes the check and I do the work. So I do many, many charities and I work very, very hard. He comes to everything, he gets on boards when he can with me, and he’s wonderful with giving advice because he’s had a lot of experience. So we’re a great team. He’s wonderful.
Q. What are your hobbies?
A. I don’t like slow spectator sports. I like football, hockey and basketball. I like to run. I like to play tennis. I love to read. I love the opera. I love the symphony. I love theater. I love to be out every night if I can. I like everything that’s not on the billboard. I like local plays. I love people.
Q. Tell us about the American Friends of the Israel Sport Center for the Disabled.
A. Everything that I am involved with, I feel like it has to be something that goes forward and builds a nation. In the United States, we don’t get it as much as they get it in Israel, that children with disabilities of all sorts can then be trained both in their sport and in their self confidence so that going forward, they have enough that they go to college. They become producing members of society. They don’t look at themselves as having a disability. They’re just so incredible. There are doctors. There are lawyers. There are veterinarians. These are children who may never be out of a wheelchair, but they don’t look at themselves as having any kind of disability; they just look at themselves as ability going forward. It’s a beautiful world when you can do that, and they’re all loving in their own way. And you adapt to whatever their challenges are and applaud them for all of their successes. To know them is to understand that you get so much more when you’re involved with children like this. They teach you what the world is really about and we need more of that. It’s not about the disability; it’s about the ability. It’s tremendous.