“All of us who profit from the physical landscape have a responsibility to help improve the social landscape” according to Mark Wittcoff, who is one of the nation’s most experienced managers of investment real estate. He contributes much of his time and personal resources supporting organizations that improve people’s lives in communities where he’s managed every type of commercial property during thirty years of experience as an asset manager for owners and developers.
Mark believes that civic involvement and philanthropy helps increase property values. He attributes higher rental rates and greater occupancy as much to improvement of the area as to the demand for space in markets where he’s managed commercial properties throughout the United States.
As managing director of investor relations at Standard Management Company, a national commercial real estate investment firm established in 1961, Mark serves on the board of UCLA Health System that oversees the University of California Los Angeles’ four hospitals and over one hundred clinics. Additionally, he is a member of the board of directors of Jewish National Fund in Los Angeles, a major benefactor of Tower Cancer Research Foundation, and a sponsor of the Safe Communities Institute at the University of Southern California’s Price School of Public Policy.
“I don’t believe in networking for the sake of networking. Instead, I encourage everyone to get involved in something that you care about as a volunteer” Mark says. He further ads that “Showing up at events to help efforts that are important to you allows you to meet influential people who support these organizations. People who see your commitment to something that they value will want to be helpful to you. My best business relationships are with people who I’ve met volunteering and fundraising for meaningful causes.”
Previously, Mark was a member of the board of directors of the Ketchum Downtown Los Angeles YMCA, Challengers Boys and Girls Club, Meals on Wheels West, and the William H. Parker Los Angeles Police Foundation.
He credits his success to choosing good mentors and to sustaining lifelong relationships with them. He still meets regularly with his first employer, Alan D. Levy, chairman of Tishman International Companies, who hired Mark in 1987.
Mark began his career as a management trainee and leasing agent with Tishman West in Los Angeles, where he subsequently became a building manager with publicly traded REIT, Arden Realty, before becoming vice president of retail brokerage in Coldwell Banker Commercial’s highest performing office in the United States. He also served as senior portfolio manager at Black Equities Group and as chief operating officer of Keller Williams Realty’s first commercial brokerage and management office in Boston.
Mark lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Laura, who is an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Southern California, and he has one son and four adult stepchildren in their twenties. The whole family is involved with volunteering and they recently hosted an outdoor dinner for clients of Safe Parking, an organization that provides overnight parking for people who are homeless and living in their cars in Los Angeles.
Mark thinks that “Owners and managers of investment properties should be deeply connected to our communities, where we learn that doing good is often the key to doing well.”