By Steve Feldman
A chance meeting over the purchase of a recycled kitchen may result in Mansions of Meaning having a home in the West Village. When George Capsis and Dusty Berke met me at the Renovation Angel Luxury Outlet in Fairfield, New Jersey, a conversation about sustainability grew into the excitement of establishing a Mansions of Meaning in the West Village.
Mansions of Meaning is a non-profit organization with a mission to preserve, inspire, create, and educate. We preserve historic mansions which are repurposed for sustainability. We inspire entrepreneurs to flourish by working together and sharing success. We create job opportunities for individuals with special needs. We educate with a focus on entrepreneurship, job training, wellness, and the environment.
As part of the growing trend of “entrepreneurial charity,” Mansions of Meaning’s financially sustainable model transforms historic mansions into wholistic living and educational centers for both the tenants and the community. Our revenue model is diverse including: 1) long-term residential rental income, 2) support from our entrepreneur network, 3) staffing fees from job placements, and 4) tuition from classes and workshops.
Mansions of Meaning preserves historic homes converting them into centers for social impact. Each Mansion is renovated to meet modern standards of sustainable energy and efficiency. The aesthetics of each home are preserved—beauty is central to the Mansions of Meaning vision.
The not-for-profit model of Mansions of Meaning lives within the community of each home. Our mission is to provide these beautiful spaces for young entrepreneurs to live in and incubate each other’s ideas, while becoming a gathering place for disadvantaged persons. This includes former prisoners, recovering addicts, children from foster homes, and veterans who are struggling to readjust to civilian life.
Classes—ranging from basic computer skills to resume writing, wellness to sustainability—are held regularly in each Mansion of Meaning, free for those with disadvantages and open to the public.
When George Capsis of WestView News learned about our model, he told us there might be properties in the beautiful (talk about aesthetics!) West Village. A converted townhouse may become the first Manhattan Mansions of Meaning, so we are spreading the word to those who would like to see their home truly preserved and repurposed. We feel the social values and historicity of the Village align wonderfully with our mission.
Mansions of Meaning has two founders: Steve Feldman (myself) and Mina Greiss. I am the Founder & CEO of Renovation Angel, a nationwide luxury kitchen and interiors recycling non-profit organization. Mina is the Co-Founder of CoLuxy, a co-living company based in New Jersey offering co-living spaces in luxury homes. Each of these ventures’ strengths are combined in Mansions of Meaning.
Renovation Angel will provide kitchen, bath, appliances, and building materials to each Mansion. CoLuxy’s experience with luxury homes and as a construction and rental company will be invaluable in creating each home as a community.
We believe that in contemporary times, positive collaborations are the best way to solve social challenges.