When Tom Adler retired from the commercial real estate business in the mid-90s, he transitioned 100 percent of his efforts into the local community. 

“I was brought up to believe that we have a responsibility to give back,” Adler said. “This is a belief in the Adler family on a multigenerational basis. So I was literally taught it and I believe very strongly that we have that responsibility.”

Adler’s commitment to the local community is evident just by looking at the numerous organizations he’s involved with, which span the Jewish and secular communities. 

“I’ve picked things to be involved in that I think are important to both the Jewish and general community. I have a keen interest in economic development of downtown and a keen interest in the success of the Jewish community. I try to do things that I think are important,” Adler said. 

Adler began his career in 1962 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin. He became a partner at Cragin, Lang, Free and Smythe in 1968 and was executive vice president and chairman of the executive committee there until 1979 when he left to be a co-founder of Adler Galvin Rogers Inc. In 1991, he co-founded Cleveland Real Estate Partners. He also served as director of Highwoods Properties from 1994 to 2014. 

Adler said he enjoyed his work and was fortunate that he was in a position to pursue his philanthropic interests. 

“One of the values of making some money is that it gives you the option to do some other things that you want to do. When I tired of being in business, it gave me the option to do other things I wanted to do in the community,” he said. 

Adler said he derives a great deal of satisfaction from his involvement in the community.

“There’s a way for everyone,” Adler said. “You can be a volunteer at a food kitchen or you can be the chairman of the board of Playhouse Square. All of those things are important. People have to pick what works best for them.”

– Kristen Mott

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