Michael Kalles

We are all familiar with the adage “home is where the heart is.” For the Kalles company, buying and selling homes is the bread and butter of our business, and the ‘heart’ is what we are able to do beyond the business. The heart is the Harvey Kalles Real Estate Charitable Fund established at the Jewish Foundation.

I am so privileged to be part of a company that was first established and built to enormous success by my father, Harvey. I would eventually become involved in the business, as did my mother and older sister, Corinne. Fittingly, with a family feel for the work, came a family commitment to our community. My parents worked so hard to achieve success, but they always demonstrated tremendous generosity to the Jewish community and to the community at large through their involvement with numerous charities connected to health and welfare.

One of my most cherished examples of the power of tzedakah came from my bar mitzvah year. Part of my preparation that year was to volunteer. My father joined me, first at orientation and then every Sunday, as I spent time with a visually impaired teenager. The experience taught me not just the value of helping others, but the shared experience with my father also helped the father of my peer, and a friendship blossomed between all of us. These chance encounters, where I’d be presented with the choice to help someone, would happen time and time again. I have made a point to do whatever I can. And the same philosophy applies to the business.

As the current president of Harvey Kalles Real Estate, I am so proud of the work my team accomplishes, but equally proud to see that everyone is on board with our charitable endeavours. This year, for example, instead of running an ad to promote our top selling agents, we have dedicated the advertising budget, under the banner Kalles Cares, to six homeless shelters in the city.

On a personal note, I am so proud to see my children – Olivia, Moriah, Emma and Ace – also recognizing their duty to help, and each has been guided to contribute what they can. For my girls, who are all past bat mitzvah age, they each dedicated their gifts to a charity of their choice. I am hopeful that this will be a life-long practice learned from their parents and grandparents.