The act of kindness never gets old for St. Louis philanthropist Michael Staenberg


No acts of kindness should be overlooked. No matter size, the where, or the who. Kindness is something to kvell about. You just need to keep your eyes open so you don’t miss it.

A recent act of kindness was noticed this week when the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle reported St. Louis philanthropist Michael Staenberg answered the call when he learned that Chabad children in Kansas City were in need of a physical space in which to continue their education.

Staenberg’s gift of space for Torah study combines the best of two worlds, the children will receive an in-depth, intensive Jewish education while enjoying the social interactions with other children their age.

Staenberg’s tie to the Kansas City Jewish community dates back to his $20 million renovation of the J in KC. A friend from Kansas City alerted him to the issues facing Chabad, so Staenberg offered them space inside a property located in a shopping mall at 103rd and Metcalf in Overland Park.

The new space accommodates the needs that the children will have as they study Torah together.

Rabbi Zalman Tiechtel, co-director of KU Chabad in Lawrence, said the new space will “fulfill the basic needs of every child to have social interaction and forge meaningful friendships.”

Chabad emissaries use the Nigri Jewish Online School (JOS) for their children. The JOS offers full-day, completely online school sessions geared for the children of Chabad emissaries across the globe.

The gift will allow the Chabad children to attend the virtual classes of JOS while also being able to have an in-person social experience.

Staenberg is the co-founder of The Staenberg Group (TSG), the third-largest commercial real estate firm in the country. He launched the Staenberg Family Foundation, which awards millions in grants annually to art museums, food programs, Jewish community centers, youth centers, and more.

When asked “What would be your dream gift to give,” Staenberg answered:

My dream gift would be to give a small amount of money that would make the biggest impact.  Inspire people. A small pebble can make as big an impact as a large boulder with its waves.

Staenberg went on to say, that it’s not just the money donated, but the time, energy, and vision.  “I hope people of Kansas City have been inspired by what I’ve done and take the initiative to do something.”

“We believe in supporting all Jewish organizations,” said Staenberg. “Everyone has good intentions and doing so, if the foundation can help, that that is what we will do. The Foundation will continue to strive to make Jewish life better in America, supporting Jewish values and helping the younger generations.”