Eric Schiffer: helping kids be winners – philanthropist and businessman

Cheri Daniels

Eric Schiffer is a man of surprises.

One would expect a self-made millionaire to be older. Eric Schiffer is 26! Because of his efforts to make those millions, one might expect him to look a tad haggard. Eric Schiffer is Hollywood handsome (having made one movie, with more in the offing).

With so many accomplishments in so few years, one might assume he has a massive ego. Charming Eric Schiffer is the kind of unaffected guy you’d likely meet in the checkout line of your local grocery.

Considering his fortune, good looks, and popularity, one would expect him to be married. Eric Schiffer is a bachelor.

After amassing his wealth, it hasn’t become his master. He isn’t hoarding it. As we have learned from his sponsorship of the Eric Schiffer Scholarship Races at the Children’s Better Health Institute’s Fitness Farm, Eric Schiffer is giving generously to “preserve the American dream… to prepare the future generations of leaders to help carry America into a third century of greatness.”

And he’s not even a workaholic. Eric Schiffer believes in a balanced lifestyle.

“I enjoy spending time with friends and with my Dobermans,” he says. “But when I work, I work hard.” In his leisure, you might find him playing the keyboard, jet-skiing, kickboxing, or reading.

How does one become a millionaire at 26? One way to begin is by writing a timely bodybuilding book, Pumping Iron for Teenagers, at age 13, and generating royalties of $10,000. Following this success, Eric had the foresight to predict the real estate boom. Too young to get a license– he was only 17–he began soliciting sellers to list their homes and turned over the addresses to brokers.

After a year in college, which failed to offer the challenge he was seeking-though he encourages America’s youth to make a college degree their starting point–his natural interest in science inspired him to compete with thousands of other hopefuls in an annual energy competition. His program on molecular fusion brought top awards from IBM, Crown Zellerbach, and Intel Inc. He later sold his prizewinning software to educational systems.

Three years of real estate success gave Eric the confidence to take on the failing Sportsmed Rehabilitation Clinic in Fremont, Calif. By downsizing the operation and creating new management divisions, the nearbankrupt facility became a huge profit maker within 18 months.

Today, Sportsmed is the nation’s largest single-site sports rehabilitation facility. Its advanced technology attracts celebrity clients as varied as actor John Goodman, boxer George Foreman, rapper Hammer, and skater Kristi Yamaguchi.

To help eliminate abuses in personal-injury claims, Schiffer founded Quality Medical Associates (QMA), which provides medical and record reviews for large insurance companies nationwide. QMA currently has 12 facilities in California.

Although most people are interested in investing to make more money, Eric Schiffer invests his money in the welfare of those less fortunate. The Eric Schiffer Youth Foundation seeks out those its founder has labeled “America’s leaders of tomorrow”–giving inncrcity and suburban “latchkey” youth some of the opportunities he took while building his fortune.

Eric Schiffer Youth Foundation’s latest endeavor is The American Dream, a national program developed to teach self-esteem, personal motivation, discipline, and the intellectual and success skills needed for Americans next generation to meet the ethical and social challenges in their future and succeed in business. The program begins with students in the first grade and continues through high school, with college scholarships and business loans available for individuals who show exemplary performance.

Among the activities for aspiring youngsters is a “model city” in which participants interact as business owners and consumers using “lab” dollars. Each model city is altered to mirror the real-life community in which the program takes place. The program was designed as Eric remembers it from his own fourthgrade experience.

“[The experience] was very motivating,” he says. “It shaped my drive.”

“The Dream Machine” program, for students in grades 10 through 12, takes place outside the classroom. Here they learn all aspects of running a business through field trips into the business community. They then create their own model business plan that, if practical, will be put into practice with the foundation’s support and guidance.

“I firmly believe in the American dream,” Eric says. “I love this country and feel blessed and grateful to be an American.

“I believe we can fix what is wrong with it, but we need leaders. We need to work hard and renew its greatness. The future of our country is only as good as the next generation. We need to build strong character, strong minds, and strong bodies.”

On May 8, the Eric Schiffer Youth Foundation sponsored scholarship races at the Children’s Better Health Institute’s Fitness Farm in Indianapolis. At this widely celebrated event, 6to 14-year-old winners of races from 200 meters to one mile took home scholarship checks of $1,000. A Predicted Time Race victory upped the payoff to $2,000.

It was Eric Schiffer’s way of encouraging the kids to finish high school and later avoid becoming social driftwood. He is promising more such races in other parts of the country.

Although Eric is a very focused and determined person, he also is a very caring individual, according to the flow of young and old who seek his advice on becoming a success. He begins by telling them “Be real, and respect everyone.”

Heeding his own words, Eric is on a first-name basis with all of his employees. When a worker at one of his companies participated in a boxing match, the boss was there cheering him on with the rest of the staff.

“I’ve been in business for 26 years,” Linda Lowery, QMA president, says, “and I’ve learned more from him than from any other owner. It’s amazing to meet a man of his youth with his intellect.”

Would you like to meet Eric Schiffer? No problem. He has made his movie debut playing himself in the Morris Day production, “The One for Me,” scheduled to open late this year

As a former Cosmopolitan magazine “Bachelor of the Year,” Eric admits to his love for women and romance. Marriage and a big family are definitely in the future. After all, his love of children and patriotism inspire his American Dream program.

And will this handsome, energetic bachelor go tooth and nail after a bride? Hardly. In this regard, he considers himself old-fashioned. He likes sending affectionate notes and flowers to his dates.

“No one teaches romance,” he says. “But notes and flowers add to the relationship. Makes it more intense.”

As we said, Eric Schiffer is a man of surprises.

COPYRIGHT 1993 Saturday Evening Post Society

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

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