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Donor Stories

Introducing Mitch & Nancy Steir

Mitch is the chairman and CEO of Savills Studley, the leading commercial real estate services firm specializing in tenant representation, and a part of Savills plc, the premier global real estate service provider. He serves on the boards of The Museum of the City of New York, Mount Sinai Surgery Advisory Board; The Realty Foundation of New York, and The Avenue of Americas Association. He is also a former Vice Chair of the Real Estate Division of AIPAC. A native of Boston, Mitch attended Milton Academy in Massachusetts and graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Nancy is an entrepreneur who revolutionized the intimate apparel industry. She founded Bodyslimmers by NancyGanz in 1990 and, with the company's innovative HIPSLIP, she created the category of intimate apparel now known as Shapewear. She sold the company to Warnaco in 1996. In 2008, Nancy founded Fashion Fantasy Game, an engaging online game and social network with over two million registered users. Born and raised on Long Island, Nancy graduated from NYU.

The Steirs have two children, Max, 24 and Rachel, 19. They live in Manhattan.

Why do you support Birthright Israel Foundation?

We were introduced to Birthright Israel about six years ago. After attending a parlor meeting and learning about the experiences of many young adults who had gone on a trip, we were very impressed. We realized how important it is for young Jews to develop an understanding of our Jewish history, traditions and culture and to develop a love and concern for Israel. And, in fact, we were thrilled when our son went on a Birthright Israel trip a few years later. It was the best trip of his life. We hope our daughter will join a trip in the near future as well.

Why is Birthright Israel so important?

Unfortunately, we think that many young Jewish adults in the US do not understand the importance of Israel to the Jewish people, both now and for the future. Nancy herself did not fully comprehend how important it is for us to be familiar with, and supportive of, our homeland. Also, many young people may have misconceptions about Israel. Through Birthright Israel, they learn that Israel is a vibrant democracy, contributing to the world through science and technology and upholding the values of freedom and justice.

What is your favorite place to visit in Israel?

Mitch has been to Israel several times; Nancy has been once—on a family trip we took about 7 years ago. Our favorite places are the Old City in Jerusalem and Masada. When we're strolling those ancient alley ways, or clambering up those ruins we feel like we're walking through history and connecting with our people's past.

Recently, you created a unique fundraising campaign to celebrate your birthday. Tell us about it!

When Mitch celebrated a recent milestone birthday, we realized he didn't need any more trinkets or ties so on the invitation to his party we suggested the invitees make a contribution to Birthright Israel Foundation in lieu of a gift. Those contributions made us happier than any gift could have.

Why should the Jewish community support Birthright Israel?

For many young adults, Birthright Israel may be the only way they will have an opportunity to visit the Jewish homeland. And even if they are able to travel to Israel when they're older and have the funds, it's important for them to visit and develop a relationship and a love of Israel and their people when they're young, forming their worldviews and making important life-determining choices. In our opinion, Birthright Israel is one of the Jewish community's best investments in its future.

What's a fun fact about yourselves?

Although, many people think that Nancy is a fashionista, she's really more of a techie. She also remains passionate about the sciences, which she studied in college.

We live in New York City, but Mitch is a diehard Red Sox and Patriots fan.