Louise Phillips Forbes has cemented her place in the cutthroat world of New York real estate, accumulating roughly $2.5 billion worth of sales spanning a 27-year career. But it wasn’t the allure of Park Avenue that drew the Nashville native to the Big Apple. Instead, the aspiring dancer dreamed of a life on The Great White Way.
“I went to a billion auditions. I did a million things to try to make a living. And then I finally discovered my place in real estate.” Since then, Forbes has been committed to helping the next generation find their niche in life. As event committee co-chair of Change for Kids, an organization that fundraises and coordinates versatile programs for under-resourced elementary schools across NYC’s boroughs, Forbes helps give less fortunate children the tools to discover their untapped potential.
“I may not be able to change our education system, but I know that I can make a difference by changing one child, one classroom, one school, one community at a time,” said Forbes, who holds a personal interest in promoting literacy given her and her two children’s struggles with dyslexia.
“Despite all the challenges I faced in my life, the greatest of them all was learning how to read.” With this in mind, she developed “scholar dollars,” rewarding students who track 30 minutes of reading every day throughout the summer with a Barnes and Noble gift card.
Forbes values Change for Kids’ individualized model, one that acts as “a canvas for people to make their own difference,” allowing her to translate her passions into philanthropic endeavors. The fitness enthusiast (she’s an avid SoulCycle rider, punch boxer, surfer and yogi) believes in exercise’s ability to balance the mind, body and soul and has consequently started Ride for Kids, an annual SoulCycle fundraising event held in Bridgehampton every July.
By serving on an advisory committee for Habitat for Humanity and maintaining involvement with her Presbyterian church, Forbes continues to actively seek opportunities to grow Change For Kids. In turn, she prides herself on teaching the gift of giving to her sons and all the children she helps along the way. “My mother always used to say, ‘You got to give it away to keep it.”