Eugene Poverni, principal at Poverni Sheikh Group, is a local business leader, father and Baltimore native who works in the real estate industry. Involved with The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore – he chairs CHAI’s Real Estate Committee – Eugene works towards improving the lives of Baltimore families and seniors, especially as it relates to housing and home repair.
Can you tell me a little bit about your background and what it was like growing up in Jewish Baltimore? I was born in Kiev, Ukraine and I came to the U.S. when I was six and a half years old. We arrived during the big wave of immigration of the late 80s early 90s. We came to Pikesville. It was hard at first, not knowing the language and the culture. My parents enrolled me in Hebrew school and I went to Camp Milldale. I lived in Pikesville until I was 18 years old then went to University of MD and George Washington University. I moved back to Baltimore afterwards and I’ve been here ever since.
You are a businessman and a volunteer. Yes, I became involved with CHAI, which is an agency of The Associated, as a board member, which I’ve been on for the past five years, and I’ve chaired their Real Estate Committee since June. My grandparents lived in one of CHAI’s buildings back when we came to the U.S. Life in some ways has come full circle.
What makes CHAI stand out to you? It’s the mission and the personal connection. Their mission is to help seniors, help them from a housing perspective, from a senior home repair perspective, from the aging in place perspective. I think it is important to our community. But it’s also something that my own family and my grandparents benefited from. I feel that there is some impetus, some obligation, for me to make sure that future generations and other families have those same opportunities that CHAI provides.
Have you been involved in other volunteering? Since I’ve had my daughter it’s given me an opportunity to give back. I get to take my daughter to the Pearlstone Center and the activities that are family-oriented. It has opened that door a little bit and it’s been nice. We’ve found that it’s an opportunity to volunteer, clean up, give back and spend time with the family as well.