Eli Lunzer is known on New York’s Jewish young professionals scene as a successful party producer. What many don’t realize, however, is that Lunzer, owner of Eli Lunzer Productions, has for many years donated significant time to an array of charities.
After attending graduate school for entertainment marketing at NYU, he worked for five years in sales and marketing for Madison Square Garden. At that time he started arranging to bring disadvantaged children and people with disabilities to games to meet athletes. “To me, to have somebody show up and have the time of their life, that is an event,” he says.
Now that he’s established, Lunzer continues to donate time to various organizations, mostly those dedicated to children, youth and the disabled. Often his volunteerism is informal; he gets calls “on a weekly basis from various organizations” asking for his advice and help in planning events. He’s volunteered for Yachad, which serves the disabled; Project Sunshine, which brightens the lives of hospitalized kids; Save a Child’s Heart, which raises funds for life-saving heart surgeries for kids; and Chabad of the Upper East Side. He’s also involved with Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, raising funds, visiting the hospital annually, and introducing young professionals to the work being done there.
“My parents and grandparents were involved with that organization, so it’s in my blood,” he said.
Also a bridge-builder to the non-Jewish world, Lunzer began donating event-planning assistance to the Kenyon Martin Foundation, which provides support to teenage parents and underserved youth, after befriending the Knicks forward.
In addition, once a week he visits patients at NYU’s Rusk Medical Center, and every other week he visits Ohel Bais Ezra on the Lower East Side, where he spends time with young men who have developmental disabilities. His drive to help in this area and others may spring in part from his close relationship with younger brother Baruch, 28, who has developmental disabilities. He downplays the effort, saying he likes to “hang out with the guys and maybe take them to the park or out to eat.”
West Coast state of mind: Though he’s a lifelong New Yorker, Lunzer loves to surf and prefers a “West Coast lifestyle.” He admires Seth Goldman, TeaEO of Honest Tea, who “is known to close deals on a walk, as opposed to a boardroom.”