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Ideas Festival 2019: Fred R. Profeta Jr and Paul Profeta

Main Library

Two brothers, who grew up in Maplewood in the 1940s and 50s, discuss the evolution of the town over 8 decades, and how their experiences in the Maplewood of their youth led to their contributions in local leadership, philanthropy, sustainability, and organic agriculture.

Fred Profeta moved to Maplewood in 1942 as a two year old and has lived here ever since.  He is a product of the local public schools, was President of his Senior Class at Columbia High School, and later founded the Columbia High School Alumni Association.  Fred received a BA degree from Yale University, where he also became a saber fencer and won a silver medal in the NCAA tournament his senior year. After graduation from Harvard Law School, Fred started his practice in New York City and established the firm of Profeta & Eisenstein, where he specializes in appeals litigation and has won a number of seminal cases.

 Locally, Fred has founded and chaired many groups, including the SO/M Community Coalition on Race, YouthNet, the Maplewood Village Alliance, and the Maplewood Green Team.  Fred was the Mayor of Maplewood from 2004 through 2007, and was elected to the Maplewood Township Committee for 3 terms (2003 through 2011).  While Mayor, Fred founded the state-wide Sustainable Jersey municipal environmental certification program, now participated in by over 400 New Jersey municipalities.  He has spoken widely around the state on environmental matters, and presented at the 2009 Local Government Climate Change Leadership Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark.  In 2010, he was awarded the Governor’s Environmental Leadership award.  Fred has also received Maplewood’s Distinguished Service award in 1999, the Maplewood Rotary’s “Service Above Self” award (along with his wife, Dr. Susan Profeta) in 2014, and recognition by SOPAC for “Contributions to the Arts and Education” in 2015.


Paul Profeta is one of two sons born to immigrant parents in Maplewood, New Jersey. He went to local public schools but finished at Phillips Exeter Academy in 1962, graduated from Harvard College in 1967 and then got an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1971.

Since graduation, Profeta’s career has followed three paths: business, education and philanthropy.

In 1976, he started Paul V. Profeta & Associates, Inc., which is a commercial real estate investment company that has bought, renovated, and sold properties all over the country. He also bought Feist & Fiest Mortgage Corp., which was a mortgage banking company representing Mass Mutual, State Farm, Mutual of New York, Penn Mutual, and Security Mutual.

Simultaneously, Profeta pursued a career in education. After lecturing 3-4 times per semester at Harvard Business School, he co-founded the Real Estate Finance Department at Columbia Graduate School of Business. He actively wrote cases, lectured and taught in the M.B.A. program and the M.D.P.E. program (MBA Program for Returning Executives) for ten years from 1980 - 1989. Mr. Profeta has had two cases published by the Harvard Business School Press and Columbia Business School. Mr. Profeta has also lectured at the Johns Hopkins Graduate School of Business and Rutgers Business School.

In 2014 he endowed the Paul V. Profeta Chair of Real Estate at Rutgers Business School that led to the formation of the Rutgers Real Estate Center. Profeta sits on the Executive Board of that Center.

In 2008, Mr. Profeta founded the Profeta Urban Investment Foundation at Rutgers Business School, which is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation that he has funded to provide seed capital for start-up and stage one minority owned commercial ventures in Newark, NJ. To date, the Foundation has launched fifteen businesses representing 300 new jobs.

The creation of Radius magazine was a natural extension of the Foundation’s activities. The magazine’s mission was to portray Newark in a positive light, as opposed to the treatment it receives from the local print media.

Profeta also launched Newark’s first soul food jazz nightclub in partnership with a native Newark African American Restauranteur.

Profeta is a member of the Board of Overseers of Rutgers University, the Board of Advisors of Rutgers Business School, the Board of Overseers at New Jersey Institute of Technology and was formerly on the Board of Trustees of Rutgers, the 200 Club of Essex County, Our House Inc., the Intersect Fund and Union Center National Bank.

When Profeta married Joanne Malino, a certified nutritional counselor, he became focused on our food supply and the contaminants therein. Eventually, he decided that America had to change the way it fed itself.  He has created Profeta Farms, LLC as a template for the way America should feed itself….local, certified organic farms featuring integrity, and transparency, using the environment sustainably and responsibly while treating animals humanely so that local shoppers can “know their farmer” and personally check on the farmers’ methods and ingredients.