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Eric Weinbrenner of ‘Paint For A Cure’: “Surround yourself with hard-working giving people”

The most important thing is to treat the organization as a charity, don’t treat it as a company with high salaries, travel expenses, entertainment, etc. You’ll ultimately just take away from those that you could be helping. Unfortunately, most organizations are not in it for the right reasons, don’t be one of those organizations! Trevor […]

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The most important thing is to treat the organization as a charity, don’t treat it as a company with high salaries, travel expenses, entertainment, etc. You’ll ultimately just take away from those that you could be helping. Unfortunately, most organizations are not in it for the right reasons, don’t be one of those organizations! Trevor Stoffer and myself are committed to helping other families affected by ALS, and with that we do this with no salary and oftentimes are spending or donating our own money to make things happen because we can’t bear to take away from a family who could really use it.


As part of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Eric Weinbrenner of Paint For A Cure.

On November 27th, 2019, the day before Thanksgiving, Eric Weinbrenner was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as ALS. After receiving this overwhelming news, he turned to painting. Painting was a creative outlet where he was able to calm his nerves and mind while he focused on the art rather than his diagnosis.

Eric’s other passion is real estate. In 1997 he moved to Phoenix and began buying, renovating and selling homes. Over his 20+ year career he has bought and sold well over 10,000 homes from the company he started Buyazforeclosures.com. In addition he has a passion for building multi million dollar properties. Paint For A Cure brings together Eric’s love for painting and Real Estate.


Thank you so much for doing this with us. Before we begin our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”?

I was raised in Colorado. When it came time to go to college in 1989, I moved to Steamboat Springs to ski for a few years as an alternative to attending college. Eight years later, I decided It was time to get serious about my future. So, I started a company called Weldon’s Trucking, which eventually took me to Arizona.

In 1996, I lost my father to cancer. It was a loss that had a significant impact on me in the sense that the advice he gave me forever positively redirected the trajectory of my life. Before my father passed, he shared some fatherly and life advice with me. One of the many things he told in relation to life and a career was to invest in real estate. So, I started doing just that. In the late 90’s, I was introduced to the process of purchasing wholesale properties. From that time on, that is what I focused on. During this time I purchased well over 10,000 properties that eventually grew into what is now a large rental portfolio. Fast forward a bit and I transitioned my career from buying wholesale homes to building beautiful custom homes worth millions.

In 2006, I lost his mother to pancreatic cancer. My hope is that my mother and father are enjoying each other’s company in heaven as they were both madly in love with one another here on Earth. My mother and father were such role models for me and everything I wanted in a relationship and marriage. They truly showed me what real love and a real marriage could be.I married my beautiful wife Jen in 2016 and set out to create a beautiful and loving marriage like the one I grew up witnessing between my parents. Jen and I are blessed beyond doubt to have two incredible children, Hyatt who is 3, and our little girl London who is 1.

My life as I knew it forever changed in November of 2019. Right before Thanksgiving, and just a short time before my wife was due to give birth to our little girl, I was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. For those who may not know ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. It is also 100% fatal.

Can you tell us the story behind why you decided to start your non nonprofit?

As I had mentioned, I was diagnosed with ALS in November of 2019. The diagnosis was shocking and something that was hard to come to grips with. The thought of not being around to see my children grow up, or grow old with my wife and live out the marriage like my parents as I had always dreamed, completely crushed me. In an attempt to ease my stress, worry, and pain, I took to painting. Painting was therapeutic for me and from there I developed my love for art. As I began to battle this disease, learn, and meet others impacted by it, I realized that I was much more fortunate than others going through the same thing. Rather than sitting back and doing nothing, my wife and I decided to create our nonprofit organization Paint For A Cure. We needed a name for the organization and the inspiration stemmed from my love of art and we landed upon that name. While I may have started this nonprofit hoping, wishing, and painting for a cure for this awful disease, it’s turned into so much more than that.

Two months after forming Paint For A Cure, I met Trevor Stoffer. Trevor also has ALS and he also wants to make a change and help others that have been diagnosed. We realized how this disease takes everything away from its victims. The ability to walk, talk, even move a single muscle. And ultimately, it can take away a life. Much like myself, Trevor is more fortunate than others who may be battling this disease and realized he could not just standby. Together, we decided that we would work to support families facing this debilitating disease.

Can you describe how you or your organization aims to make a significant social impact?

Our mission is to take the financial burden away of those affected by ALS. With this burden taken away it allows people to spend more quality time with loved ones, which is especially important considering the average life expectancy of a person with ALS is three to five years. We have donated well over 50,000 dollars to families impacted by ALS.

Paint for a Cure’s main goal is to eventually provide medically accessible housing for families affected by ALS. This home will provide a space for the family to spend quality time together and help educate the family to deal with the day to day struggles living with ALS. The home will have a team of social workers and nurses helping families residing there.

In addition to this, we also advocate for promising treatments and therapies that can sustain a better quality of life for ALS patients. To do so, our organization has hired a lobbyist to help pass bills such as HR 8662 and S 4867, legislation will help advance life-saving treatments for ALS patients. There are currently treatments that have been proven effective such as a treatment called NurOwn, from Brainstorm, and is currently in phase three trial after 11 long years. This drug has done amazing things, such as giving patients the ability to walk again after being in a wheelchair. Unfortunately, this treatment is currently not readily available to anyone with ALS at this time as the trial is still taking place. So, we are fighting each and everyday to get this treatment fast tracked. ALS is 100% fatal. Every 90 minutes someone loses their battle with ALS, and yet those diagnosed are unable to take these treatments due to the FDA regulations.

Without saying any names, can you share a story about an individual who was helped by your idea so far?

Paint for a Cure has financially helped more than ten families in our first year. One family in particular really stood out to me. They are a family of four, with two younger kids, living in Ohio, and the father was diagnosed two years ago. In his two years with ALS he has lost his ability to walk and has limited use of his arms. He is confined to a wheelchair and their current home was not very wheelchair accessible, the bathroom in particular, making things a bit difficult for the family and the father in particular. We were able to award the family 10,000 dollars for a bathroom remodel to make it wheelchair accessible. This situation really put a smile on my face knowing that we were able to positively impact and provide someone with a better quality of life as they battle this disease that can take everything from you.

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

Absolutely! There is SO much that needs to be done. ALS is extremely underfunded and it is a 100% fatal disease with an average life span of three to five years. We need to spread awareness of this disease and raise funds for treatments such as NurOwn.

We devoted a lot of time and effort recently to raise awareness in an attempt to pass HR 8662 and S 4867. This legislation was designed to advance life-saving treatments for ALS patients. Passing any type of legislation that would advance life-saving treatments for those with ALS would make more of a difference than most realize. It’s the difference between a father or mother being around longer to watch their children grow up, for example, or not being able to do so.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

I define leadership as the ability to be self-motivated to accomplish a goal that can create a positive environment for those around them to excel. It is true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.

Based on your experience, what are the “5 things a person should know before they decide to start a non profit”. Please share a story or example for each.

First off, they need to be dedicated to the cause, everyone’s situation is different when it comes to involvement in a nonprofit. Some have lost family members to a disease, other have hearts that go out to organizations that help homeless, pets or others. My dedication of course comes from my diagnosis of ALS which has changed my life completely. It’s not all in a bad sense, as I now has a greater appreciation of life and helping others than ever before.

You also need to be willing to devote your time and money into the nonprofit 100%, be all in, in attitude and willingness to help others. I’ve dedicated my time, money and really invested my heart and soul into this cause with nothing in return. No one should ever start a nonprofit with the mindset of personally getting anything, other than gratitude or a sense of pride, in return in my opinion. The mindset should be to help others and positively impact others. Nonprofit work is truly selfless.

Surround yourself with hard-working giving people to help you grow your organization. I’ve surrounded myself with a team that has a similar vision as myself and that wants to positively impact families enduring this fight against ALS. My team and I have weekly meetings to talk through what is working, what is not working, and brainstorm ideas to keep growing, excelling, and meeting our goals to help families and advance life changing treatments.

With that, I would also say do not be afraid to ask for help. You do not have to tackle a cause on your own. And, chances are, you will encounter people just as passionate as yourself, like myself with Trevor.

The most important thing is to treat the organization as a charity, don’t treat it as a company with high salaries, travel expenses, entertainment, etc. You’ll ultimately just take away from those that you could be helping. Unfortunately, most organizations are not in it for the right reasons, don’t be one of those organizations! Trevor Stoffer and myself are committed to helping other families affected by ALS, and with that we do this with no salary and oftentimes are spending or donating our own money to make things happen because we can’t bear to take away from a family who could really use it.

We are very blessed that very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world who you would like to talk to, to share the idea behind your non profit? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Elon Musk! We believe he is the one who might actually be able to find a treatment for all who are diagnosed with neurological diseases. Musk has a company called Neuralink that has been working on technology that would essentially implant an AI-enabled microchip into the human brain. It would both monitor and stimulate brain activity. The goal with it is to one day use the technology to help treat neurological conditions and diseases. Trevor and I are both entrepreneurs, business owners and we both have a ton of respect and admiration for Elon Musk in what he has done to advance us in this modern world for the better.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson” Quote? How is that relevant to you in your life?

“Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and start being excited of what could go right.”

This quote has helped me dramatically in keeping a positive attitude in life, especially after being diagnosed with ALS. Both Trevor and I have devoted our time to being positive rather than negative. In life, I feel everyone should focus on the good rather than the bad. A good positive mindset is the best medication currently on the market for ALS. Fun fact, it has been proven that if you have a good positive mind set your progression is slowed.

How can our readers follow you online?

Paintforacure.org

Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/paintforacureALS/

Instagram — @paintforacure

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