NMP - December 2016 - 54


t is not unusual for
mortgage professionals to
be actively involved in
non-profit organizations
and charitable campaigns,
but few have gone as far
as Robert Scheer in running a
non-profit full-time while
maintaining a parallel full-time
position within the mortgage
industry.
To his mortgage world peers,
Robert Scheer
is known as the
chief strategy
officer for
Landmark
Network Inc.
To a wider
public, he is
the founder
and head of
Comfort Cases,
which provides
children in
foster care with
a backpack or
suitcase filled
with personal
care items
including
toiletries,
underwear,
socks, pajamas
and toys.
"We are one
of the few 100
percent nonprofit charities
left in
Maryland," said
Scheer, who puts 25 to 30
hours per week into Comfort
Cases. "Every penny that
comes into our charity goes to
our charity. We have 19 people
who volunteer to work with
us-we have no paid staff ...
even our board is all
volunteer."
Scheer has firsthand
knowledge of the foster care
system, having spent his
childhood therein. In his
adulthood, he adopted four
children from foster care. In
focusing on this subject and
the youngsters within the
system, Scheer acknowledged
that he is breaking a taboo by
giving attention to a subject
that is aggressively ignored by
the mainstream media and the
parenting-focused media.
"I feel that foster care and
'The Invisible Children' have
been rejected because if we
talk about it, then we will
realize we have a problem," he
said, adding that he was
uncertain how his colleagues in
the mortgage field would react
to this endeavor. "I never
wanted to bring attention to
myself-and I was worried by

I

DECEMBER 2016 n National Mortgage Professional Magazine n

NationalMortgageProfessional.com

54

what people in the industry
might think about me. But I
was amazed by the
overwhelming support that
people in the industry gave
me."
Comfort Cases began
operations in 2003 by
distributing 300 kits to children
in foster care in the Maryland
market. As of this year, it has
distributed approximately
23,000 cases in
seven states
and the District
of Columbia.
And while he
was not
looking for any
special
recognition for
his work, within
two years of
beginning
operations
Scheer
received the
Dunkin' Donuts
Community
Hero Award
while he and
his daughter
Amaya were
profiled in a
cover story for
American Girl
Magazine.
However, the
latter honor
created an
unexpected
backlash: The magazine also
profiled the full family,
including Scheer's husband
Reece. An advocacy group
called One Million Moms
objected to the presence of a
same-sex couple as parents
and called for a boycott of the
American Girl company-
which, of course, focused
even more attention on
Comfort Cases and Scheer.
Looking back on the
controversy, Scheer saw the
silver lining to the negativity
directed at him and his family.
"It truly has made our
family stronger and more out
spoken," Scheer commented.
"And we realized it is not okay
to stand on the sidelines and
complain, but to get into the
game!"
The outpouring of support
for Scheer, his family and
Comfort Cases culminated
this year another magazine
profile, this time in celebrityfocused weekly People. As
someone who was initially
uncomfortable about being in
the spotlight, Scheer was
happily surprised at the
support he received.

Shedding Lig

Robert Scheer of Landmark N
By
By Phil
Phil Hall
Hall

"It is very humbling when I
have people stop my family
and say thank you," he said.
"It makes it worth all of the
backlash. But, you see, this
is not about pounding your
chest, but about doing what
is our responsibility-and that
is giving back."
Scheer's goal for Comfort

Cases is to bring its
distribution network
nationwide. He added that
Landmark Network had
graciously offered financial
support for Comfort Cases,
it was not looking for
publicity mileage from its
association with Scheer's
prominent non-profit work.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of NMP - December 2016

Contents
NMP - December 2016 - Cover1
NMP - December 2016 - Cover2
NMP - December 2016 - 1
NMP - December 2016 - Contents
NMP - December 2016 - 3
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