During his spare time, Midwest Motors Inc. president Ben Ripstein enjoys watching sports. Ben Ripstein supports Illinois teams over all others, and considers the Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bulls to be his favorite teams. The Chicago Bulls played host to Michael Jordan, one of the all-time greats of American basketball.
Michael Jordan’s accomplishments are difficult to fully list, though Rookie of the Year, five-time NBA Most Valuable Player, six-time NBA champion, Defensive Player of the Year, and 14-time NBA All-Star would be enough to put him at the top of the sport. His two Olympic gold medals, earned in 1984 and 1992, only further solidify his status as one of the world’s greatest athletes.
His acclaim also comes, however, from his off-the-court activities. Air Jordan sneakers were one of the most popular pieces of footwear during his career, and a co-promotion with Looney Tunes eventually led to the hit movie Space Jam. This high visibility and strong talent were enough to earn him the distinction of ESPN’s greatest athlete of the 20th century, even over all-time greats in other sports like Babe Ruth and Muhammad Ali. Even so, he retained humility, claiming that his greatness was built on that of other legendary players, rather than innate to him alone.
American Brain Tumor Association
Since 2009, Ben Ripstein has served as president of Midwest Motors, Inc., a dealer of late-model, luxury vehicles in the Chicago area. Along with his passion for automobiles, Ben Ripstein advocates for medical research as a supporter of the American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA).
The first organization of its kind, the ABTA has supported education, research, and outreach for more than 40 years. In this effort, the association continually strives to find innovative ways to fundraise and generate new resources for medical professionals and their patients. One leading campaign is the ABTA Breakthrough for Brain Tumors Run & Walk.
A nationwide event, the Breakthrough for Brain Tumors Run & Walk, also known as the BT5K, occurs annually in select cities. The 2017 BT5K in Chicago will start at 9 a.m. on April 23, 2017, at the Soldier Field Stadium Green. Participants will have the opportunity to create or join a team and work toward the community goal of raising $910,000 for brain tumor research.
Special Olympics Illinois
An automobile sales executive, Ben Ripstein has served as president of Midwest Motors, Inc., since 2009. A committed community volunteer, Ben Ripstein is an active supporter of Special Olympics Illinois.
Special Olympics Illinois recently announced the appointment of MAKE Corporation CEO Karen Wilson to its board of directors. She will also serve on the organization’s development committee. She has previous experience with Special Olympics Illinois, serving as co-chair and then chair of the Inspire Greatness Gala in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
MAKE Corporation maintains offices in Dallas and Chicago. Beginning as a partner in 2002, Wilson would go on to purchase the company a decade later and has overseen its successful growth as a leading provider in the professional services and staffing industry.
Her other board experience includes an appointment to the board of directors for TechServe Alliance for the past eight years, in addition to her role with VMS Professionals as its board president.
Childhood Cancer STAR Act
As owner of Midwest Motors, Inc., Ben Ripstein is responsible for purchasing cars and overseeing all business obligations. Aside from owning a business, Ben Ripstein is involved in nonprofit organizations such as the American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA).
According to the ABTA, almost 16,000 children between birth and age 19 receive a cancer diagnosis each year. Despite being rare, brain tumors are the most diagnosed form of solid tumors in children who are younger than 15 years of age. Childhood brain tumors develop and behave differently than brain tumors in adults, which makes research on behalf of stricken children and young people critical. The Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research (STAR) Act, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in December 2016, will further research into pediatric cancers and brain tumors.
The STAR Act aims to improve the quality of life and chances of survival of children who are living with cancer, improve communication among providers so they can better provide for patients, and develop new models of care for childhood cancer survivors.
Special Olympics Illinois
An automobile sales executive by profession, Ben Ripstein upholds a dedication to sharing his resources with the community. Ben Ripstein stands out as an active supporter of Special Olympics Illinois, which sponsors the Young Athletes program.
Special Olympics Illinois offers the Young Athletes program to children aged 2 years to 7 years. Participation is open to children with intellectual disabilities as well as to their peers, so that all children can have the opportunity to strengthen their bodies and develop motor skills. Participants also work on developing cognitive and social skills, while learning about the Special Olympics organization and the benefits that it provides to athletes.
Young Athletes leaders begin by teaching foundational coordination and motor tracking skills. Athletes develop gross motor control in walking, running, jumping, and balancing, as well as the ability to throw, catch, kick, and otherwise manipulate sports equipment. Once the athletes have refined these skills, they learn to apply them in the context of races and other developmentally appropriate sports games.
Children who graduate from the Young Athletes program then have the opportunity to transition into standard Special Olympics activities. These activities allow the athletes to further develop their abilities as well as their confidence and sense of belonging in the world of sports.
Midwest Motors Inc
In 2009, Ben Ripstein launched Midwest Motors Inc., an auto dealership with a comprehensive selection of vehicles, including luxury, exotic, and classic cars. A focal point of the multilevel dealership is a unique working birdcage elevator, an original feature of the furniture store that that was there before Ben Ripstein repurposed the building.
In the late 1880s and early 1900s, Otis Lifts, regarded as the world’s largest elevator manufacturer, introduced a birdcage elevator. Innovative in style and system, the birdcage lift was the company’s first safety elevator powered by electricity. Prior to this model, water or steam served as the power source of Otis lifts. This new electric elevator operated with a manual handle system.
The descriptor “birdcage” comes from the 360 degree view the lift offers its passengers. Typically made of metal, birdcage cars may be either round or square in shape, and are characterized by their highly ornate, art nouveau style. Newer birdcage elevators have the addition of glass panels in the enclosure to provide extra safety.