Interviewed and written by Aaron Robinson [IG @iamcomprehend]
When Grammy nominated music producer Donahue Baker invested in real estate, it not only changed his life for the better but for others around him as well. Today, as a successful Real Estate Developer, C.P.A., Generational Wealth Motivator, and founding member of Inner Circle, LLC, he not only owns over 500 residential and commercial rentals nationwide, but also travels around the country to share his inspiring and powerful story changing the lives of many entrepreneurs and providing real estate opportunities to many people. He discusses more of this in his new book “Generational Wealth: That’s the Key”.
When it comes to real estate developing, Donahue is also working with Ras Baraka, the mayor of New Jersey. He is passionate about his community and is involved in many initiatives, supporting many causes that make a change and difference in society. As the world is being affected by Covid-19 (Corona virus), to help battle the Corvid-19 pandemic, Donahue partnered with the iconic hip hop group Naughty by Nature to donate 10,000 surgical masks to help front-line healthcare workers providing aide for those individuals heavily affected by the virus. These donations of supplies are made to hospitals in Newark and East Orange and to an Irvington senior care facility in New, Jersey.
I had the opportunity to interview Donahue Baker. Here is what he had to share with the readers regarding generational wealth, latest happenings and community efforts.
Aaron Robinson: I want thank you for taking the time to do this interview. I love what you are doing.
Donahue Baker: Thank you. I really appreciate the opportunity.
Aaron: You were once a Grammy nominated music producer. What made you change career paths to now being a real estate mogul?
Donahue: With my first huge check, I had the opportunity to go out and buy a car and do other things. The journey was so long at that time. Whatever I spent the money on, I wanted to buy something that was going to pay me. That’s how I ended up in real estate. I wanted to buy something that I could say, ‘every single month I’m going to have income coming in.’ As oppose to the music industry, it was work, work, work, work. We would have to wait until the record gets released. It would take 6 months after the release, after we had put almost a year’s worth of work into it, to really get paid and compensated. Furthermore, we didn’t know whether that record or that song was going to be a hit. You really don’t know; it’s like a child. You work hard on making a child, and then when the child is birthed, you don’t know if that child is going to be the President of the United States or if that child is going to be someone that is going to be homeless. So, you just have to make the baby and put it out there to the world. It was very transparent that real estate was very different. I can basically create my own path and create my own destiny. That’s why I became so passionate about real estate.
Aaron: Oh, nice! And I love your purpose as you are willing to go out to educate and enlighten the masses about generational wealth. What motivated you to want to help people?
Donahue: Growing up, my dad use to tell me all the time, “Whatever you want to do in life, you are going to need people.” One thing I have always been passionate about in life is building teams – helping people get to the next level of their life. The only thing separating you and the life you want to lead is knowledge and know-how. I paved generational wealth by purchasing real estate and I saw how it affected my life. The first thing I wanted to do for the people I love and care about is to get them involved too. I wanted to get that life for them, where they wouldn’t have to worry about being at a job that they hate or they wouldn’t have to worry about ever being homeless. Some people are like, in the back of their mind saying, “I gotta go to work or else I’m going to be homeless.” Imagine if you could just remove that thought. You don’t ever have to worry about being homeless if you own some real estate that pays you every single month.
Aaron: When it comes to creating wealth, what do you believe is the single most important key factor or first step to take to gain wealth?
Donahue: The first step is mentality…the mentality that we have. They say at about seven years old we are programmed. It’s like, if you grew up in a poor family you are programmed all along to think poor. In a rich family you are programmed most of your life to expect that when you grow up you are going to be rich. The programming that you get from the first seven years of your life that is programmed to your subconscious mind is a lot of the time what makes us poor. We’re programmed to think well, “we are not good enough, or we can never have x, y, z, or, this is too expensive.” We don’t come from an abundance mentality; we come from a mentality that if we grew up poor we have to hoard things and we can’t share things. It’s not going to be for everybody. I try to tell people, if you want to create generational wealth, the very first step you have to do is start to change your mentality. The very first thing that you should be doing is eliminating the need for the biggest expense in your life – it’s probably your rent or your mortgage. You have to get the real estate to pay that. There are a number of different strategies that I tell and show people, but eliminating that is the first step. Once you can do that you’ll be surprised of the pressure that is relieved off of you. Mentally your mind is free and you can go wherever you want to go. You start to think bigger! You start to say, well look, I just bought a two or three unit and I made it to live rent free. You know, what about this twenty unit apartment, thirty unit, forty unit, and hundred unit apartment complex. This is what I was able to do when I was able to remove the threat of possibly being homeless.
Aaron: Speaking of apartments, you now own 500 residential and commercial rentals. What type of accomplishment is that for you, from when you first started real estate to where you are at now?
Donahue: It’s such a great accomplishment! Right now, it basically allowed me to be a multi-millionaire. It allowed me to basically create wealth, not just for myself but also I have a two year old son. Because of what I‘ve been able to accomplish, my son, all he has to do is want to be a part of this business and this team. It’s generational wealth. He has his own real estate that pays for his living expenses right now and for the rest of his life as long as he can basically keep the tenants in there happy and can get them what they want. It’s as simple as that. That is generational wealth in a nutshell, it’s doing something one time for you that is a sacrifice that allows it to go from generation to generation.
Aaron: Regarding generational wealth, I know that you are doing some endeavors with Ras Baraka, New Jersey’s Mayor. Would you like to tell us a little about that?
Donahue: Mayor Ras Baraka, who is the mayor of Newark, New Jersey, is trying to get an initiative for his city to have homeowners – people that take pride in their neighborhood and those that were starting to turn whole neighborhoods around in Newark, New Jersey. He tapped me and asked me to speak to his constituents in his community. I’ve been a big investor in Newark. What we are doing is working on making Newark gentrified in the sense that we own, and we’re a part of the gentrification process. We take ownership because we have a lot of units. We’re renovating blocks at a time in Newark. Newark is in a unique position because they have great schools, they have Rutgers, they have a large number of a well-educated population, they have workers that are cheap, they have an airport, and the rent and taxes are low compared to the rest of New Jersey. It’s a great place to go and build.
Aaron: You are active in many non-profit and social organizations. Would you like to tell us how you got involved in those initiatives?
Donahue: I’ve been a proponent of taking care of our planet. I’ve been involved in the green space and in the proponent of solar. I’m actually building the first passive house right here in Central New Jersey. That’s a unique thing. It’s a building that’s going to be run completely on natural elements. I don’t need any type of utility companies to power my house. I basically can get energy through sunlight solar. If you dig 30 feet under the ground, it’s a heat source. These are the things that I’ve been a big proponent of. I’ve supported organizations and causes that also protect the earth. It’s a part of my lifestyle. I drive a Tesla, a fully electrical vehicle, and my house has been all solar.
Aaron: You have accomplished many achievements in your lifetime. If you would like to share, what are some of your future plans or what are some other things that you would like to accomplish in the future?
Donahue: One of the key things that I would like to accomplish is create more minority, and in particular, black developers. That’s the initiative that I’ve been working on. On the real estate level you have people that know a lot about their own community. These are predominantly minority communities. When it comes to the development side – to be honest with you, when I’m in meetings and when I’m trying to get development pictures, or I’m posing something for a new project or something is out for bid, I don’t see any minorities. I don’t see any people that look like me, and these are minority communities. Why shouldn’t we have some input from minority developers? So I’ve been speaking all across the country in majority minority cities to encourage more minority developers and then provide resources for them. What we will do is help them, not only get the education and network, but also fund their deals. So that’s one of the things that I’ve set up. The primary goal is to help minority developers fund real estate deals, whether they have an opportunity or they see a vision and they need help. We will help them craft the vision, but we will also help fund 100 percent of their deals. They will remain in the deal as well, but we will joint venture and develop the deal together.
Aaron: With your background, while growing up, were you already in a household where your parents were well-off or were you all living in poverty?
Donahue: I grew up in affordable housing projects. My mom and dad divorced when I was very young. We grew up in the projects. That’s basically what it was. A part of my story is, I grew up in affordable housing projects and now I own affordable housing complexes. I understand what it’s like to grow up in an environment where you really have to depend on other people and other institutions for resources. I’ve been there. I try to provide a better living environment than where I came from. That’s pretty much the story.
Aaron: Wow that’s amazing! Would you like to add anything else before we conclude the interview?
Donahue: One of the big things that I would really love to get out there is that I just completed a book and the book is entitled “Generational Wealth: That’s the Key”. In that book I basically give you a blueprint to start the process of creating generational wealth. It’s something that I put a lot of time, energy and effort into. It’s knowledge upon knowledge…it’s about the process of creating generational wealth.
Aaron: I want to thank you again for taking out the time to pursue this interview. It has been a blessing and honor talking with you. This has been a very inspiring interview. I appreciate it!
Donahue: Thank you for the time, I really appreciate it brother!
For more information on Donahue Baker, please visit:
Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChzlHa7Da5Al15m3GvZpMFA
Email: [email protected]
Last modified: June 27, 2023