Can powerful leadership change the world? Does a Jewish lens for leadership alter the way we effect change?
The Lucius N. Littauer Foundation has long held a commitment to social welfare and Jewish communal life. Through philanthropy, the Foundation promotes "the improvement of society so that the sum total of human welfare and wisdom may be increased,” as stated by Lucius N. Littauer, founder. Working with AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps, the Littauer Foundation is exercising Jewish leadership with the bold goal of alleviating poverty.By engaging and training leaders interested in tikkun olam (repairing the world), the Littauer Foundation and AVODAH are working together to support leaders for social change whose work is anchored in Jewish values.
Join us for a conversation with these two organizations to learn about the landscape of poverty across the US, and about how philanthropy and Jewish leadership can effect positive change in this arena.
Alan Divack is Program Director of The Lucius N. Littauer Foundation, a private foundation based in New York City. He is responsible for the full range of program operations of the Foundation, which works in NYC and Israel in the areas of education and workforce, Jewish communal life, and libraries and archives. Before joining the Foundation, Alan worked as a Project Manager at the Ford Foundation International Fellowships program, and as a development consultant. He spent much of his career before that at the Ford Foundation, working in archives, research and program.
Cheryl Cook has twenty five years of experience as a leader, manager, fundraiser and program planner in the Jewish community. At the beginning of 2015, she joined AVODAH as Executive Director, and has been excited to be a part of AVODAH’s work of building leadership capacity for the Jewish and social justice communities. Before joining AVODAH, she was COO at Hazon, helping Hazon grow from a small national organization with 6 staff and a $650K budget in one city to a much larger organization with close to 80 staff, a budget that is over $8 million, and bases in 8 cities. She has worked across the innovative sector of the Jewish community: at Makor, New Israel Fund, JESNA, Hillel and the 92nd Street Y. Cheryl is passionate about creating a vibrant Jewish community that opens doors, engages people from across all backgrounds and plays a significant role in making the world a more just and caring place for everyone.
Suzanne Feinspan is the Deputy Director at AVODAH, an organization which develops and engages a network of Jewish leaders fighting poverty and promoting social justice in the United States. Suzanne got her start as a Jewish social justice activist when she participated in AVODAH’s Jewish Service Corps in 2003 in Washington, DC. She returned to AVODAH as a staff member in 2007, initially running the DC Jewish Service Corps, then serving in a variety of national programmatic and managerial roles, including as Acting Executive Director this past year.
Jessica Schaffer (AVODAH alumna) is the Director of HIAS Chicago, where she oversees a team providing services to diverse immigrant and refugee communities. Jessica previously led student service learning and adult global justice fellowship programs with American Jewish World Service. From 2012 until early 2015, Jessica worked as the Safer Communities Project Coordinator at Jewish Child and Family Services, where she developed a comprehensive abuse prevention program that communities around the country have looked to as a model. Her worked earned her the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago's Samuel A. Goldsmith Award for young leadership in September 2014.