The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Eric D. Fingerhut, currently the president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Hillel International, as JFNA’s next president and CEO.
“For more than half a decade, the Jewish world has watched as Eric spearheaded transformational change at Hillel,” said Chair of the JFNA Board of Trustees Mark Wilf. “With a clear vision for the future of Jewish life on college campuses and universities, he took a 90-year-old organization and made it new again. We believe he can bring the same energy and imagination to Federation. He’s the right leader at the right time.”
At Hillel, Fingerhut developed groundbreaking partnerships, asserted leadership in advocacy for Israel and instituted a cultural transformation. He doubled Hillel’s collective annual revenue from $90 million to nearly $200 million. He also revolutionized the development of talent across the entire Hillel network.
Richard Sandler, chair of the JFNA CEO Search Committee and immediate past board chair of JFNA, commented:
“We were certain that someone with the intellect and stamina to serve in the Ohio State Legislature, in the U.S. Congress, as chancellor of Ohio’s preeminent higher educational system and as president and CEO of our community’s most important campus organization is well positioned to lead JFNA.”
“Eric brings more than an impressive resume,” Wilf said. “A CV can’t convey the character of a person. What did we learn about Eric through this process? We saw a man with a commitment to Jewish life and values. Humble despite his many accomplishments. Someone with a compelling vision for a Jewish future.”
“I grew up in Cleveland,” Fingerhut recounts. “My mother was a receptionist at the Federation-supported Cleveland Jewish News for 30 years. My father sold insurance. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my early life was shaped by Federation. I went to pre-school at the JCC. I vividly remember carrying signs in the walkathons standing up for Israel during the 1967 and 1973 wars.”
Fingerhut continued. “Never did I imagine that nearly a half century later, I would have the opportunity to lead a Movement that has impacted my life and so many others. It has a rich history, and I believe it can have an even more impactful future. I am excited to take on that challenge.”
JFNA represents 147 Jewish Federations and over 300 Network communities, raising and distributing more than $2 billion annually and through planned giving and endowment programs. In support of social welfare, social services and educational needs, JFNA protects and enhances the well-being of Jews worldwide, and leads in the fields of caregiving, aging, philanthropy, disability, foreign policy, homeland security and health care. JEWISHcolorado, based in Denver, is the local Jewish Federation covering Boulder.
Nearly a year ago, JFNA began working with one of the top organizational management firms in the country to develop a strategic plan for Federations and JFNA. Strategic Task Force Chair Cindy Shapira commented, “When I learned that Eric was selected by the Search Committee, it was clear that his experience and talents were a one-to-one match to JFNA’s strategic priorities. He has a demonstrated track record in instituting data-informed decision making, a record in transformative talent development, as a cultural change agent and a keen visionary on how to educate and engage the Jewish future.”
Eric is slated to begin his tenure at JFNA on August 6, 2019.