Leading Edge Report Says Healthy Future for Jewish Nonprofits Necessitates Strong Lay-Professional Partnership

Leading Edge released a report today that highlights key areas of opportunity that will enable the Jewish community to attract and retain top talent. The report, Call to Action: How Lay Leaders Can Overcome the Jewish Community’s Leadership Pipeline Challenge, outlines a number of practical steps lay leaders can take to promote progress in building stronger leadership pipelines and follows 18 months of work by its Lay Leadership Commission.

The Commission, co-chaired by Susie Gelman (Board Chair, Israel Policy Forum), Joe Kanfer (Founding Director, Lippman Kanfer Philanthropies), and Daryl Messinger (Board Chair, Union for Reform Judaism), is made up of 25 individuals from across the country with extensive experience in guiding local, national, and international organizations. Data shows that over the next five to seven years, 75 percent to 90 percent of Jewish nonprofit CEOs and other senior leaders will retire or otherwise leave the Jewish nonprofit sector. The potential implications of this exodus inspired Leading Edge to form the Lay Leadership Commission as one of its three primary program areas.

“We view the release of this report as an opportunity for lay leadership to step up to the plate,” said the Commission’s Co-Chairs. “We want to help our community glean strategies from the private and broader non-profit sectors, translate them into best practices guided by Jewish values, and deploy them in the field to build the next generation of leaders and support a vibrant Jewish community.”

The report provides recommendations for organizations in the areas of:

  • creating a great workplace culture;
  • making smart, financial investments in leadership and talent;
  • strengthening the lay-professional working relationship; and
  • building more adaptive and effective search committees for hiring CEO’s.

This second report from Leading Edge dovetails with findings from its first report, Are Jewish Organizations A Great Place to Work?. Released in September 2016, that report details the results of one of the largest surveys of Jewish nonprofit employees.

“Our Lay Leadership Commission feels strongly that modeling great leadership starts with board members and funders,” says Gali Cooks, Executive Director of Leading Edge. “If the Jewish community wants top talent, current leadership has to be willing to leverage the right resources to find it, pay for it, nurture it, and enable it to focus on the aspects that matter most.”

You can read the full report, Call to Action: How Lay Leaders Can Overcome the Jewish Community’s Leadership Pipeline Challenge, on LeadingEdge.org