The core driver to success is having the right people in the right jobs, fueling their passions, giving them the room and resources to do their job, all the while while holding them accountable.
By David Fisher
Since the inception of Taglit-Birthright Israel, the American Jewish community has heard a great deal about the phenomenal impact and success of this life-changing program. Pioneered by our founding philanthropists who generously started supporting this program over 15 years ago, Taglit-Birthright Israel is the first of its kind, an inspiring, educational journey, and a gift from one generation to the next. What you might not know is we have had more than 100,000 donors across North America supporting Birthright Israel Foundation over the last five years. Based in New York, with regional support across the country, Birthright Israel Foundation is one of three principle funding sources for the Taglit-Birthright Israel program. Funding comes from the Government of Israel, Jewish Communities in North America and around the world, as well as private philanthropists.
Our team works tirelessly throughout the year to generate support in order to send as many participants to Israel as we can. This is a job that comes with much responsibility and equal if not greater reward. When I became President at Birthright Israel Foundation in late 2012, I made it very clear that one of my goals for the organization was for us to become the best place to work within the nonprofit sector – not just the Jewish nonprofit sector. My entrepreneurial spirit and background has taught me a great deal over the years, most importantly, that the core driver to success is having the right people in the right jobs, fueling their passions, giving them the room and resources to do their job, all the while holding them accountable.
For us at Birthright Israel Foundation, this begins with professional excellence, consisting of a healthy work/life balance, a positive atmosphere, diverse and innovative talent, supported by a strong and inspiring leadership team. These ingredients contribute to a dedicated work environment, supporting a mission everyone truly believes in, and that mission is raising the necessary funds to support the Taglit-Birthright Israel program.
We are continuously growing and developing, and we are committed to taking the important steps to inspire and support our colleagues. By providing top notch benefits including generous maternity leaves and flextime based work schedules, we practice what we preach with regards to a healthy work/life balance. Our staff gathers together quarterly for interactive and inspiring staff summit meetings and we are sure to provide ample time to be social with one and other both in and out of the office to build camaraderie. We expect creativity and honesty and a dedication to working smartly and compassionately.
We are well on our way to becoming an employer of choice, with a diverse management team, where the majority of our senior leadership are women. Next year we will welcome our first Director of Talent Development to ensure that we do better than just attracting the best and the brightest in and out of the Jewish world, but retain them and help them grow with us. We recognize our talent may move on from Birthright Israel Foundation and when they do we hope they can positively reflect on their experience and say “had it not been for my time Birthright Israel Foundation…”
Not only does our team support our mission, but it brings us great pride to report that close to 25 percent of our staff have personally benefited from our work as they are Taglit-Birthright Israel alumni, uniquely contributing to this environment and adding incredible value to the innovative efforts we work on to remain relevant for the people whose lives we are touching.
We believe that in order to continue to grow the financial support from our donors so that we can continue to send tens of thousands of young adults on Taglit-Birthright Israel each year, we must create a work environment which fosters hard work and dedication and a place where people wake up excited to go every day!
Just like the Taglit-Birthright Israel program has become the leader in educational experiences in Israel, we aspire to establish Birthright Israel Foundation as a leader in the nonprofit sector, modelling a great organizational culture dedicated to its mission and its people.
David Fisher, born and raised in Cincinnati, is the current president of Birthright Israel Foundation who has also held major leadership positions within Cincinnati’s Jewish community.