The Looming Talent Deficit

Storm clouds are gathering across the North American nonprofit landscape. And as each day passes we are one step closer to the inevitable. The approaching storm is not limited to the Jewish communal world; but unlike in Pharaoh’s time, it will not pass us by.

I refer to the impending crisis as Baby Boomers (and those older!) begin to move into the next stage of their professional and personal lives and relinquish long-held executive, and lay, positions.

As a community we are woefully unprepared. In the past we have often swept the problem ‘under the rug’ – to be dealt with at some undefined future time.

The necessary cost-cutting of the past several years has only exasperated the problem.

Yes, some organizations/communities are in reasonable shape with talent pipelines, succession plans and more, but overall the Jewish world operates with blinders on this important issue.

Perhaps, this is why Rabbi Louis Feldstein’s article [on the appointment of a new CEO for the Jewish Federation of St. Louis] has generated such significant discussion, both online and off. We are finally coming to the realization that a finger in the dam will not halt the inevitable flood.

At eJewish Philanthropy, we believe leadership development is one of the most important current issues on the collective communal agenda and will be devoting even more space to the subject going forward. No one path is correct for every organization. But the topic itself belongs at the top of the agenda for all, from the smallest local based nonprofit to the largest national/global organizations.

Our aim, as always, is “to create dialogue and advance the conversation.”


To continue the discussion sparked by Rabbi Feldstein, eJP invited JFNA’s CEO Jerry Silverman to share his thoughts on this important subject. You can also find submissions from others here.

We also call your attention to several related articles we have recently published: