Full Time

Chief Executive Officer, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit

Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit 6735 Telegraph Rd #30, Bloomfield Hills MI

Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit

Chief Executive Officer

Detroit, Michigan


About the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit (JFMD)


Founded in 1899, the United Jewish Charities (UJC) was the central communal organization of Detroit’s Jewish community, upholding the tradition of Kol yisrael arevim zeh bazeh, the principle that all Jews are responsible for one another. In 1926, serving a Jewish population of 40,000 individuals, the UJC reorganized to meet the growing fundraising and planning needs of the community and Detroit’s Jewish Welfare Federation was established.


Nearly a century later, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit (JFMD) remains the cornerstone of the Detroit Jewish Community. As the principle engine of Jewish philanthropy and planning in the Detroit area, JFMD works in partnership with its network of agencies to reach and serve the needs of people at every age and stage of life in the Jewish community.


Locally, JFMD supports a family of 17 social service agencies, community organizations and day schools across Metro Detroit. Working with its national and global partners, JFMD positively impacts the lives of thousands of Jews throughout Israel, in the Former Soviet Union and in 60 countries around the world.


Through the Annual Campaign, JFMD raises and allocates funds to its partner agencies to provide critical assistance to those in need, including individuals and families, seniors, people with disabilities, and the unemployed. The 2019 revenue includes an Annual Campaign of $33.9 million, an additional $3.1 million Challenge Fund, endowments and other income totaling $100 million. JFMD has also raised $240 million over the last 5 years through its Centennial Fund Campaign, creating endowments to help sustain the community for future generations.


JFMD works in tandem with the United Jewish Foundation (UJF), its fiduciary partner, which manages and safeguards the assets of the Jewish community including its real estate and endowments. While JFMD and UJF each have a President and their own Executive Committee, their Boards meet together and each is supported by the same professional staff.


Today, JFMD is known throughout the Jewish world for its innovative and groundbreaking approaches. NEXTGen Detroit, created in 2013 with the goal of transforming the local landscape for young Jewish Detroiters, has been replicated in cities throughout North America. More recently, initiatives such as JHELP (a central community address for social services), We Need to Talk (a program to confront the crisis in youth mental health) and JLIFE (an in-progress digital platform for Jewish engagement) have all leveraged a user-centric and collaborative model for addressing the challenges facing modern communities.


JFMD is deeply committed to supporting Israel.  JFMD works to support their Israel partners and strengthen the Detroit Jewish community’s connection to Israel. In particular, JFMD enjoys a strong relationship with the people in the Partnership Region located in the Central Galilee of Israel.


The Mission of JFMD


The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit is committed to taking care of the needs of the Jewish people and building a vibrant Jewish future in Detroit, in Israel and around the world.


JFMD focuses on:


Building Jewish Community

Through the work of their partners, as well as through direct service programming, JFMD builds and sustains Jewish Community. JFMD is the community’s leader in Jewish engagement and, in particular, has led a revitalization of young adult engagement in the Detroit area. JFMD continuously seeks ways to be more inclusive and to respond to the ever- changing needs of the community.


Strengthening Jewish Identity

JFMD supports Jewish education, culture, heritage and other essential ingredients of individual and collective Jewish Identity. This includes support for congregational education programs and Jewish day schools in metro Detroit, as well as numerous missions to Israel annually for different age groups and segments of the community, Jewish camping and other experiences.


Growing Jewish Philanthropy

Support for the Annual Campaign and other fundraising vehicles is essential for building and maintaining a strong Jewish community. This means providing for the most vulnerable individuals including seniors, the unemployed, persons with special needs and families experiencing crises. JFMD’s fundraising continuously strives to ensure that no one will be denied services.




About the Detroit Jewish Community


Detroit’s organized Jewish community began in 1850 with just 12 families and today is a vibrant community of 72,000 people. Detroit is home to nearly 40 synagogues, thriving Jewish day schools and yeshivas, a community center that is a hub for Jewish learning, and overnight and day camps that foster Jewish identity. In addition to its many service organizations, the Detroit Jewish community is forward-thinking, with programs for social justice, food sustainability, human rights, and advocacy, while also valuing its rich history and legacy. As downtown Detroit has revitalized into an exciting center for new buildings, restaurants, and entertainment, there is a resurgence of Jewish life in the city and influx of Jews under the age of forty. For its innovation, passion and generosity, the Detroit Jewish community is a model throughout the world.





Position Summary


Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit seeks a strategic leader with a vision for Jewish community and Jewish life, and the ability to build relationships throughout the community by sharing this vision in a compelling and meaningful way. This is a unique opportunity for a professional to lead an organization where relationships with the community agencies are strong, where the Jewish community’s Foundation, UJF, works in partnership with JFMD, and where the community of lay leaders is committed to supporting its high performing professional team. The Jewish community of Metropolitan Detroit has had a deep and strong culture of philanthropy and is committed to guiding a new CEO through a smooth transition to continue to build and develop this prestigious community.



Engagement of donors will be the highest priority for the new CEO. The CEO must be able to manage a portfolio of the community’s leading donors by stewarding relationships with people at all levels of engagement. This includes maintaining and stewarding relationships with current and prospective donors, community foundations, and with donors from multi-generational families who have been the historical foundation of JFMD's support.


The new CEO will also assume responsibility for leading a high performing professional staff who have ranked JFMD with very high scores as a “great place to work.” Managing a senior team from diverse backgrounds, the CEO will also be the professional executive with oversight of the United Jewish Foundation of Detroit, which has nearly $700 million in assets.


The CEO must be a community leader who will develop relationships with agencies, organizations, day schools, synagogues and other professionals in the community, with the goal of building on the collaborative and innovative ethos with which JFMD leads.  The new CEO will be a results-driven leader and, accordingly, prioritize, maintain, and expand existing programs to increase opportunities for community members to engage and strengthen connections to Jewish life. While continuing to steward philanthropic advancement and to deepen Jewish knowledge, the CEO is a key leader of the Jewish community and plays an integral role in ensuring Detroit’s Jewish communal values endure.


Key Responsibilities



Leadership & Executive Management

  • Build and articulate a vision and direction for JFMD that engages and energizes the entire Jewish community.

Provide visionary and strategic leadership to the Boards, staff (110 FTEs) and the community. Assess the current landscape and develop a plan to continue to position JFMD as a central leader in the Metropolitan Detroit philanthropic community.

  • Nourish an organizational culture that will continue to support growth, innovation and change. Provide on- going direction, inspiration and support of JFMD professionals. Set, foster and model a positive and collaborative environment within the organization.
  • Work closely with the volunteer leadership and staff responsible for finance and administration, ensuring that fiscal oversight and management is in place for JFMD. Regularly evaluate the management and status of all financial resources and procedures.
  • Recruit, develop and retain top talent, building high-functioning teams and robust systems, processes and practices. Ensure that JFMD’s human resources, operations, data platforms and technology are aligned to meet its goals and expectations effectively.
  • Oversee the Board committee and staff process for developing JFMD’s $13.8 million annual budget.



Community Impact

  • Deepen and strengthen the culture of cooperation both within JFMD and with its local agencies, synagogues and other organizations throughout the Metropolitan Detroit area.
  • Enhance Detroit’s deep commitment to Israel and the Partnership Region in the Central Galilee. Continue to support the three major overseas agencies.
  • Drive increased engagement through impactful programming in NEXTGen, Women’s Philanthropy, and Affinities to expand JFMD footprint in the Community.
  • Build JFMD’s role as a resource, convener and a facilitator of strategic partnerships, programs and initiatives.
  • Serve as a primary spokesperson for JFMD, along with the two lay Board Presidents, throughout the Jewish and the Metropolitan Detroit community, with private and public funders and with national and international organizations, partners and beneficiaries.
  • Ensure that JFMD’s story, message and positions are effectively communicated and disseminated to the Jewish and general community.
  • Serve as a visible representative of JFMD (together with other staff and leadership) in the religious, cultural and social activities of the community.




  • Lead the professional team responsible for planning and executing financial resource development within the community, with emphasis on developing effective strategies to increase both the Annual Campaign and the number of donors, diversify the donor base, and develop the next generation of donors.
  • Be personally active in building relationships with major donors, including the community’s multi- generational families, and soliciting these major contributors to the annual campaign, designated campaign and endowment funds.
  • Establish and implement data driven systems and structure to guide JFMD and the community enabling them to respond to, thrive, and understand the shifts and real time demographics within the world of charitable giving and within a changing Federation world.



Board Development

  • Work with JFMD’s Board of Governors and UJF’s Board of Directors (Boards) and their current, future and past Board Presidents and the Board Executive Committees to develop short and long-term strategies for engaging and cultivating future lay leadership for JFMD.
  • Serve as professional advisor and resource to the Boards in all areas of finance, policy, programs and governance.
  • Work with the Boards to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to build agreement on issues, maximize their efforts and maintain a focus on the mission of JFMD.
  • Work with Board leadership to cultivate, recruit, and retain effective placement of, and maintain relationships with, top lay leadership and leadership prospects.


Personal Characteristics

  • Executive presence. High emotional intelligence.
  • Personable, relatable, relationship and consensus builder.
  • Authentic. Demonstrates the highest level of integrity.
  • Principled, courageous and centered leader.
  • Strategic visionary.
  • Sound judgement. Trustworthy.
  • Deep love and commitment to the Jewish people, Jewish life, and Jewish values.
  • Understands Jewish culture, traditions and life cycles.
  • Passionate about building the Jewish community and support of Israel.
  • Understands what role Federation plays in the larger community, in Israel and around the world.
  • Curious lifelong learner.
  • Innovator - honors what is working yet pushes new models. Risk taker.
  • Developer of people as well as ideas – knows how to bring people along.




The CEO candidate must have/be:

  • A significant track record of fundraising success, a proven capacity to build trusting relationships with major donors and their families and the ability to monetize those relationships. S/he must be able to sharpen and articulate the vision of JFMD, and can communicate his/her ideas, experience and knowledge in a manner that is engaging and compelling.
  • A skilled organizational leader who will provide leadership to JFMD staff and the Boards. The CEO must be an experienced manager, able to build and lead a staff of professionals in varied fields. S/he must have substantive experience working closely with Boards as an advisor, partner and liaison. The CEO must have the skills to support and manage the work of the Boards and their committees and to ensure both good governance and meaningful volunteer leadership opportunities.
  • Prior finance experience and a deep understanding of fiscal oversight and the fiduciary responsibility that the CEO has for the combined organizations.
  • A strong and persuasive communicator, internally and externally. As a senior community professional, s/he will serve as a convener and bridge-builder who will work to foster dialogue and planning community-wide. The CEO must be able to present complex issues clearly and effectively as to build consensus around plans of action.
  • The skills and experience required to lead a complex institution that operates within an ever-changing organizational and communal environment. An important responsibility of the new CEO is to maintain and grow an inspired team of professionals and lead them through changes in JFMD’s vision, priorities and operations. S/he will continue to grow an already strong workplace culture that maximizes the skills and passions of the professional staff in their work with volunteers and the community.
  • Able to lead JFMD in developing strategies to adapt to an ever-changing philanthropic landscape. CEO candidates will have extensive experience in balancing the responsibilities of organization management with the external responsibilities of community development, relationship-building, and work with key stakeholders.
  • Experience supervising and directing senior team members who, in partnership with the CEO, are responsible for day-to-day operations, program administration and finance.
  • Understand organizational and political aspects of Jewish life locally, nationally and internationally and have demonstrated the ability to effectively engage and impact those systems and processes.
  • The CEO must model and command respect throughout all segments of a diverse Jewish community.




This position description is based upon material provided by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, an equal opportunity employer.


Dara Klarfeld, Chief Executive Officer

Ami Abramson, Chief Strategy Officer

Sarah Raful Whinston, Senior Search Consultant


To apply to this position please visit www.DRGsearch.com