Barry Finestone Named Incoming President and CEO of the Jim Joseph Foundation

February 17th, 2016

Effective January 1, 2017, Finestone to Lead SF-based Foundation Committed to Jewish Education

San Francisco, CA – The San Francisco-based Jim Joseph Foundation today announced that Barry Finestone will become its President and CEO effective January 1, 2017. Founded in 2006, the Foundation has awarded more than $400 million in grants to foster compelling, effective Jewish education for youth, teens, and young adults in the United States. Finestone will assume this role as Chip Edelsberg, the Foundation’s first executive director, steps down.

 “I watched admiringly over the last ten years as the Jim Joseph Foundation built deep relationships with grantees and other funders in support of Jewish education,” says Barry Finestone, incoming President and CEO of the Jim Joseph Foundation. “With the support of the Board of Directors, Chip Edelsberg and the talented professional team advanced the Foundation from infancy to the beginning of ‘foundation adulthood.’ Now I welcome the great responsibility to pursue the vision of Jim Joseph, z”l, to have more young Jews engaging in Jewish learning and living vibrant Jewish lives.”

A Scottish native with 25 years of experience in the Jewish nonprofit world, Finestone will be the Foundation’s first President and CEO. He currently is the executive director of the Lisa and John Pritzker Family Fund. Previously, Finestone was executive director of the JCC of San Francisco, which he built into the second largest JCC in the country. He also served as executive director of the Isaac M. Wise Temple in Cincinnati from 1999 to 2005 and as a residential camp director in the Young Judaea youth movement in the 1990’s. He holds a degree in Community Education from Jordanhill College in Glasgow, Scotland. Finestone and his wife, Ellen, have three children—Gabrielle, Ethan and Mia.

“Barry’s experience at a wide range of Jewish organizations—from a funder, to a JCC, to a synagogue, to a camp—gives him a unique perspective on Jewish life today,” says Al Levitt, President of the Board of Directors of the Jim Joseph Foundation. “Wherever he’s been, he demonstrated leadership and innovation that achieved success. We are fortunate to have him as incoming President and CEO.”

Over the previous ten years the Jim Joseph Foundation awarded numerous multi-year large grants with a guiding principle that Jewish education occurs in a variety of settings. The Foundation also became known for its strong commitment to evaluation and assessment of grants. Edelsberg will remain in the fields of philanthropy and Jewish education as a consultant.

With regards to the transition, Levitt adds, “Chip’s leadership during the past ten years has been important to the Foundation’s success and its contributions to the field of Jewish education. Barry’s singular qualities and vision will help the Foundation go from strength to greater strength.”




By investing in promising Jewish education grant initiatives, the Jim Joseph Foundation seeks to foster compelling, effective Jewish learning experiences for young Jews in the United States. Established in 2006, the Jim Joseph Foundation has awarded more than $400 million in grants to engage, educate, and inspire young Jewish minds to discover the joy of living vibrant Jewish lives.