From Our Blog

Adidas & Ascots: Effective Leadership Comes in Many Styles

By Dawne Bear Novicoff on March 22nd, 2017

Since November, I have been consumed with the stories of one of the most dramatic and confusing leadership transitions in our country’s history—filled with sordid tales and accusations of wiretaps and secret alliances.  Just days before President Trump assumed his place in the White House, we at the Jim Joseph Foundation experienced our own leadership transition as founding Executive Director Chip Edelsberg stepped down after 11 years of service. Unlike the staffers in the white house, we did not have to pack up our boxes and vacate the premises prior to moving day for the new administration.  Rather, my colleagues at the Foundation and I sat in the front seat and watched closely as the 18-month transition unfolded and came ...More

A Special Spirit at the Summit

By Chip Edelsberg on March 2nd, 2016

As readers of this blog, you are likely aware that the Jim Joseph Foundation Board has selected Barry Finestone to be the Foundation’s President and CEO. I am excited for Barry; for the Foundation Board of Directors and staff; and for stakeholders in the excellence of Jewish education. In preparation for the transition, I took a number of steps to bolster the organizational structure of the Foundation. Most important among these moves is expanded management responsibilities for various professional personnel: in supervising and talent management for Assistant Director Dawne Bear Novicoff; in Foundation strategizing for Josh Miller, promoted to Program Director; in grantmaking responsibilities for Stacie Cherner, promoted to Senior Program Director; and Steven Green, whose relations with grantees in a ...More

Exploring a Leadership Investment Strategy

By Seth Linden on February 22nd, 2016

“The children are the curriculum.” I read this quote on the wall of Ezra’s parent-teacher conference room, nodding in agreement and feeling grateful that my personal and professional lives have become so seamlessly intertwined.  In just over four months as a Program Officer for the Jim Joseph Foundation, I’ve become increasingly excited about how this new role combines my passions for education, philanthropy, and Judaism. I was raised by a family of educators; my brother, both parents, and several aunts and uncles teach (or used to teach) at the early childhood through graduate levels. I arrived at the Foundation after nearly 20 years in education myself—first as a high school math and science teacher, then as a social entrepreneur co-founding and ...More

Jewish communal organizations and the leadership pipeline

By Chip Edelsberg on May 2nd, 2014

The Jim Joseph Foundation has carefully followed discussions on the so-called “Leadership Pipeline” that have unfolded the past few years. The Foundation’s participation in many of these conversations is motivated by its own experiences with Jim Joseph Foundation grantees. Ten of the Foundation’s recent grantees, for example, have experienced turnover in their chief executive position in the past 18 months. Not a single new leader of these organizations reports having had a formal training experience preparing her or him specifically to assume leadership of a Jewish communal organization. Precious few of these CEOs benefit from a formal on-boarding process. In its first nine years of grantmaking, the Jim Joseph Foundation has not dedicated philanthropic resources to talent or leadership development, per ...More

The Jim Joseph Foundation invests in promising Jewish education grant initiatives. We partner with effective organizations that seek to inspire young people to discover the joy of living vibrant Jewish lives.