CEO Message 7/19/2019

From the desk of Stewart Bromberg

Dear Friends,

I have a lot of good news to share with you this week. As I reflect on my first year as the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, I sometimes wonder if we could have moved faster with the projects we are implementing. On many occasions I remind myself of the value of doing the right project in the right way, even if it is going to take a little longer to complete.

When I began the latest leg of my Jewish communal journey, I thought long and hard about what would help this community grow and strengthen and work towards a position of self-sustainability. The staff had stepped up to the plate to allow the organization to continue to operate and provide funding to address the community needs, but this came at a cost. The organization was understaffed and those dedicated professionals who continued to show up every day to find new responsibilities needing to be accomplished chose to take on added job duties. The more often this happens, the harder it is for an organization to implement the steps needed to improve operational efficiencies and provide better service to their constituents.

Over the past twelve months we have address some of our staffing needs. In September we welcomed Joshua Vogel to our team as the Marketing/Communications director. He has since added the duties of the CRC position to his area of responsibilities. During the month of January, we happily added two new staff members to our Rachel’s Table program. Jodi Falk became our new Director of the program and Zoe Maniaci joined us as the Teen Board Director. Just this week we have welcomed Razz Cacho as our new Rachel’s Table Gleening Coordinator. Razz brings an incredible amount of experience, in many areas, to the position, as well as a long list of community volunteer experience.

In April, Mary Mazza, after almost twelve years of working as Staff Accountant of our organization, announced her retirement effective June 28th. Mary’s dedication and loyalty will be missed as we enter a new phase of our growth. I am pleased to announce the addition of Suzanne Allen as our new Staff Accountant. With years of wonderful experience, she is working well and is already an integral part of our team.

Last July I began searching for experienced fundraising professionals to help us to join our team and build meaningful relationships with our community members. Beginning last August, I had the opportunity to meet with a few interested candidates. I was looking for someone who understands the importance of what we do. Someone who not only would have a passion for the programs and services we provide, but who would connect with our community, and possibly already live in the Pioneer Valley. The aim has been to find a person who is interested in helping people fulfill their philanthropic goals, and who is able to help people understand the options available to them to accomplish these goals. I wanted to find the right person or people to work on our team, and we have recently offered a community member the position of Development Officer.

Please join me in welcoming Nora Gorenstein to our team. Nora comes to us after four years of working with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and working on many community projects. As a member of our community she brings a unique perspective to this position and a desire to engage and work with young families, long time donors and supporters, as well as new community members, leaders and prospective contributors.

We are currently looking to find someone to work as a Development Associate to support the Federation development and The Jewish Endowment Foundation. This is a part-time position and I encourage those interested to view the job description.

In other exciting news from our office, the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts

welcomes new board member, Danny New. Danny is best known in Western Massachusetts as the host of Mass Appeal on Channel 22 WWLP, a role he’s enjoyed since May 2017. He frequently lends his time and talents to local non-profits, and has emceed two major events for us: our 2018 Donor Extravaganza, and Rachel’s Table’s 2019 Bountiful Bowls celebration. 

Danny hails from central New Jersey, and holds a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Miami. He has won awards from the Florida Associated Press, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the National Broadcasting Society. 

Ronda Parish, President of JFWM, appointed Danny to the Federation Board earlier this month. Danny’s energy, sense of humor, and deep relationship with the Western Massachusetts community will serve the Federation well, as he offers his leadership, advice, and council.

Danny and I are confident that the public feud between us–regarding who has the superior Matzo Ball recipe–will not affect our new working relationship.

Shabbat Shalom,

Stew Bromberg