The San Francisco-based Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund has announced that Joy Sisisky will act as interim CEO as the organization seeks a replacement for current CEO Danny Grossman, who will step down on December 31.
“Doing our job now to put the organization in place for success and a new permanent CEO is really important, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be able to help do that,” Sisisky told J.
Sisisky, 45, is the Federation’s director of philanthropy, overseeing the organization’s large charitable giving arm since 2016. His appointment as interim CEO was unanimous among the 29 members of the Board of Directors. ‘administration.
When asked why she thought the board turned to her to lead the organization throughout the transition, she highlighted her history within the organization.
“I have been very deeply involved at a strategic level in many decisions and conversations at the Federation since I have been here,” she said. “And I think I can offer a firm hand in the day-to-day work.”
In 2020, she managed the boom in Federation grant making to support organizations during the pandemic, during which Federation managed funds and supporting foundations awarded grants of $ 180.8 million. dollars, up more than $ 5 million from the previous year.
“Through all of our giving channels – the endowment, the donor advised funds – we have distributed almost $ 200 million in grants,” Sisisky told J. when she was profiled by J. in October.
Sisisky said these needs will continue to be a priority for the Federation.
“The response to Covid continues to be of immediate concern in the community, and we continue to provide grants,” she said. “In the spring, we conducted a needs assessment to help identify some of the challenges our community faces, particularly with regards to the mental health and financial sustainability of our organizations.”
A native of Richmond, Virginia, Sisisky is the granddaughter of Norman Sisisky, the first Jewish Virginian to serve in Congress. She holds a BA in Near Eastern and Judaism Studies and Politics from Brandeis University, and went on to earn two MAs, including one in Jewish Community Service from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles.
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She made her professional debut at AIPAC and then worked for the Joint Distribution Committee, which helps remote Jewish communities around the world. As a fellow of the JDC’s Ralph I. Goldman Fellowship in International Jewish Community Service, she has lived and worked in Ukraine and Ethiopia, experiences she describes as “transformational and life-changing.”
Sisisky also worked for the Jewish Federations of North America (then known as the United Jewish Communities), running the Lion of Judah Endowment, through which philanthropists create charities over $ 100,000 to help the community. Jewish. Prior to joining the SF-based Federation, she was Executive Director of the New York Jewish Women’s Foundation for eight years.
She said her focus on development and donor relations will continue as she takes on the role of interim CEO.
“I will continue to nurture and develop the relationships that I have,” she said. “I’m our primary fundraiser in my role as Director of Philanthropy, and it’s part of the job of CEO, interim or permanent, so I’m looking forward to expanding some of these relationships. “
Sisisky said the Federation is approaching its busiest time of the year, as the end of the calendar year is when many donor-advised funds tend to give out grants – up to two-thirds of the time. grants for the year, she said.
With the announcement of his appointment on Tuesday, November 30, when nonprofits nationwide push for donations, the decision to appoint a philanthropy expert to the CEO’s office seems appropriate.
“It’s a beautiful coincidence that we’re at Giving Tuesday today, and we’re also in the middle of Chanukah,” said Kerry Philp, senior director of marketing and communications. “I am grateful to Joy for giving her leadership to our organization at a time of transition like this. “
The Federation Board of Directors established a search committee and hired the company Isaacson, Miller to lead the search for the next Federation CEO. The company, based in Boston with an office in San Francisco, is known for hiring high-profile university executives and large nonprofits, and, according to its website, has “increasingly diverse leadership in our client organizations with over 58% of our placements being women and / or people of color. According to Philp, the board hopes to have a new CEO announced by July 1.
In the meantime, Sisisky has said she will be fully committed to leading the organization.
“I am fully dedicated to this job, I still do it,” she said. “Mentally, physically, in all ways. Spiritually. And I am grounded in my Judaism and will continue to use it as a guide in my work.