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The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles has named Rabbi Aaron Lerner as its next president and chief executive officer, effective Jan. 2, 2023.
Lerner will transition from Hillel at UCLA, where he has served as executive director since 2012, and succeed Marvin I. Schotland, who has led the foundation since 1989. Schotland announced in January his intention to retire at the end of the year. The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles is the largest manager of charitable assets for L.A.-area Jewish philanthropists. Schotland will become president and CEO emeritus.
The retirement announcement set in motion a comprehensive national search for Schotland’s successor, culminating in Lerner’s selection and enabling what is expected to be a seamless leadership transition, foundation board chair Evan Schlessinger said.
“Rabbi Aaron Lerner is an energetic and dynamic nonprofit leader with a demonstrated track record of success and distinctly qualified to guide the foundation into the next generation,” Schlessinger added. “He impressed our selection committee with his deep understanding of Los Angeles Jewish life, foresight and vision, and insights into important social issues confronting our communities. He brings to this position a unique skill set: strong underpinnings of spirituality as an ordained rabbi and educator, but also an earlier career background in finance that will serve him well at the foundation. We welcome him and look forward to his stewardship of this enduring institution.”
Schlessinger also commended Schotland for his service.
“There are neither adequate superlatives nor sufficient expressions of gratitude to Marvin Schotland for the steadyhanded leadership and visionary strategic thinking, resulting in the remarkable growth achieved during his tenure,” he said. “He engenders respect and admiration from all with whom he works – staff, lay leadership, donors, grantees and advisors alike. It’s a testament to him personally as well as professionally, and he leaves a lasting legacy at the foundation.”
Under Schotland’s 33-year leadership, the institution grew from $90 million to $1.6 billion in charitable assets under management, and ranks among Los Angeles’s largest foundations. During the last decade, the foundation has distributed nearly $1 billion in grants to nonprofits locally, nationally, in Israel and around the world, including $123 million in 2021.
“Leading the foundation has been the greatest privilege of my professional life and, when I joined in 1989, never could have imagined that my role here would extend to nearly half the organization’s existence,” Schotland said. “In Aaron Lerner, though, I am confident the foundation identified the person with all the appropriate attributes for the job he’s about to assume. Through his leadership of Hillel at UCLA, he has been an inspiration for younger Jews and will bring that perspective to engagement on both the donor and grantmaking sides of the foundation. I wish Aaron great success and look forward to working closely together to affect a smooth change over.”
“I have known and long admired the pivotal role the foundation plays in fostering, strengthening and sustaining our communities – both Jewish and nonsectarian,” Lerner said. “The institution’s commitment to Jewish values alongside smart and impactful philanthropy resonates deeply with me. I am honored and humbled by my selection as its next president and CEO, and excited by the opportunity to immerse myself in the foundation’s vital work in concert with its talented management team and staff, committed lay leadership and passionate community of donors.”
For information, visit jewishfoundationla.org.
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