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Transitions at the Jewish Community Foundation

December 18, 2017

Dear Donors, Partners and Friends,

With immense gratitude, we share the news that Michael Johnston, our CEO since 2012, is moving on from the Foundation to begin a new philanthropic endeavor. As a result, the Foundation is launching a search for a new CEO who will continue the strong legacy Michael has left the Foundation and the community at large.

I am pleased to announce the Board of Trustees has appointed Kathryn Gonnerman, currently the Director of the Foundation’s Center for Innovative Philanthropy, as the Interim President and CEO, until Michael’s permanent successor is identified.

Under Michael’s leadership and vision, the Foundation has grown and flourished to include numerous initiatives to strengthen the Greater Hartford Jewish community, including: the $45 million Aim Chai Endowment Campaign which introduced a new culture of collaboration across the community, the new Center for Innovative Philanthropy, the JMAP community-wide study, a 40% growth in assets from $82 million to a current level of $115 million, and more.

A search committee has been assembled to lead the process of identifying a new leader who embodies the Foundation’s values. David Miller, former Board Chair, will head the committee comprised of seven individuals. We estimate the search process will take 6-9 months.

Michael was presented with a once in a lifetime opportunity to launch a new, large-scale global philanthropic enterprise for billionaire entrepreneur Daniel Lubetzky. Mr. Lubetzky, the son of a Holocaust survivor, is the founder and owner of the company that produces KIND bars.

The Foundation is very proud of Michael’s accomplishments, and wishes him the very best in his new endeavor. Although Michael’s new undertaking will bring him to New York City during the week, he and his wife, Corinne, will continue to reside locally.

Thanks to the professional, talented Foundation staff and all of you, we are well poised to move from strength to strength. We have never been more committed to fulfilling our mission, to be of service, and together with you to continue building a vibrant Jewish community for generations to come. We will continue to provide updates over the coming months. Please contact me or Kathryn Gonnerman with your questions or concerns during this time of transition.

Thank you for your partnership and support as we continue to pursue this important work.

Leigh A. Newman,
Chair, Board of Trustees
Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford

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