OU Expands Development Department; Hires New Chief Institutional Advancement Officer

With the need to grow our multifaceted and cutting-edge programs to address the ever-increasing needs of the worldwide Jewish community, the OU has hired Arnold Gerson to serve as Chief Institutional Advancement Officer. In this capacity, Arnold will oversee all fundraising strategy and activity across the organization, as well as help shape related communications strategy.

Arnold Gerson. Photos: Josh Weinberg

Arnold Gerson. Photos: Josh Weinberg

A non-profit leader with extensive development experience, Arnold has held several significant development roles; most recently, he was the Chief Executive Officer of American Friends of Magen David Adom (AFMDA), where he oversaw all organizational management, development and branding. Seeing campaign returns increase by 83 percent, Arnold’s tenure at AFMDA was marked by heightened professionalism, increased engagement of lay leadership and a strategic shift to a major gifts focus that yielded exceptional returns. “I am delighted that, after an extensive search process, we have hired a consummate professional to serve as our Chief Institutional Advancement Officer,” said OU Executive Vice President Allen I. Fagin. “Arnold brings to the OU decades of leadership experience with major Jewish philanthropic organizations, and a unique track record of success in building teams of development professionals. We look forward to transforming the OU’s institutional advancement efforts into a first-class platform for growing our extraordinary array of programs and services.”

“I am excited to be working with both the professionals and lay leadership of the OU to significantly increase fundraising revenue to meet the growing needs of the critically important programs that the OU funds,” says Arnold.

Arnold also served as Executive Vice President of AMIT for five years, where the annual campaign nearly doubled under his leadership, and as Executive Director of the annual campaign at UJA-Federation of New York, where he was responsible for managing and developing a $75 million campaign. Arnold has an MA in social and industrial psychology from Bar-Ilan University in Israel and he attended Columbia University’s Institute for Not-for-Profit Management.

Meet the New Development Team Members

With the extraordinary growth of the OU’s Harriet & Heshe Seif Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus, now on twenty-two campuses across North America, the OU hired Alan Goldman to serve as Director of Development for OU-JLIC.

Alan Goldman

Alan Goldman

“In the last two years alone, we’ve added five new campuses,” says Rabbi Ilan Haber, OU-JLIC National Director. “It’s important to ensure that we have the financial backing to sustain our remarkable growth. Alan will focus his energies on ensuring we have the funding to continue to directly impact more than 2,000 college students annually.”

An accomplished development professional, Alan most recently worked as Development Director for Greater Cleveland Volunteers, where he oversaw all elements of fund development for the agency. Prior to that, he worked for the Jewish Federation of Cleveland. “I am glad to be back in the Jewish nonprofit sector, and I am very impressed with what OU-JLIC is doing across the country,” says Alan. “I am looking forward to helping the program grow and deepen its impact.”

Making sure that OU Israel Free Spirit participants get the most out of their trips, the OU recently hired Rayna Kalish to serve as Development Director for the program.

Rayna Kalish

Rayna Kalish

“A critical component of our program is follow up,” says Rabbi Dave Felsenthal, Director of the OU’s Next Gen Division. After each trip (OU Israel Free Spirit runs some sixty trips a year), the OU makes sure to keep an ongoing connection to participants. The OU invites participants to Friday night campus dinners, has them sign up for chavruta study and even encourages some to attend yeshivah in Israel. “Funding is a crucial element in ensuring the long-term success of our trips,” says Rabbi Dave.

A seasoned fundraiser, Rayna worked at the American Technion Society in New York for the past sixteen years, where she specialized in connecting donors to their passion. Rayna has extensive experience working with high-level donors and running events. “Rayna is a dynamic and creative fundraiser whose passion for Israel and the Jewish people will, no doubt, ensure that she excels in this position,” says Rabbi Dave.

“I am thrilled to be raising funds to keep the excitement of OU Israel Free Spirit alive after the Birthright Israel trip,” says Rayna. “I can think of no greater cause than connecting young Jewish people to their homeland and to their roots, bonding them to a lifelong commitment to their Judaism.”

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This article was featured in the Spring 2016 issue of Jewish Action.
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