Malcolm Katz, Executive Director, Valley Beth Shalom 1999-2011
I was the Executive Director at Valley Beth Shalom (VBS) Synagogue for twelve years. I hired Eileen shortly after I started. She had fundraising experience; she had synagogue experience; she was involved in the Jewish community and she had passion. She brought serious fundraising to VBS. She made fundraising an integral part of the culture of the synagogue. Under her creative leadership: the endowment went from being minuscule to over $10 million; the annual Gala regularly exceeded budget; the benefactor event for major donors proceeding the Gala became a special feature; and the High Holiday Appeal grew significantly.
She developed event themes, and unique marketing materials. But what is more, she developed a dedicated team of volunteers and donors. Every event had a steering committee and chair people. Eileen made it fun to raise money and the success of an event was shared by everyone who made it happen. What is more, she taught the Rabbis that they had to be involved in fundraising for it be effective.
I congratulate Eileen on creating Philanthropy Rising. She did an excellent job of developing a “Culture of Giving” at VBS and I am confident that she will do so for your synagogue.