Rabbi Ed Feinstein, Senior Rabbi, Valley Beth Shalom
I am delighted to offer a professional introduction and reference on behalf of Philanthropy Rising, the brainchild of Eileen Aroesti. For fourteen years, Eileen worked closely with me as Development Director at Valley Beth Shalom. We are the largest synagogue in the San Fernando Valley with a reputation as one of the more creatively innovative and successful congregations in North America. Eileen is a big part of that success.
When Eileen arrived at VBS, our fundraising efforts were earnest but haphazard. Over these years, she organized a sophisticated program of development with a highly successful annual campaign and an annual gala event that has become a highlight of our program year. The funds yielded by the program grew steadily year to year and consistently exceeded budgetary targets. Eileen conceived and organized our effort to cultivate a group of major gifts benefactors who provided a large portion of our fundraising revenues. She worked with me to recruit, train and guide a passionate cadre of committed fundraising volunteers. Under Eileen’s guidance, we opened a campaign to grow our synagogue endowment, providing a steady stream of income for our synagogue initiatives that protected our budget from economic ups and downs. Her direction was instrumental in growing our synagogue endowment from $350,000 to over $10 million.
Eileen has been invaluable to me as a colleague in leading the congregation. Her insight into people and sensitivity to the needs of our many congregants helped me immeasurably in serving a large and diverse community. She taught me how to develop a new generation of leadership for our community. Her understanding of organizational and community life and her good humor in dealing with personalities and their idiosyncrasies made her my trusted colleague and counselor. I can’t begin to express how much I respect her advice and appreciate her guidance.
What I appreciated most in Eileen, after our fourteen years of working closely together, is the way she took the values of our synagogue community to heart. She understands synagogue life, the life of the Jewish community, and the needs of the Jewish people — not just as a professional, but from the heart. I am certain that is ultimately the secret of her success.
Philanthropy Rising will do much more than raise funds. Philanthropy Rising will uplift your community and elevate your leadership.