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JNF

LEADERSHIP 100 Days of

LEADERSHIP 100 Days of Success JNF’s new national president raises $30 million in first major milestone of his tenure By MAAYAN HOFFMAN Dr. Sol Lizerbram, the new national president of Jewish National Fund (JNF-USA), has started off on the right foot, raising $30 million in his first 100 days in office, JNF told The Jerusalem Report. Lizerbram, inaugurated in October, presides over Jewish National Fund’s billion-dollar, 10-year fund-raising plan, now closing its fourth year and approaching half its goal. He has gotten off to a running start toward his goal of raising a half billion dollars over the next four years. In an interview with The Report, Lizerbram called his personal accomplishment “really exciting,” but he said he was especially proud of JNF’s performance as a whole. “The rewarding part has been learning how Jewish National Fund is improving the lives of every Israeli every day, and that is a great feeling,” Lizerbram said. “When you say my 100 days, it is my 100 days as president. But this is not all me – not at all. The work is done through lay leadership under the direction of our professional staff. It is a collaboration of love and great teamwork. Through it all is my wife, Lauren, who is there every step of the way.” When asked what his greatest accomplishment has been so far, Lizerbram said it was working with lay leaders to initiate new projects and establish new ways of energizing people around the US to become part of the Jewish National Fund family. To that end, Lizerbram oversaw JNF’s annual national conference in South Florida in November, which set an attendance record with more than 1,200 participants. In addition to the conference, more Dr. Sol Lizerbram and his wife, Lauren, speak with JNF Chief Israel Officer Eric Michaelson at a JNF funded playground in Sderot. than 3,200 people have collectively attended 161 events in 42 cities across the US in the past few months alone. “The biggest challenge has been trying to keep up with all the different events that JNF is having around the country,” he said. “I try to go to as many as I can, but there are so many now that it is hard.” Lizerbram singled out Jewish National Fund’s women’s campaign, which raised nearly $10 million in his first 100 days and had a special training session at the national conference. More than 150 women in JNF’s Sapphire and Chai Societies (minimum annual donations of $5,000 and $1,800 respectively) attended a luncheon at the conference, featuring former Miss Israel Titi Ayanaw, who is an Ethiopian-born model. He said he was also proud of JNFuture, the organization’s young leadership division for ages 22 to 40, which has raised more than $520,000 so far this campaign year and has more than 8

1,100 members. JNFuture has held more than 60 events across the country since October and has more than 20 planned in the months ahead. “They are the fastest growing community within the JNF organization,” Lizerbram said. “I met with the leadership of JNFuture. They have a lot to say and they have great ideas. To be frank with you, that is what an organization like JNF needs: young leadership with enthusiasm, ideas and a passion for Zionism. They love Israel! There is no question about it. They are great young leaders, and we need to engage this age group as much as we can, so this will go on from generation to generation.” Additionally, during the week of Tu Bishvat, JNF had a presence on 150 college campuses in partnership with the AEPi fraternity. “When I meet our partners, see their work, and the communities we are investing in, I can tell you there is nothing like this anywhere. We are building a country.” Dr. Sol Lizerbram To increase its outreach and target young people, Jewish National Fund has grown its social media presence. Since Lizerbram took over in October, there have been more than three million impressions through search ads on Google and Bing; 225,000 video views on Facebook; 150,000 impressions on Twitter; 200,000 minutes watched on YouTube; and 5,300 podcast downloads. “We like to think we are the leader on social media,” Lizerbram said. “We really are. JNF is going viral!” Jewish National Fund has been developing one of the most robust continuing education training programs for its professional team. The first “JNF University” training program had 60 participants made up of fund-raisers, directors and event management staff. The organization’s new online video training program was developed to provide new hires as well as veteran employees with the tools and information necessary to excel at their respective organizational roles. Lizerbram came to Israel for his first visit as president in February as part of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which also went to Abu Dhabi. He will be back this month for Israel’s 70th birthday celebrations, along with a large contingent of at least 700 donors from JNF. He said he has been impressed by Jewish National Fund’s partners on the ground in Israel. “The impact they have in Israel affects hundreds of thousands of lives for the better because of JNF,” he shared. “When I meet our partners, see their work, and the communities we are investing in, I can tell you there is nothing like this anywhere. We are building a country.” Lizerbram revealed that Jewish National Fund’s new projects in Israel will include developing a world-class culinary institute in the North, taking advantage of the influx of immigrants from various regions, who all add their own flavors to the multicultural fabric that is Israel. He said JNF would also help build a world-class tourism institute to help tourism in the North and a new second campus for their Alexander Muss High School in Israel in Beersheba. JNF-USA CEO Russell F.Robinson praised Lizerbram for proving himself as a leader in a short period of time. “I think the secret sauce is the ‘Sol Lizerbram’ leadership,” Robinson said, noting Lizerbram is following in the footsteps of his predecessors. “We take risks. We do not shy away from Israel. We make it front and center. We are proving people want to be part of this great Israel experience and that it is still exciting to everybody.” Lizerbram believes Robinson made Jewish National Fund an organization that is ethical and run very well, even as well as Google or Amazon. He said that before he became president, he had not been exposed to what goes on behind the scenes. “It is a remarkable nonprofit,” Lizerbram said. “It is even more than what I expected. The integration of work between the professional staff and volunteers is just phenomenal and the ventures we have going on are even more exciting than I imagined.” ■ The Lizerbrams and Eric Michaelson stand in front of the Lauder Employment Center in Beersheba. APRIL 2018 9

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