Who Will Head The Major Jewish Federations of America?

Federations Scramble To Replace Retiring Leaders

Kurt Hoffman

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Published January 06, 2014, issue of January 10, 2014.
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Salaries also vary widely when the size of the federation is taken into account. Ira Schwartz, who last May abruptly quit his job heading the Philadelphia federation, earned $450,000 in 2012. His organization spent $33 million that year. Kleinman earned $322,000, though his federation was far larger than Philadelphia’s, spending $40 million that year. The human resources director at MetroWest, Bonnie Sterling, said that the relative underpayment of the federation’s former CEO would not hinder its search, which is just getting started. “To date it has not been a problem,” Sterling said.

Still, Sterling said that the market could force changes over the course of the search. “This is an unusual time in that there are so many federations that are conducting searches,” Sterling said. “As with any employer who needs to fill a position, we would have to take into account what the market will indicate.”

Gorovitz, meanwhile, was one of the most underpaid large federation executives in the country, according to an independent analysis of the Forward’s 2013 salary survey. She earned less than both Kleinman and Schwartz, just $311,000 in 2012, while her organization spent $134 million, many times more than either of their groups.

She also is the only woman to ever lead any of the largest American federations.

Berkofsky said that salaries were determined based on a range of factors, and that CEO salaries could not be compared. However, Mark Charendoff, former president of the Jewish Funders Network and current president of the Maimonides Fund, acknowledged “a lot of flaws” in the federation compensation system. But, he said, they mirror flaws found in for-profit executive compensation today.

“I would not expect the not-for-profit salaries to line up in a logical model, because I don’t think for-profit salaries line up in a logical model,” he said.

Charendoff suggested that, given Jewish communal concerns about engaging young people, the highest-paid Jewish federation executives shouldn’t be the CEOs, but rather the youth leaders. “I would expect to see a bidding war for outstanding and charismatic youth leaders or people who are in the Jewish engagement business,” Charendoff said. “I wouldn’t necessarily value a fundraiser over someone who’s in the business of delivering services.”

Contact Josh Nathan-Kazis at nathankazis@forward.com or on Twitter, @ joshnathankazis

This article was updated on January 8.


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