WASHINGTON — The country’s leading Jewish charitable network has tapped someone to replace its departed powerhouse Washington director.
The United Jewish Communities last week announced that it had hired Charles Konigsberg, a longtime congressional staffer, to replace Diana Aviv as the organization’s vice president for public policy. The appointment ends the fitful, six-month effort to replace Aviv, who left UJC, the national roof body of Jewish charitable federations, in June to become president and CEO of Independent Sector, a coalition of more than 700 philanthropic and public-interest groups.
During her decade of service working in Washington on behalf of the federation system, Aviv was widely praised as she lobbied to secure steady federal funding — between $5 billion and $7 billion annually — for social service agencies linked to the federation system.
In practice, Aviv was both the UJC’s vice president for policy and the director of the organization’s human services and social policy division, or “pillar.”
“Diana wore more than one hat,” said Robyn Gershenoff Judelsohn, a UJC spokeswoman in Washington. “When she left, it was decided that the person who’ll be hired will only be vice president for policy and will just be responsible for promoting and advocating for the UJC and the federation system.”
Responsibilities for running the human services and social policy pillar are now being divided between several UJC staffers, the spokeswoman said.
Konigsberg has nearly 20 years of experience working in the legislative and executive branches of the federal government, as well as the nonprofit sector. He served as a senior staff member in the U.S. Senate — on both sides of the aisle — for 13 years, during which time he worked for the Senate Rules and Administration Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. He also served as assistant director for legislative affairs at the Office of Management and Budget during the Clinton administration.
Under President Bush, he served as director of congressional and intergovernmental affairs at the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that administers Senior Service Corps; AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America.
Konigsberg most recently served as executive director of the Parkinson’s Action Network, an education and advocacy organization for one million Americans afflicted with Parkinson’s disease.
He has also been an active member of the Jewish community. He founded the Capitol Hill Jewish Staff Forum, the first organization of Jewish staff members working on Capitol Hill, and helped launch the young leadership division of Arza/World Union, the Reform movement’s Zionist organization. He has also been a member of the New Israel Fund, a group that doles out money to liberal causes in Israel.