A bright road ahead at Tidewater Jewish Foundation

December 23, 2014

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I am thrilled to join the outstanding team at the Tidewater Jewish Foundation and to have the honor to serve this community as its president and CEO. With a rich history and longevity of professional leadership in this position, I hope to build upon our success while bringing a fresh perspective to this role.

I come from a broad background of work experience in the fields of human services as a case manager, human resource management at MassMutual Financial Group and development (planned giving) in the Federation world. For the past seven years I served as the director of the Jewish Endowment Foundation, a division of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts.

On a personal note, my family just moved from a relatively small Jewish community in western Massachusetts (Springfield/Longmeadow), and we are excited about engaging with a vibrant Jewish community here in Tidewater. My wife, Erica, is a speech-language pathologist and we have two beautiful girls, Liora (age 10, fourth grade) and Eden (age six, first grade), both at Hebrew Academy of Tidewater. We also have a 12-year-old yellow Labrador retriever named Buddy.

Professionally, I view this as a wonderful opportunity to work in partnership with the Federation and with all of our Jewish organizations in the region. My goal is to help people (and our Jewish communal organizations and synagogues) reach and achieve their philanthropic potential. That may sound a bit cliché, but I am truly interested in learning what people are passionate about and helping them figure out how they can turn that passion into a reality to build a brighter future. I seek to understand and appreciate our history and at the same time figure how we can build stronger bridges together as a community for an even brighter future ahead.

In my brief tenure on the job (less than one month), I have grown to appreciate the multi-generations and inter-connectedness of those who are from this area and the diversity of people who have moved to the region for one reason or another. This is a small Jewish community within a much larger general community. The ties which bind us together are strong and we need to stay inter-connected as a people. I see the role of TJF as the organization of the future and to truly operate as the “Jewish” community foundation to support the Federation, its affiliates and other agencies. I look forward to working directly with individual donors, agencies and affiliates in partnership with our strong professional advisory community to put together philanthropic plans which make sense.

I have been impressed by what I have seen thus far, but I need your help and input. I write this article asking for your assistance. I need and want to hear from you. I want to know what you think is going well. I also want to know what your hopes, your dreams and your aspirations are for this community and for the Jewish people in Tidewater, in Israel and around the world. We are here to help support what currently exists, to fill the voids and potentially to create what does not exist. Please feel free to call me and tell me what you think. I would love to sit down with you to listen and discuss your thoughts and ideas. I can be reached at skaplan@ ujft.org or 757-965-6109. I look forward to building a bright future together.

by Scott Kaplan

Letter to the Editor