Leadership brings people, ideas, and resources together to build a bright future for our Jewish community.
Leadership doesn’t happen in a vacuum, however. As Andrea Lott, one of two local community members participating in the prestigious National Young Leadership Cabinet program, observes: “Leadership training is the catalyst to ensure our community thrives and prospers.”
Cabinet and the Seattle NowGen Giving Circle are two leadership development initiatives that the Federation provides for ensuring Jewish Puget Sound has a strong ladder of skilled and knowledgeable individuals ready to step up to responsible positions at organizations serving our community.
A common thread for Cabinet and NowGen is their focus on learning by doing for leadership training.
Cabinet is a national program of the Jewish Federations of North America. The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle revitalized the program locally and relaunched Cabinet last year with two pioneer leaders, Andrea Lott and Orly Feldman, who are spearheading the effort to grow the program regionally. It is a multi-year program that engages individuals ages 30 to 45 through multiple platforms. “Every year of your involvement, the curriculum changes as well as the leaders to inspire and motivate others to connect on the same values of Jewish continuity,” says Feldman.
In Cabinet, learning is collaborative. Says Lott: “Cabinet isn’t a place to solve complex problems; rather, the process of being part of Cabinet — collaborating with your cohort, with your hevre, with fellow Jews from across the world — is part of the solution.”
Likewise for NowGen, now in its second year as a Federation grassroots initiative developing philanthropic leadership in young adults. This year’s NowGen cohort totals 16 individuals.
NowGen participants contribute a minimum of $500 each to a pool, and the Federation matches all funds raised by the group. Through collaboration, the group allocates all the funding to local Jewish causes. Throughout the year, the group meets to hear local thought leaders speak about the importance of Jewish values such as tzedakah — learnings that inform the group’s philanthropic decisions.
In its first year, NowGen granted funds to seven Jewish organizations: Camp Solomon Schechter, Holocaust Center for Humanity, Kline Galland, Moishe House Seattle, Music of Remembrance, StandWithUs Northwest, and the Stroum Jewish Community Center.
Says Rachel Stauber, a founding member of NowGen, “one of the most interesting takeaways, I think for me from my experience last year, was how impactful giving is and can be, at any level.”
Yasmin Sikavi is new to NowGen. “Giving has always been important to me, and with NowGen,
the impact we have is even greater,” she says.
Leadership development is all about building a stronger community, which, as Sikavi observes, “connects people and gives them a sense of purpose.”
Adds Lott: “Now, more than ever, we need leadership to ensure a strong Jewish community, and the Federation works tirelessly towards that goal.”