Jewish leadership initiative hires executive director

Anthony Weiss

(JTA) — A newly-formed alliance dedicated to finding and developing talented leaders for Jewish non-profits has hired an executive director to lead its efforts.

Gali Cooks has been named the executive director of the Jewish Leadership Pipelines Alliance, the alliance announced Monday. Cooks, who will start in the position on Oct. 13, previously served as the founding director of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation’s highly regarded PJ Library and as the executive director of the Rita J. & Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation.

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“Gali brings a unique professional skillset, a startup mentality and deep institutional respect to this role,” said Rachel Garbow Monroe, CEO of The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation and Chair of the Jewish Leadership Pipelines Alliance, in a statement. “Her passion will help us support, champion and build efforts that will ensure a vibrant future for Jewish nonprofits across North America.”

The Jewish Leadership Pipelines Alliance, or JLPA, was convened to address what is expected to be a major turnover of senior executives at Jewish non-profits, particularly at the CEO level, in the next 5 to 7 years. Jewish non-profits have already reported having difficulty in filling high-level executive positions in recent years, according to the JLPA. As a result, more than 20 major Jewish non-profits, including both family foundations and major federations, founded the JLPA and have agreed to fund it with $1 million over two years.

Based on an initial report developed by The Bridgespan Group, JLPA’s initial priorities include programs to help new CEOs integrate into their new positions, a coordinated effort with lay leadership to develop executive talent, and efforts to prioritize the quality of work environments at Jewish non-profits.