Jewish Man - Photo courtesy of Menachem Weinreb on Unsplash

The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles announced Thursday the hiring of Rabbi Aaron Lerner, executive director of Hillel at UCLA, as its next president and CEO.

Lerner will take over the new post Jan. 2, succeeding Marvin I. Schotland, who has led the foundation since 1989 and will retire at the end of the year. Schotland will become the foundation’s president and CEO emeritus.

The JCF is the largest manager of charitable assets for Los Angeles Jewish philanthropists.

“Rabbi Aaron Lerner is an energetic and dynamic nonprofit leader with a demonstrated track record of success and distinctly qualified to guide The Foundation into the next generation,” Foundation board Chairman Evan Schlessinger said in a statement.

“He impressed our selection committee with his deep understanding of Los Angeles Jewish life, foresight and vision, and insights into important social issues confronting our communities,” he said. “He brings to this position a unique skill set: strong underpinnings of spirituality as an ordained rabbi and educator, but also an earlier career background in finance that will serve him well at The Foundation. We welcome him and look forward to his stewardship of this enduring institution.”

Lerner has been executive director of Hillel at UCLA since 2012.

According to the foundation, its charitable assets grew from $90 million in $1.6 billion under Schotland’s leadership. In the last decade, the foundation has doled out nearly $1 billion in grants to nonprofits locally, nationally, in Israel and around the world, including $123 million in 2021.

“Leading the foundation has been the greatest privilege of my professional life and, when I joined in 1989, never could have imagined that my role here would extend to nearly half the organization’s existence,” Schotland said in a statement.

“In Aaron Lerner, though, I am confident the foundation identified the person with all the appropriate attributes for the job he’s about to assume,” Schotland said. “Through his leadership of Hillel at UCLA, he has been an inspiration for younger Jews and will bring that perspective to engagement on both the donor and grantmaking sides of the foundation. I wish Aaron great success and look forward to working closely together to affect a smooth changeover.”

In a statement, Lerner said, “I have known and long admired the pivotal role the foundation plays in fostering, strengthening and sustaining our communities — both Jewish and nonsectarian. The institution’s commitment to Jewish values alongside smart and impactful philanthropy resonates deeply with me. I am honored and humbled by my selection as its next president and CEO, and excited by the opportunity to immerse myself in the foundation’s vital work in concert with its talented management team and staff, committed lay leadership and passionate community of donors.”

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