NEW YORK, Sept. 8, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The newly created Leadership Pipelines Alliance announced today that it has hired its first-ever Executive Director, Gali Cooks. Recently created by a unique coalition of foundations and nonprofits, the Jewish Leadership Pipelines Alliance (JLPA) aims to respond to a stark reality in the next five to seven years, the vast majority of Jewish nonprofits will need to hire new senior leaders, with major turnover in the CEO-level positions. Finding the right leaders to move immediately into these openings has, with few exceptions, already proven difficult for search committee across the United States.

The JLPA retained The Bridgespan Group to explore the issues that affect whether and how leadership pipelines are being filled, enabling them to identify a set of potential actions to strengthen the pool of leaders for senior positions in the field. Their findings have helped shape an initial agenda for the JLPA which includes launching a new on-boarding program to support new Chief Executive Officers; initiating a new joint lay leadership commission for professional talent, recruitment and retention; and starting a great places to work agenda for the Jewish community among other projects and priorities. The report can be found at

"The historical success of the Jewish community was built on great lay leadership working with inspired gifted professionals," stated Jeffrey R. Solomon, President of The Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, and Vice Chair of this effort, "The disinvestment in the professional part of this formula has become a problem, both urgent and important. Gali's appointment is a major step toward changing this worrisome trend."

The JLPA's Board of Directors is comprised of leaders from many of the most prominent Jewish foundations and nonprofits in North America, including:

1. The Andrea & Charles Bronfman Philanthropies
2. Crown Family Philanthropies
3. Helen Diller Family Foundation
4. DRG Executive Search
5. Greater Miami Jewish Federation
6. Jewish Federation of Greater Washington
7. Jewish Federations of North America
8. Jewish Funders Network
9. Jim Joseph Foundation
10. The Marcus Foundation
11. Joseph and Harvey Meyerhoff Family Charitable Funds
12. Charles H. Revson Foundation
13. Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation
14. The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation
15. The Wexner Foundation

Upon the announcement of Ms. Cooks' hiring by the Board of Directors of the Alliance, Rachel Garbow Monroe, CEO of The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation and Chair of this effort, shared, "Gali brings a unique professional skillset, a startup mentality and deep institutional respect to this role. Her passion will help us support, champion and build efforts that will ensure a vibrant future for Jewish nonprofits across North America."

Jerry Silverman, CEO and President of the Jewish Federations of North America, commented, "Jewish Federations feel strongly that this is a critical agenda for the Jewish community. The partnership of organizations that have come together around this issue is impressive. Gali Cooks brings a strong set of skills and professionalism to this challenge, and we look forward to impressive, meaningful and lasting outcomes from this new initiative."

Helen Diller Foundation Executive Officer Phyllis Cook stated, "Funders understand that, in the end, it is the quality of the professional leadership that so often makes the difference in the impact of grant making. The new initiative will help ensure a strong Jewish future."

Ms. Cooks comes to JLPA with extensive professional experience in the nonprofit, public and private sectors. Her career began in Washington, D.C. where she was a speechwriter at the Embassy of Israel. She then joined the Harold Grinspoon Foundation serving as the Founding Director of PJ Library. Ms. Cooks later served as Executive Director of the Rita J. & Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation. In the private sector, Ms. Cooks was VP of Operations at an education technology startup and most recently served as Director of Business Operations in the Youth Division of the Union for Reform Judaism. Ms. Cooks also serves on the Board of Keshet, holds a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an M.B.A. from the NYU Stern School of Business.

Rabbi Elka Abrahamson, President of The Wexner Foundation, served as co-chair of the search committee and said of the committee's unanimous choice, "Gali's keen mind, her deep interest in advancing and relating to emerging Jewish leaders and her rare talent as a strategic thinker captured our attention and interest. She is a perfect fit for this position and, in combination with her open spirit and proven ability to build effective partnerships, our confidence in what this new enterprise can achieve is stronger than it has ever been. We are thrilled that she will steer JLPA as its first director!"

DRG President David Edell and consultant Dara Klarfield coordinated the search. In addition to Rachel Garbow Monroe and Rabbi Elka Abrahamson, search committee members included Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer, President, Hartman Institute of North America; Adam Simon, Director of Leadership Initiatives, Schusterman Family Foundation; Jacob Solomon, President and CEO, Greater Miami Jewish Federation and JRPO Interim President; and Stefanie Zelkind, Director of Jewish Teen Funder's Network.

Ms. Cooks shared, "I am honored to assume this role and lead an exceptional initiative focused on attracting, developing and retaining the best and brightest professionals to the Jewish community. The time is ripe for making great strides on this issue. Leading Jewish organizations have come together, committed resources and declared talent development a priority. I look forward to collaborating with these partners and working to strengthen our community through their efforts."

Ms. Cooks will assume the Executive Director position on October 13, 2014.


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