January 18, 2007
Federation fires chief fundraiser Craig Prizant
Less than a month before Super Sunday, the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles' biggest annual money-raising event, Craig Prizant, chief fundraiser for the organization since 2004, was relieved of his job. Sources who asked not to be named said that on Friday, Jan. 12, Prizant, looking shaken, told his staff that he was surprised by the turn of events.
Prizant had served as executive vice president of financial resource development at the Federation and had worked closely with major donors. Prior to that, he worked for nearly five years as the Federation's senior vice president for marketing and communications. Prizant could not be reached for comment. In an internal e-mail announcement to staff sent Friday, Federation President John Fishel wrote, "We want to thank Craig for the work that he has done during his time with the Federation."
Fishel gave no reason for Prizant's sudden departure or any details about the terms of severance. Fishel will assume Prizant's duties in the interim. "As CEO, I will be working with the campaign management team to oversee the campaign during this transitional period," Fishel told the staff in the e-mail. An official statement on Prizant's departure was released to the press by the Federation on Wednesday, Jan. 17.
"The Federation will continue its development of a new annual fundraising business plan, and increase its focus on building the Federation's Endowment Fund," Michael Koss, chairman of the Federation board, said in the release. Fishel and Koss declined to comment for this article.
The announcement comes as the Federation is ramping up its fundraising efforts for several major events that are always held during the first few months of the year. The dates are arranged to avoid competition with beneficiary agencies, most of which schedule their events later in the year.
On Jan. 17, for instance, the Federation held the Chai/Emerald/Zavah Luncheon, the Women's Campaign's largest fundraiser. On Feb. 11, the Federation will hold its annual Super Sunday mega-fundraiser, which last year raised $4.4 million, or about 9 percent of the Federation's total 2006 annual campaign.
The timing of Prizant's sudden exit could affect relations with donors as well as morale among lay leaders and staff who worked closely with him, some insiders speculated Wednesday.
In other news, longtime Federation executive Jack Klein will step down on June 30 as chief operating officer and executive vice president of finance and administration. Ken Krug, treasurer of the Rand Corp., will replace Klein as COO. Krug, a longtime Federation volunteer, officially joins the organization May 1.