Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) has announced a $6 million gift from Marcie and Howard Zelikow to broaden and improve its School of Jewish Nonprofit Management (SJNM). Of the Zelikows’ gift, $5 million will be set aside for the school’s endowment, and $1 million will be committed to its existing operations.
“There are young leaders at federations and organizations around the country that are looking to become the next generation of Jewish leadership. And we will be the organization that will allow them to learn the management skills that they can take back into their own communities,” said Rabbi Aaron Panken, president of HUC-JIR.
The gift announced last month will allow the School of Jewish Nonprofit Management — to be renamed after the Zelikows — to increase its local offerings and to experiment with hybrid learning platforms across campuses. The school, Panken asserted, will be able “to go global” — creating opportunities for HUC-JIR’s students in Cincinnati, New York and Jerusalem.
“We are going to take this program, which has been a fantastic program for the L.A. region, and we are going to expand it and see how we can make hybrid programs that combine online learning with classroom settings,” he said.
Panken praised the donors, who are from Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills.
“It means a tremendous amount,” he said. “I’m about a year into my presidency, and Marcie and Howard have been incredible supporters — not just financially, but helping us to think about the values and direction of our school. They are indispensible.”
“Our gift has a dual mission,” said Marcie Zelikow, a current member of HUC-JIR’s board of governors. “We want to educate the next generation of Jewish nonprofit professionals, and we want to turn out rabbis and cantors that have training in nonprofit management.”
Marcie Zelikow lauded the school’s trans-denominational approach to Jewish education, and she expressed special enthusiasm for the prospect of a new generation of Jewish professionals taking the reins of organizations at an earlier age.
“In the Jewish world, how come community leaders have to be in their mid-60s? Where are the Jewish leaders in their mid-40s?” she said.
The gift, she stressed, was intended to fund people and not infrastructure. “Our interest is in students, in program growth and in faculty,” she said, detailing a particular need to educate the next generation of Jewish leaders in the financial and strategic components of nonprofit managements.
“There will not be a Jewish school of nonprofit management that can offer what we offer once this goes into effect,” Panken added.
A dedication ceremony of the renamed Zelikow School of Nonprofit Management will take place Feb. 8 at 4 p.m. at HUC-JIR’s Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles.