Executive Director

Jewish Senior Life Foundation
New York, United States
Competitive Salary
Oct 15, 2020
Nov 13, 2020
Employment Type
Full Time

Jewish Senior Life:  State-of-the-art facilities and sophisticated strategies that support a healthy, purpose-driven life for seniors in our community

Jewish Senior Life ("JSL") is a $63 million dollar, best-in-class organization, keenly focused on helping seniors lead healthy, vibrant lives in the Greater Rochester region.  Jewish Senior Life recently completed a multi-year, $83 million development project that set a new standard for high quality transitional and long-term care in the for decades to come.  JSL recently celebrated the grand opening of three Green House® Cottages that house nine small scale self-contained homes for long-term care residents.  The Green House® concept represents the best in modern long-term care, banishing traditional institutional care concepts in favor of individual resident choice and freedom.  Residents decide when to rise and go to bed, when to eat, and how to spend their time.  Residents aren’t asked to do things for the convenience of the staff, rather staff strives to achieve the individual needs and goals of residents.  Each resident has a private room and private bathroom and shares access to family-oriented common interior and exterior spaces, including a spacious kitchen designed for resident use, a family-style dining room and living room, and resident-directed patios and gardens.  If that isn’t exciting enough, the Farash Tower, JSL’s six story long term care facility completed a comprehensive renovation in 2020, providing private rooms and modern amenities for all residents, whose care is governed by the aforementioned philosophy of resident-centered care. 

The impact of COVID 

Leadership, fast-action, and high standards of quality care are keeping staff and residents safe from COVID.  JSL’s management team acted quickly starting in January of 2020 after hearing disturbing reports from Wuhan, China. Senior management has consistently gone above and beyond required social distancing, personal protection, and cleanliness standards to protect residents and employees.  As a result of thoughtful, fast action, as of September 2020 only four residents out of a population of approximately 600 tested positive for COVID, and all recovered.  Only 13 staff tested positive to date out of a population of approximately 1,000, and all were appropriately quarantined without any incidence of virus spread.  All safety protocols remain in place today.

Services Provided by Jewish Senior Life 

 Jewish Senior Life qualifies as the community’s only designated Continuing Care Retirement Community, offering a full complement of senior services, from senior retirement communities, including independent living, assisted living and long-term care, to community-based services.  Jewish Senior Life’s independent living community is offered at The Summit at Brighton, assisted living at Wolk Manor, assisted living for memory care residents at the Lodge at Wolk Manor, daytime respite care for individuals with dementia at Marian’s House (located off-campus), and skilled nursing at the aforementioned Green House® Cottages and Farash Tower facilities- all located on the same beautiful campus. 

In addition to long term residential care for aging adults, JSL’s Farash Tower also offers state-of-the-art outpatient rehabilitation services, memory care services, companion care  for individuals requiring non-medical assistance in their homes (Living Well Companion Care), handyman services, meal delivery services, rehabilitation care for individuals who have traumatic brain injuries or neurologic impairments (Neurobehavioral Rehabilitation Program), an adult day health care program, hospice care, transitional care and a physician-led house calls program for housebound seniors.  All facilities and services offered by Jewish Senior Life enjoy a strong reputation for quality as evidenced by ratings that put JSL in the top 15% of skilled nursing facilities nationwide.  The organization is known for meeting the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs of patients, families and caregivers.  Jewish Senior Life is considered a provider of choice in the greater Rochester community, with demand-driven waiting lists for the spectrum of services offered therein.

The diverse workforce of 1000 employees at Jewish Senior Life is stable, with strong staff retention in an industry that is often plagued by frequent turnover.  Professional staff report that the organization’s talented, visionary leadership, strong reputation for quality services, and competitive benefits package are primary drivers of the decision to stay.  Employees of JSL and JSLF also take great pride from recognition in August of 2020 as a Great Place to Work® certified organization. The Great Place to Work Institute is the global authority on high-trust high performance workplace cultures, and publishes the annual Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® list.

A Common Misconception- does JSL only provide services to Jewish clients and residents?

JSL exists to support anyone in need of their services in the Greater Rochester region, not just Jewish clients and residents.  Approximately half of all clients and residents of JSL are Jewish, with the other half representing a wide variety of other religions and affiliations.  Inclusion is a foundational Jewish value, in addition to meaningful life, compassion, choice and dignity. 

Jewish Senior Life Foundation (“JSLF” or the “Foundation”)

The Jewish Senior Life Foundation is a separate but closely related entity, with an independent board of directors and its own staff.  The Foundation’s mission is to raise the financial resources necessary to enable Jewish Senior Life to offer important programs and services to community elders so that they may lead meaningful lives with choice and dignity.

The Foundation currently employs a motivated, engaged staff that achieves goals through a tiered approach to fundraising, including:  major gifts, annual appeal, planned giving, stewardship and cultivation events, giving circles, foundation grant appeals and an occasional opportunity for  government grants.  From 2013 to 2018 the Foundation focused much of its efforts on the Power of One Capital Campaign, achieving the campaign goal of $27 million.  Proceeds of the campaign supported the aforementioned construction of the Green House® Cottages and the renovation of Farash Tower.

Over the years, diligent efforts on the part of the Foundation’s staff, Board of Directors and volunteers has raised an endowment of approximately $45 million to support the mission of Jewish Senior Life, significantly larger than the endowment of comparable organizations. 

THE OPPORTUNITY – define the standard for aging well in the Rochester community

JSL senior leadership and the JSLF board of directors are seeking an expert in advancement to lead support for Jewish Senior Life into the future.  Our region is still in the early phases of the Age Wave, necessitating a re-imagining of target donors, donor cultivation practices, stewardship practices, data analytics and measurement practices, marketing methods, and the underlying “case for supporting JSL.”

The Foundation’s board of directors is eager to “show up differently” than most boards of directors, as evidenced by the board’s new strategic imperative to be better ambassadors of JSL and JSLF.  The new Executive Director will team with Foundation staff, senior management and the JSLF board of directors on the development of a dynamic strategic plan that will guide the activities and goals of the Foundation for the next 3 to 5 years.  The new Executive Director will have a solid head start on developing the strategic plan by leveraging the results of a completed comprehensive assessment of the Foundation’s strengths and opportunities for growth. 

Annual unrestricted fundraising efforts will be a primary focus of the organization for the medium term.  While the aforementioned Power of One Capital Campaign was very successful, and the organization’s endowment is significantly larger than peer institutions at $45M, annual gifts have remained flat for several years.  The successful candidate will establish a culture of identifying and cultivating new donors, and diligently stewarding those donors to consider larger gifts over time. 

The successful candidate should be equally attracted to the prospect of reaching out to an entirely new, undeveloped list of potential donors.  Most peer Continuing Care Retirement Communities receive half of their donations from residents, a number that is quite low for JSLF by comparison.  Another untapped source of potential donors can be found among appreciative residents/clients of the in-patient and outpatient rehabilitation programs, independent and assisted living facilities, the Physician House Calls Program, and the Living Well Companion Care program.  

The greater Rochester region has a vibrant Jewish community of approximately 19,000 members who support multiple cultural/social organizations and synagogues.  The most recent demographic survey reports that more than half of Jewish community members were born outside of Rochester and most of them remain, as evidenced by the population’s median residency tenure of 39 years.  In other words, Jews tend to come to Rochester, settle and stay.  JSL and JSLF’s boards of directors and senior leaders are confident that the successful candidate will find significant growth opportunities from this current core donor and prospect base.   

 Non-Jewish residents and transitional care patients are significantly under-represented as donors of the organization they know and love.  Residents of the Cottages and Farash tower are approximately 60% non-Jewish, residents of the Summit, JSL’s independent living community are approximately 30% non-Jewish, and residents of Wolk Manor, JSL’ assisted living community approximately 70% non-Jewish.  Development professionals from hospitals and senior living facilities convert appreciative patients and their families to repeat donors every day, regardless of the patient’s faith and ethnicity, a concept that JSLF is actively pursuing through a new training program called The Gratitude Program. 


There is no shortage of mission-driven organizations that are looking for talented advancement/development professionals, so why consider joining the JSLF team?  If you are fatigued with working for uninspired leaders who look to close the gap between current state and desired state with an advancement “miracle,”, then take a deeper look at this opportunity with JSLF.   Only JSL will provide you with the support and the following compelling story to tell:

  • This position reports directly to the CEO of JSL, a $60 million dollar organization, and is part of JSL’s senior management team. The successful candidate will enjoy the benefits of working with a CEO who trusts the subject-matter expertise of experienced fundraising professionals.  Additional senior management team members are ready, willing and able to help further build the program. 
  • Both boards of directors are highly engaged and well-connected, donating on average 13% of all gifts versus a peer group average of 4%.
  • JSL is the only Continuing Care Retirement Community in our region, providing our loved ones with all levels of service, including hard-to-find assisted living services for those who need specialized memory care, all located on a single campus.
  • JSL is at the top of the list of most physicians and community-based referral sources in our community and is nationally ranked by US News and World report in the top 15% of all nursing homes in the country. 
  • The organization offers the largest short-term rehabilitation services program in our region and is the only one that is accredited by CARF, an industry watch-dog.
  • The organization has a robust list of previously unsolicited, potential donors who have been personally impacted by JSL’s high quality programs and services. 
  • Since everyone is impacted by one or more friends and family members who are struggling with the physical, mental and/or social challenges presented with aging, everyone is a prospect donor. A gift to JSLF may very well be a gift to one’s “future self.”
  • As outlined in the JSL section at the beginning of this document, no other organization consistently invests in cutting edge resources, facilities and strategies to benefit seniors in our community. One only needs to take a donor on a tour of the new Green House® Cottages to motivate a new or increased level of financial support.  Donors can easily connect their gift with a vision for aging well in our community when they see it in action. 


  • Team with the JSLF board, staff, and the CEO of JSL to develop and execute a three-year strategic development plan based on the recommendations from the aforementioned independent assessment report. Prioritize the development and execution of a plan to significantly increase unrestricted annual gifts.     
  • Meet in-person with a range of three to five donors and/or prospects each week, bringing them on-campus when possible for a tour and to meet relevant senior staff members (depending on the donor/prospect’s area of interest).
  • Define Key Performance Indicators (“KPI’s”) for each staff member and develop a key indicator dashboard. Review results regularly for progress against annual and long-term goals.
  • Leverage existing technology to provide automated reports that support department, board, and senior management’s need for timely information. Develop an expectation for 100% accuracy for entering all available data into Raiser’s Edge NXT.  Team effectively with JSL’s finance staff to maintain a consistent, accurate and timely accounting of fundraising results (restricted versus unrestricted, pledged versus received, etc.)
  • Identify government and foundation grant opportunities that align with JSLF’s mission. Determine an optimal staffing solution for grant-writing needs.
  • Support the marketing team in maintaining the Foundation website and assist in all efforts to keep marketing materials fresh and up to date.
  • Regularly review monthly financial statements for accuracy and actionable insights. 
  • Mentor the capabilities of staff under management and provide access to training and development with a goal of building a best-in-class, creative and accountable foundation operation.
  • Strategize with the Director of Major Gifts and the department heads of each service line at Jewish Senior Life within the first six months to develop a plan for engaging current and former clients and their families (for example, clients in transitional care, residents of the Summit, and so on). 
  • Team with colleagues to drive results from the organization’s Life and Legacy Planned Giving program, applying existing knowledge of various planned giving tools and strategies in meetings with identified prospects. 
  • Proactively identify and manage an appropriate response to changes in organizational priorities and economic conditions as needed.
  • As the “Face of JSLF,” develop and deliver engaging, informative presentations for community and donor events, demonstrating industry expertise and showcasing the latest developments at JSL.
  • Respond to ad hoc requests from colleagues, management, board members, donors, and prospects on a timely basis.
  • While all services offered by Jewish Senior Life are open to individuals of all faiths and ethnicities, the successful candidate must have or gain a working knowledge of Jewish laws and traditions to maintain sensitivity to the organization's history.


The successful candidate will possess the following:

  • Baccalaureate Degree in business, marketing, or a related degree; Master’s Degree a plus. 
  • Five or more years of success as the leader of a foundation or not-for-profit fundraising/advancement team.  Fundraising experience in the healthcare or senior services industries is a plus.
  • Certification as a fundraising executive (CFRE credential) or other fundraising certification or demonstrated adherence to the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) code of ethics is preferred.
  • A track record for developing efficient processes for fundraising, data management and report development, including the practice of holding staff accountable for habitually using data management systems like Raiser’s Edge NXT to their fullest capabilities.
  • Experience as an individual contributor, during the course of normal career progression, with multiple facets of a sophisticated advancement organization, including annual giving, major gift solicitation, planned giving solicitation, corporate sponsorship, grant solicitation, giving societies/circles and event management.
  • A reputation for mentoring and motivating staff to their fullest potential, including holding staff accountable for measurable results. 
  • Proven experience with developing and delivering engaging, content-rich presentations tailored for a wide variety of audiences – government, donors, volunteers, community groups, etc. 
  • Experience and knowledge of the local Jewish community is a plus. 
  • A natural inclination to “lead by example,” demonstrating flexibility, proactive problem identification and resolution, and a sense of urgency. 
  • A reputation for diplomacy, respect for and empathy with individuals from all cultures and socio-economic backgrounds 
  • Unquestioned professional and personal integrity.

This description is not meant to be an all-inclusive list of duties and responsibilities, but constitutes a general definition of position scope.  Jewish Senior Life and the Jewish Senior Life Foundation prides itself on its diverse population of employees, patients and full-time residents, as belief in the Jewish faith is not a requirement of employment, services or residency.   


This retained search is being conducted exclusively by Patty Phillips of Clarity Recruiting and Career Management, Inc. for Jewish Senior Life.  All applicants must contact Patty directly, as all applicants and inquiries, regardless of how sourced, will be forwarded to her attention.

If interested, please submit a cover letter and resume to:  patty@clarityracm.com.   In your cover letter, please explain the basis for your interest in the position and highlight relevant experience for the role.