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Chief Executive Officer

Russell Berrie Foundation
New York, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Closing date
Sep 1, 2021

View more

Position Type
Executive, Fundraising, Grant Seeking, Programs, Grant Administration, Government Relations and Advocacy, Administrative, Other Administrative, Public Relations and Communications
Community Foundations, Health, Religion
Employment Type
Full Time
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About the Russell Berrie Foundation


The Russell Berrie Foundation was created in 1985 to express the values and passions of Russell Berrie through social investments in innovative ideas designed to:

  • Promote the continuity and enrichment of Jewish communal life locally, regionally and in Israel 
  • Support advances in medicine focusing on diabetes and humanism in medicine 
  • Foster the spirit of religious understanding and pluralism 
  • Recognize individuals who have made a significant difference to the lives of others 

To fulfill this vision, Trustees of The Russell Berrie Foundation are guided by the major themes set forth above, with New Jersey, Metropolitan New York, and Israel as the primary geographic foci of grantmaking.


For more information please visit:


Position Summary:

The Trustees of The Russell Berrie Foundation, a foundation dedicated to advancing innovative ideas, seek a new CEO to lead the day-to-day operations of the foundation. The CEO will play an integral role in establishing and implementing the foundation’s strategies, plans and policies as it moves towards sunsetting in approximately 2033. Over the next decade, the new CEO will need to bring strategic leadership and vision to the administration of new and current grants and lead the foundation in its direct relationships with grantees, partners and constituents. The CEO will drive the commitment of the foundation to strengthen its impact in its core philanthropic areas, as well as work with grantees to help them drive towards sustainability and growth in perpetuity. 

The CEO will lead a team of around 15 professionals who are located in New Jersey and Israel. Together with the foundation staff, the CEO will work to create systems which will ensure that roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and communicated across the organization. The CEO will serve as an external voice for the foundation, speaking on behalf of the Trustees as a thought leader on key philanthropic topics. The CEO will work to continue to develop relationships between the foundation staff and Trustees in order to ensure the foundation’s impactful legacy.  





  • Collaborate with staff, the President of the Foundation, and the Trustees to provide the vision and strategic direction of the foundation while ensuring the foundation honors the original vision shared by Russell Berrie. 
  • Direct the day-to-day activities of the foundation in close coordination with the President of the Foundation. 
  • Provide inspirational leadership to the foundation staff and ensure the continued development and management of a professional and efficient organization. 
    • Facilitate cross-departmental collaboration and strengthen internal communications with staff throughout the foundation.
    • Create and promote a positive, global work environment that supports consistency throughout the organization's strategy and operational methods.
    • Manage and empower the foundation’s senior staff.
  • In partnership with the Chief Program Officer, maintain a deep understanding of all grants and support the establishment and management of relationships with grantees. 
    • In partnership with the Chief Financial Officer, support the effective fiscal and operational oversight of the foundation. 
  • Cultivate a strong and transparent working relationship with each Trustee.
  • Ongoing collaboration with Trustees in the strategic decision making of the foundation. 
  • Support the Trustees in continuing to build a Trustee succession plan and in the identification and onboarding of potential new Trustees. 
    • Together with the Trustees, serve as a key spokesperson of the foundation.
  • Represent the foundation with other funders and throughout the community at large.
    • Build the foundation’s role as a resource in the philanthropic sector through the establishment of sharing the foundation’s learnings. 



    Desired Qualifications

    • Passionate and visionary leader with excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to connect with and build trust with a variety of stakeholders including staff, Trustees, and grantees
    • Approachable, relatable and passionate about the programmatic areas the foundation supports including a deep commitment to Zionism and Jewish life
    • Desire to respect and honor Russell Berrie’s legacy and philanthropic intentions
    • Ability to both remain objective and intervene in order to serve the foundation’s objectives 
    • Ability to both take direction and have the confidence to say no and push back when needed
    • Appetite to drive the foundation to be more public facing and inform the field around the foundation’s sunsetting trajectory
    • An effective communicator, both written and verbal, who is equally engaging with internal and external audiences
    • Excellent coalition building skills with an ability to bring people together, achieve consensus and trust to implement identified priorities 
    • Strong leadership, management, and supervision skills that include the ability to inspire, influence, and hold a team accountable to high standards and goals
    • Familiarity and commitment to the global Jewish community and landscape 
    • Effective listener and relationship builder with an ability to make individuals feel seen and heard
    • Experience creating legacy and defining what it means for an organization  
    • Demonstrated success building and engaging boards of directors


    Dara Z. Klarfeld



    Jessica Hammerman

    Talent Consultant

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