Shepard Englander has resigned from Jewish Federation of Cincinnati (JFEDC), which he has headed for sixteen years, effective June 30, 2021. He has accepted a position as CEO of the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee in Florida (JFEDSM). Danielle Minson, previously Chief Development Officer and currently President of JFEDC, will be Interim CEO.
Englander became CEO of Jewish Federation of Cincinnati in July 2004, coming from a position as Vice-President of United Jewish Federation in Pittsburgh, where funding increased by more than five hundred percent from 2000-2003. He had been Associate Director of United Jewish Communities in Washington, D. C. for four years prior to that, and had represented not-for-profit clients in a law practice in Washington, D. C.
Touted among Englander’s achievements in Cincinnati are heading the campaign to finance and construct the Mayerson JCC campus, which opened in 2008, years after the previous facility in Roselawn had closed; development of the Cincinnati 2020 and 2030 community plans; the launch of SAFE Cincinnati, which advises and funds measures to improve the security and disaster readiness of Cincinnati’s Jewish organizations; and creation of the Shared Business Services, through which JFEDC offers financial management services to Cincinnati Jewish organizations.
In November 2020 Howard Tevlowitz, CEO of JFEDSM for more than twenty years, announced his retirement. Many of the developments in that Jewish community parallel those in Cincinnati over the same period, such as securing legacy gifts for local Jewish organizations, and creating a security infrastructure for the Jewish community. Tevlowitz had begun development of a family campus for Jewish life through an on-going capital campaign prior to his retirement.
The Cincinnati and Sarasota-Manatee Jewish communities are comparable in size, although their demographics differ in some respects. According to surveys of each community published in 2019 by the Brandeis University Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies and the Steinhardt Social Research Institute, the Sarasota community has approximately one thousand fewer year-round Jewish households than Cincinnati, but also more than two and a half thousand seasonal Jewish households. The Sarasota community, perhaps not surprisingly, skews much older with fewer than four thousand children in Jewish households, vs close to three times that number in Cincinnati; on the other hand, a far higher percentage of the smaller number of children in Sarasota (ninety-two vs fifty-six percent) are reportedly being raised Jewish in some way.
The level of Jewish engagement is much lower in Sarasota, according to the Brandeis surveys; twenty-five percent of the Cincinnati Jewish community are classified as “immersed — involved in most aspects of Jewish life at a high level and high intensity” vs eight percent in Sarasota, whereas forty-one percent of the latter are described as “minimally involved — with little or no involvement in Jewish life” — a category not represented in the Cincinnati survey.
The lower level of Jewish engagement in Sarasota is reflected in the annual budget of the Jewish Federation there; according to tax form 990, which JFEDSM has posted on their website, their total revenue was somewhat over twelve million dollars in 2018 (the last year in which comparable data from Cincinnati is available), in comparison with over twenty million in revenue for JFEDC, according to data published by Propublica.
Board chair of JFEDC, Debbie Brant, said “Shep has been, and continues to be, an outstanding leader and is leaving our community in a position of tremendous strength.”