The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles today announced the selection of Rabbi Aaron Lerner as its next president and chief executive officer effective Jan. 2, 2023.
Lerner, executive director of UCLA Hillel since 2012, will succeed Marvin I. Schotland, who has led the Foundation since 1989 and will transition to president and CEO emeritus.
Schotland announced his intention to retire in January 2022. The Foundation immediately launched a comprehensive national search for Schotland’s replacement.
In a statement, Foundation Board Chair Evan Schlessinger said: “Rabbi Aaron Lerner is an energetic and dynamic nonprofit leader with a demonstrated track record of success and is distinctly qualified to guide The Foundation into the next generation. There are neither adequate superlatives nor sufficient expressions of gratitude to Marvin Schotland for the steadyhanded leadership and visionary strategic thinking, resulting in the remarkable growth achieved during his tenure.”
Under Schotland’s 33-year leadership, the institution has grown from $90 million to $1.6 billion (as of Dec. 31, 2021) in charitable assets under management and ranks among Los Angeles’s largest foundations. During the last decade, The Foundation has distributed nearly $1 billion in grants to nonprofits locally, nationally, in Israel and around the world, including $123 million in 2021.
“I have known and long admired the pivotal role The Foundation plays in fostering, strengthening and sustaining our communities – both Jewish and nonsectarian,” Lerner said in a statement. “I am honored and humbled by my selection as its next president and CEO, and excited by the opportunity to immerse myself in The Foundation’s vital work in concert with its talented management team and staff, committed lay leadership and passionate community of donors.”
Looking back at his long tenure at the helm of The Foundation, Schotland said: “Leading The Foundation has been the greatest privilege of my professional life and, when I joined in 1989, never could have imagined that my role here would extend to nearly half the organization’s existence. In Aaron Lerner, though, I am confident The Foundation identified the person with all the appropriate attributes for the job he’s about to assume.”
Under Lerner’s leadership, Hillel at UCLA has expanded leadership training initiatives and increased engagement to nearly 2,000 students annually. An educator by training, Lerner plays a leading role in Israel advocacy and has been instrumental in fostering initiatives that have been replicated on some 80 college campuses nationwide. He has also directed major fundraising efforts for the organization, including its current endowment campaign.
In 2021, The Foundation and its donors distributed $123 million to more than 2,000 nonprofits with programs that span the range of philanthropic giving. Over the past 10 years, it has distributed nearly $1 billion to thousands of nonprofits across a diverse spectrum.