The Jewish community will celebrate a longtime leader later this month at “All That Jazz,” a party honoring and starring Stuart Mellan, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona for almost 18 years.
“Stuart’s been so terrific,” says Donald Diamond, who initiated the event after realizing Mellan has never received public acknowledgement for his accomplishments at the Federation. Diamond is honorary co-chair of the event along with his wife, Joan, and Paul and Alice Baker.
Mellan has kept out of the limelight, says Helaine Levy, who is Diamond’s daughter and co-chair of the event with Fran Katz. “As a good nonprofit executive should do, he kind of works behind the scenes and elevates the successes of the volunteers and staff that he works with, but it’s time to turn that around.”
Under Mellan’s leadership, the Federation’s successes have included doubling the annual campaign and achieving dramatic increases in Women’s Philanthropy, along with adding numerous programming initiatives such as PJ Library and Northwest Jewish Connections that have engaged thousands of community members.
“He’s able to convene many different kinds of volunteers together,” says Levy. “His disposition is so easy to work with that it helps him accomplish things, and his visioning has really helped propel our community forward and has given us the great reputation that we have in the Jewish communal world.”
Levy notes that the event is not just for the Jewish community. “It’s for anybody whose life Stuart has touched,” she says, including those in the wider nonprofit world and the local jazz community.
The event, which will take place Saturday, March 31 at 7:30 p.m. at the Tucson Jewish Community Center, will feature musical director Pete Swan with a line-up of local jazz stars, plus Stuart Mellan and the Birks Works Band. It will include appetizers and dinner stations in the sculpture garden, along with a cash bar.