The Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona will welcome Graham Hoffman as chief executive officer, beginning Sept. 17. Hoffman most recently was deputy director of development at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington, D.C., as well as deputy director of the American Israel Education Foundation for the past four years.
“We are excited to have Graham with us. The search process was rigorous and expansive. He clearly stood out as our number one candidate … and brings a lot of energy, experience, and creativity to the Foundation,” says JCF Board Chair Jeff Katz. “He has experience in major gifts development and has worked closely with many major philanthropic foundations.”
In his previous role, Hoffman oversaw major gifts as well as endowments and grants, and developed donor stewardship strategy. His team oversaw a $140 million annual campaign, and he managed a growing portfolio of philanthropic foundations.
Katz calls Hoffman a strategic leader who thinks outside the box, with the experience and perspective the Foundation needs. “The staff is excited about his visions for the organization. We are excited to have him lead us to the next level,” Katz adds.
A Milwaukee, Wisconsin, native, Hoffman graduated from the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis. He began his career consulting at Accenture in New York, specializing in operations improvement, human performance, and strategy for two years. Recruited by Hillel International in 2003, he spent the next decade pioneering engagement and education strategies through Hillel’s global platform. His last post at Hillel was associate vice president for strategy.
After 15 years on the other side of the philanthropic equation, as a grantee with major philanthropic foundations, Hoffman looks forward to being with a grantor organization, as a facilitator of grant makers. “Building upon the success, experience and capacity of all the Tucson agencies and staff, I look forward to being a steward of the long-term resources and endowments on behalf of generations to come. I am honored and privileged to play a capacity-building role in the community,” Hoffman says.
“The Foundation is in a strong state right now, with over $100 million in assets, and strong relationships with the Federation, agencies, fund holders and stakeholders,” says Katz.
Building on the strength of what the staff and volunteers have established over JCF’s 43-year history is important to Hoffman. He feels those strengths include the Foundation’s donor-centered approach when working with individuals, agencies, and synagogues in the local Jewish and broader communities.
“I was blown away by the capacity, experience, wisdom, and perspective of so many stakeholders committed to the Jewish and larger communities,” says Hoffman. “The staff of the Foundation, the Federation, lay leadership, trustees, and major funders … to the person … all of the people I met were incredibly welcoming, kind and committed to this community. Their commitment and passion, their willingness to roll up their sleeves and engage in the guts of the work, their excellence is overwhelming.
“I want to get out in the community with local agency leadership, executives and boards, to synagogues and the Jewish Community Center. It will be a period of listening, learning and understanding. I hope your readership takes advantage of the opportunity to communicate ideas, opportunities and concerns as part of my onboarding in the community,” he told the AJP. “I will bring a sponge-like ability to soak it up and a desire to bring insights helpful to the community to insure it grows, thrives, and sustains itself.”
Transitioning from the nation’s capital to Tucson appeals to Hoffman. “I grew up in the suburbs of Milwaukee where the people are real, committed and grounded. I have lived in D.C. for nearly 15 years. I’m not going to miss the winter cold or the summer humidity, although the September heat in Tucson may be tough to acclimate to at first,” he reasons. “Our door at the Foundation and Center for Jewish Philanthropy, and my door in particular, will always be open to all members of the community. I am eager to meet everyone.”