Giving Voice: Marvin Schotland’s Final Reflection

Jewish Community Foundation Los Angeles Marvin I. Schotland, President & CEO

My Final Reflection
by Marvin I. Schotland, President & CEO

I learned a long time ago that when you become a donor at The Foundation, it’s not just a fund you acquire; it’s also a family you join. And just like a loving family can nourish its members in innumerable ways, so too The Foundation’s family supports its donors in myriad ways.

Hopefully you have benefited significantly from the many resources, seminars, networking opportunities, and philanthropic consulting that we offer our donors – as well as our grantees and professional advisors. It’s a donor experience that has become much richer and more rewarding than ever in my three-decades-plus of leadership here. I truly hope you are capitalizing on all that The Foundation offers.

With my tenure as president and CEO concluding at year-end, I’m reassured knowing I will continue to have a fulfilling Foundation experience through all the donor resources available to me – and to every Foundation donor.

I also know that with Rabbi Aaron Lerner assuming the leadership role in early January, The Foundation’s future is bright. He comes to The Foundation after a decade propelling Hillel at UCLA to new heights and ensuring its impressive reputation among the many Hillel organizations across America. Rabbi Lerner is a passionate and innovative professional who has impressed me in every interaction we’ve had. I am confident in a promising future for this great foundation.

So how does one sum up 33 years of leading one of the finest community foundations in America?

I have been grateful every one of these 12,000+ days to be in a position to help repair our broken world and assist many others in doing likewise. What could be more rewarding than that?

Over the decades, I’ve proudly worked with many dedicated philanthropists, vital nonprofits, outstanding board members, accomplished professional advisors, and our talented staff members. We have faced numerous community challenges and all kinds of urgent crises. Through it all, I’ve been continuously inspired and motivated by the enormous goodness of our fellow human beings in solving seemingly unsurmountable challenges and bringing much-needed healing to our world.

At our most recent Board of Trustees meeting in November, my last one, we shared some inspiring words on that week’s Torah portion of Lech Lechah, which means “go forth.” The Almighty directs Abraham and Sarah to leave their city of Haran and to go forth into the world to spread the message of Judaism. My son Daniel – who spoke about the Torah portion – explained what it was like watching his father lead The Foundation for many years and spread the message of tzedakah to our community. He shared that it ultimately inspired him to lead a life connected to community and committed to philanthropy. I could not have been prouder.

He concluded by saying: “Now it’s your turn to lech lecha, dad. It’s time for you to go forth into the next stage of your life and face the new challenge ahead.” Just as Abraham was 75 when he was commanded to go forth, I, too, embark on a new lech lecha journey at the same age. Although I’m not sure what the future has in store for me, I proceed in confidence, knowing that my deep connection to The Foundation will help sustain the Schotland family for years to come.

May we all go from strength to strength!