Changing the System? Jewish Philanthropy, Racial Justice, and What We Need to Know

Speaker Biographies

Ilana Kaufman

Ilana is the Executive Director of the Jews of Color Initiative. The Initiative hosts the nation’s first and only philanthropic fund dedicated to Jews of Color. The Initiative’s work focuses on grant-making, research and field building, and community education.

Before joining the Jews of Color Initiative, Ilana was the Public Affairs and Civic Engagement Director, East Bay for the San Francisco, Bay Area Jewish Community Relations Council. Ilana also served as a Program Officer at the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund.

Ilana's work has been featured in the books Black Power Jewish Politics, and Moral Resistance and Spiritual Authority. She has been featured in the Jewish Times of America and has published articles in the Forward, eJewish Philanthropy, and The Foundation Review. Ilana is also a nationally regarded thought leader on the importance of grappling at the intersection of Jewish communities, Jewish identity, and racial justice, and has been featured on NPR's All Things Considered and Code Switch, and in the series “ELI Talks: Inspired Jewish Ideas.” Her talk titled "Who Counts, Race and the Jewish Future" has received almost 28,000 views.

Ilana, on the Forward’s 2019 list of 50 inspiring American Jews is a Senior Schusterman Fellow who is passionate about all things at the intersection of Jewish Community/Racial Justice/Jews of Color/Education/Philanthropy. Ilana received her B.A. in Sociology from California State University-Humboldt, and her M.A. in Educational Pedagogy from Mills College.


Paula B. Pretlow

Paula serves as a director and trustee on corporate and philanthropic boards. Current appointments include Bitwise Industries, CION Ares Diversified Credit Fund, Northwestern University, The Kresge Foundation, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, and Congregation Emanu-El.

Prior to retiring from the investment field, Paula spent twelve years at the $2.1T privately held investment firm, The Capital Group, where she led the public fund client relationship and business development team.

She holds an MBA in finance and economics from Kellogg School of Management, and a BA in political science from Northwestern University, and is a 2017 Fellow of Stanford University’s Distinguished Careers Institute.

Paula has been recognized with The National Council of Jewish Women San Francisco Outstanding Humanitarian Award, and Legal Momentum’s Aiming High Award, among others. Speaking appearances include Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences convocation, and Groundbreakers: Women in Leadership Summit. She is also a frequent panelist/speaker on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the investment management industry and on leadership in the Jewish community as a Jew of color. She has co-taught design thinking at Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (the “”). Paula is the proud mother of Neil (wife, Tanya) and Alison, and the doting grandmother of 2-year old Miles.


Barry Finestone

Barry Finestone is President and CEO of the Jim Joseph Foundation. The Foundation supports Jewish education for youth, teens, and young adults in the U.S., with more than $490 million granted in its first 11 years of operation. Prior to the Jim Joseph Foundation, Barry was Executive Director of the Lisa and John Pritzker Family Fund. He moved to the Bay Area in 2010 to become CEO of the JCC of San Francisco, where he oversaw dramatic growth and built it into the second-largest JCC in the country. Earlier in his career, he served as executive director of the two-campus Isaac M. Wise Temple, transforming its information technology systems and earning the Harris K. and Alice F. Weston Award for Outstanding Leadership. Barry’s first job out of college was as a residential summer camp director in Waupaca, Wisconsin for Young Judaea. Barry says he never would have hired himself for that job, but the experience was invaluable in helping him learn how to run and operate an entity.

His philosophy in work is to have a vision, start going there, and then hire the best people you can and get out of the road! A Scottish native with 25 years of experience in the Jewish nonprofit world, Barry holds a degree in Community Education from Jordanhill College in Glasgow, Scotland. He and his wife, Ellen, have three children – Gabrielle, Ethan, and Mia.


Dr. Marc Dollinger

Dr. Marc Dollinger holds the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies and Social Responsibility at San Francisco State University.

He has served as a research fellow at Princeton University’s Center for the Study of Religion as well as the Andrew W. Mellon Post-doctoral Fellow and Lecturer in the Humanities at Bryn Mawr College, where he coordinated the program in Jewish Studies.

Professor Dollinger is the author of four scholarly books in American Jewish history, most recently Black Power, Jewish Politics: Reinventing The Alliance in the 1960s. He has published entries in the Encyclopedia Judaica, the Encyclopedia of Antisemitism, and the Encyclopedia of African American Education. His next project, A Tale of Two Campuses: Jews and Identity Politics in the Golden State, traces his experiences as a Jewish professor at both right-wing and left-wing universities.

Dr. Dollinger is a past president of both the Jewish Community High School of the Bay and Brandeis Hillel Day School. He serves on the boards of the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, the Osher Marin JCC, and URJ Camp Newman. He also sits on the California advisory committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights, was named Volunteer of the Year by the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, and was awarded the San Francisco JCRC’s Courageous Leader award.

Professor Dollinger has spoken about his research on Don Lemon’s CNN-podcast “Silence Is Not An Option,” as well as the NFL Network, ESPN, and Germany’s National Public Radio. Just for fun, Dr. Dollinger helped actress Helen Hunt learn about her Jewish roots on the prime-time NBC show, “Who Do You Think You Are?”