Federation Announces Historic Appointment of New Board Members

San Francisco, CA –  On June 24, the Board of Directors of the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund (the Federation) approved the nominations of eight new Board members, who began their appointments on July 1. The new Board members are Andy Cheng, Barry Cohn, David Friedkin, Judith Goldkrand, Kenny Kahn, Natasha Kehimkar, Lindsey Newman, and Laura Rooklin. Four of the eight new Board members are Jews of Color, making this the most diverse Board in the organization’s history.

“This marks a new era for our Board and for the Federation,” said Board Chair Arthur Slepian. “These eight members bring new skills, talents, backgrounds, and perspectives to the Board, which makes us more representative of and better able to serve our diverse, dynamic Bay Area Jewish Community. We are proud that all eight of our new board members have a strong connection to the Federation and a deep commitment to our work.” 

The Federation’s 2018 Portrait of Bay Area Jewish Life and Communities revealed just how diverse our community is. We now know that 25% of Jewish Bay Area households include a respondent or family member who is a person of color, 10% of households include a member who is lesbian, gay, or bisexual, and 23% of households include a person born outside the United States. 

“Our new Board is an important milestone in our long-term commitment to achieving authentic diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said Danny Grossman, CEO. “The hard work has only begun, and we are holding ourselves accountable to diversifying all teams, all places, and all spaces.”

Last year, the Federation announced its commitment to build an anti-racist organization and to work for racial equity throughout the broader Bay Area Jewish community. Since then, it has convened a Racial Justice Task Force to bring racially diverse voices to the table, helping the organization develop plans for how the organization can better serve the full diversity of the community. The Federation has also developed a Diversity Statement, conducts quarterly diversity trainings for professionals and lay leaders, and has granted over $900,000 to date to initiatives to help Jewish organizations implement organizational changes that create more inclusive environments for Jews of Color (JOC), to increase teen involvement in racial justice and civic engagement, and to JOC-led projects.

“As Co-chair of the Federation’s Racial Justice Task Force and a Jew of Color, I can see that this Board is committed to prioritizing what needs to be done and what needs to change within its own dynamics to successfully include diverse Jewish voices, including Jews of Color,” said Lindsey Newman, a new Board member. “While there’s still improvement to make, this might be one of the most racially diverse Boards of any Federation in the country.”

The Federation’s Board Nominating Committee, comprised of lay leaders, revised the recruitment and selection process this year to improve its outreach. 

“It’s an interesting and important time for the Federation,” said Laura Rooklin, Board Nominating Committee member and new Board member. “We know from our 2018 Portrait that there are a lot of people that are not involved in the Jewish community but for whom Judaism is an important part of who they are. I’m excited to be a part of this class and to be able to learn more from everyone about the needs that they see in the community and what is the role of the Federation to reach even more people.”

“I grew up in the East Bay, belong to Temple Beth El and Be’chol Lashon. I’m a parent and a high school principal,” said Kenny Kahn, a new Board member. “When I hear divisive terms about Jews of Color, it’s an ‘othering’. I want to make sure our Jews of Color have advocates, representation, and funding, and I want my sons to have a place where they can be honored, respected, and celebrated. As the Federation and community come back together, we have to be ten toes down.”


The Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund mobilizes innovation, collaboration, and investment to shape diverse and dynamic Bay Area Jewish communities where people find a meaningful connection to Judaism and each other; and where we work together to better lives and communities locally, in Israel, and around the world. Learn more at www.jewishfed.org.

For immediate release

July 02, 2021