Director of Alumni Engagement


Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

Mersky, Jaffe & Associates, a national executive search and consulting firm, has been engaged to conduct a search for the next Director of Alumni Engagement for Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (“HUC-JIR”).

About Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

HUC-JIR is a global center of innovation for Jewish life and learning – preparing rabbis, cantors, leaders in Jewish education, Jewish nonprofit professionals, pastoral counselors, and scholars to apply their knowledge, commitment, vision, and expertise to strengthen and transform the Jewish community and larger world. We are the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism.

The alumni community of HUC-JIR is leading a Jewish renaissance in North America, Israel, and around the globe as leaders in synagogues, Jewish day schools, supplementary religious schools, Hillels and college programs, hospitals, camps, the military, and Jewish organizations worldwide. There are more than 4,000 living graduates of the Rabbinical School, the Debbie Freidman School of Sacred Music, the Zelikow School for Nonprofit Management, the Pines School of Graduate Studies, and the School of Education.

Within the framework of a strategic plan, under the direction of President, Dr. Andrew Rehfeld and Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Melissa Greenberg, HUC-JIR has launched a significant investment in institutional advancement to strengthen philanthropic support and staff and activities to enhance alumni engagement. We are recruiting a team to build our infrastructure, expand our national and global philanthropic community, enhance our stewardship efforts, and increase revenue as we prepare for a major campaign celebrating HUC-JIR’s 150th Anniversary.

Position Overview

HUC-JIR seeks an experienced, mission-driven, passionate, self-starter as the new Director of Alumni Engagement (DAE). Reporting to the Vice President of Institutional Advancement and working in collaboration with colleagues across North America and Israel, the DAE will design and execute a new comprehensive strategy for alumni engagement to deepen relationships with and among the members of the diverse community of involved HUC alumni. The principal foci of the program will be to engage alumni to:

  • advocate for and enhance the College as the intellectual fount for liberal Judaism and the thought leader of the Jewish community;
  • create and coordinate meaningful programs for personal and professional development;
  • recruit the next generation of clergy and leaders for the Jewish community; and
  • identify, introduce, and involve future leadership and prospective philanthropists for the College.

The DAE will serve as a member of the senior institutional advancement team and work in concert with the President, Provost, Deans, faculty, and other stakeholders to connect with alumni throughout North America and the world. Further, the DAE will work to build and enhance programs for our growing community of Israel alumni.

The DAE will be responsible for alumni fundraising strategies across the Annual Fund, major gifts, and endowments. The DAE will manage a major gift portfolio, consisting of alumni, congregations, organizations, and foundations with the capacity and interest in making philanthropic investments in the College-Institute.

Key Responsibilities

  • Develop and grow HUC-JIR’s alumni engagement program, in concert with the Institutional Advancement (IA) team and the Alumni Leadership Council.
  • Function as lead staff for Alumni Leadership Council and support the development of program priorities, meetings, and organizational succession-planning.
  • Work with IA team to develop fundraising strategies, identify new donors, and plan events to engage alumni donors and prospects.
  • Develop and implement comprehensive plan with the Office of Recruitment and Admissions to involve alumni in identification of future students.
  • Successfully complete 12-15 in-person meetings with HUC-JIR alumni donors and/or prospects each month.
  • Solicit major gifts in support of HUC-JIR’s priorities.
  • Partner with staff and volunteer leadership as well as local alumni and congregations to implement constituency-building programs and to coordinate HUC-JIR VIP visits to the region.
  • Oversee Honorary Degree programs for 25th Anniversary Alumni.
  • Develop and implement comprehensive alumni communications plan.
  • Attend events related to Reform Judaism, Jewish professional leadership development, Israel, and other relevant subject matters to network with potential donors and partner organizations, and to represent HUC-JIR’s presence in the target communities.
  • Utilize the HUC-JIR database (Raiser’s Edge) to maintain accurate records of all alumni and donor interactions, individuals’ programmatic interests, trends in giving, and type of support to solicit.
  • Regular travel both nationally and internationally.

The successful candidate is a person who has

  • 10+ years of experience in a higher education institution or complex nonprofit, in leadership and management role.
  • Experience in developing national engagement, marketing, and communications programs, preferably with a development and fundraising integration.
  • Knowledge of the Reform Jewish community and passion for the mission of HUC-JIR.
  • Knowledge of philanthropy and best practices in professional development programs.
  • A strategic and organized workstyle with excellent oral communication and writing skills.
  • An ability to set priorities, manage projects and meet deadlines.
  • A capacity to manage and thrive during organizational change.
  • A sophisticated and comfortable way in dealing with community leadership and significant philanthropists.
  • Experience with six and seven figure gifts, multi-year pledges and planned giving strategies, preferred.
  • Direct experience in utilizing CRM databases to manage constituents and prospect lists.
  • Attention to detail; high standard for quality and productivity.
  • Ability to work in a highly collegial manner within a complex, national and international organizational culture. Experience working with organizations in Israel preferred.
  • Comfort working with Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and other video conferencing platforms.
  • Flexibility and willingness to travel as needed.
  • Willingness to work evenings and occasional weekends to participate in events.
  • A bachelor’s degree, master’s degree preferred.

Working Conditions of Employment

This is a hybrid position, and the DAE may reside anywhere in the United States. The DAE is expected to visit and work with colleagues on all the College’s campuses as well as with alumni wherever they may be.

HUC-JIR is an Equal Opportunity Employer and complies with all applicable laws and regulations regarding equal employment opportunities. Qualified applicants are considered for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identity and expression, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or veteran status.

Mersky, Jaffe & Associates is proud of its long-term association with Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and to be conducting the search for its next Director of Alumni Engagement. If you, or someone you know, might be a suitable candidate for this position, please forward, in confidence, the person’s name, cover letter, resume, and contact information to Rachel Woda at