Making a gift to the Jewish Collaborative Services’ CEO’s office was a “no-brainer” for both Jeff Padwa, outgoing JCS president, and Marisa Garber, JCS president-elect. “Erin [Minior] is truly the heart and soul of the agency. Erin is so efficient that my job is incredibly easy; working with her is a true partnership,” says Marisa, who served as president of Jewish Family Services during the lengthy and complex discussions that eventually led to the merger of JFS and Jewish Seniors Agency (JSA) and the creation of JCS. “I could think of no better way to honor Erin than to give this gift.”
Jeff, who had been president of the JSA board before and during the merger negotiations, concurred. “Erin has had the responsibility for integrating the two agencies and operating JCS. The buck stops with her and she has done a remarkable job,” he said. Originally named the interim CEO of JCS, Erin “was a rock star; she won over each and every JSA board member,” he recalled. “Erin has a heart of gold and knows how to apply the right touch when dealing with people and can make tough decisions.”
Jeff and Marisa’s gift in honor of Erin will be memorialized with a plaque outside of Erin’s office. In addition, Marisa and Jeff will be among the many donors recognized on JCS’ donor wall.
It’s very rare that two nonprofit organizations merge, given that mergers demand extraordinarily challenging commitments from key staff and lay leaders: Integrating two sets of staff and two boards; developing a single budget and a human resources policy; creating a new vision; and developing a new culture; all while committing to open and honest communications and putting aside hurt egos and territoriality is no easy lift. This merger – one that had been discussed many times over the years but never brought to fruition – came about thanks to the combined efforts of Jeff and Marisa, as well as the entire Partnership Committee, and other key stakeholders.
“Jeff and Marisa were extraordinarily thoughtful and perceptive leaders throughout every step of the negotiations. Each of them led their respective boards and the Partnership Committee with wisdom, sensitivity, tact and extraordinary patience,” said Erin. “I am so grateful to them for their contributions of wisdom and work. Their generous financial gift is especially rewarding and humbling; it reinforces my belief that JCS has the right partners in place to continue to grow our agency.”
Now that JCS has a long-range plan and a development plan, Jeff plans to remain on the board, one that he hopes younger members of the Jewish community will join. “We built this agency for the community, and we need young people to serve in this exciting opportunity,” said Jeff. “People [who serve on the JCS board] can really make a difference.”
As incoming president, Marisa anticipates continuing to build on the strong relationships that JCS has with other social service agencies in the community, and increase the agency’s visibility to ensure that JCS serves as the primary resource and point of entry for social services in the Jewish community and beyond.
Interested in serving on our JCS Board? Contact Marisa Garber at email@example.com; individuals who wish to make donations may contact Sara Ades Goodwin at (401) 331-1244, ext. 362.