Daniel Och will become the chairman of the board of the Birthright Israel Foundation. Och, ranked No. 317 on the Forbes 400, which was published in September, will take over for Susie Gelman, who has held the position since 2004.
The Birthright Foundation is the entity through which all money from private donors flows into the program.
Och, the founder of Och-Ziff Capital, who was worth $1.5 billion at the time of the Forbes ranking, is also a board member of the Robin Hood Foundation and is active in the UJA-Federation of New York.
Here’s the news release.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 25, 2008
CONTACT: Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications, (202) 265-3000
Birthright Israel Foundation to Receive New Board Chair
Dan Och to replace Susie Gelman
NEW YORK, NY – Daniel Och, the Wall Street money manager, Jewish community philanthropist and a member of the board of the Birthright Israel Foundation, will become chair of that board July 1.
Since late 2004, Susie Gelman has held the position of chair of the Foundation, and presided over a board – now of 34 – that oversees the work of the Foundation. The Foundation provides the largest single component of support for Taglit-Birthright Israel trips, with a projected $62 million flowing from private philanthropists to the trip program in 2008. Increasingly, the Foundation board has taken an interest in supporting not only the trips themselves, but the continuing Jewish journeys of alumni once back in the United States. Birthright Israel NEXT has emerged as a leading provider of events, curriculum and social networking for these 130,000 highly targeted 20-somethings of American Jewish life.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to work with the outstanding board and staff of the Birthright Israel Foundation in advancing the mission of the Taglit-Birthright Israel program,” says Susie Gelman, outgoing chair of the board, “namely to strengthen Jewish identity and the younger generation’s connection to Israel and her people through the trip experience and the post-trip offerings of NEXT. I will continue to be involved in the foundation’s activities,” she said, “and I am delighted to hand over the chairmanship to my friend and fellow Birthright Israel enthusiast, Dan Och, who brings great commitment, philanthropic leadership and expansive vision to the efforts of the Birthright Israel Foundation.”
Och says he plans to continue to the raise the profile of the Birthright Israel Foundation, boost support for NEXT programming for trip alumni, and enhance the partnership between Taglit-Birthright Israel and Jewish organizations.
“Susie Gelman and I and the rest of the board have worked hard to ensure Taglit-Birthright Israel remains an extraordinarily successful program,” says Och. “I look forward to continuing this tradition, expanding on the progress we’ve already made, and ensuring that Taglit-Birthright Israel continues to bring hundreds of thousands of young Jewish adults to Israel.”
Daniel S. Och is the Chief Executive Officer, an Executive Managing Director and the founder of Och-Ziff Capital Management Group. Prior to founding the firm in 1994, Dan spent eleven years at Goldman, Sachs & Co. where he was a Vice President. In addition to serving on the Board of the Birthright Israel Foundation, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the Wall Street division of U.J.A., a member of the Board of the American Jewish Committees, a member of the Board of the Robin Hood Foundation, a Trustee of the University of Pennsylvania, a member of the Undergraduate Board of the Wharton School, a member of the Board of Endeavor, and a Trustee of New York-Presbyterian Medical Center.
The Birthright Israel Foundation, originally an American conduit for funding for the Taglit-Birthright Israel trip program, was reconceived in late 2004 with the mission of building broad-based support of the trip program and of representing the program and its need for funding with American Jewish life.
“We are so fortunate to go from strength to strength, with two inspirational, hard-working and committed leaders like Susie Gelman and Dan Och,” says Jay Golan, president of the Birthright Israel Foundation. “As the Foundation embraces new challenges in working with Jewish young adults and seeks to fund these challenges, we continue to have both role models for our alumni and respected peers of the leaders in American Jewish life.”