Jewish Funders Network president to step down

The president of the Jewish Funders Network, Mark Charendoff, will step down at the end of the calendar year, according to a letter the organization’s chairman sent out to JFN members just before Rosh Hashanah.

Charendoff has led the JFN, an organization for those who give $25,000 or more per year to Jewish charities, for the past nine years.

“I write to you today to announce that Mark Charendoff has decided after nincne years at the helm to resign fmro his positon as president and CEO of JFN, effective Dec. 31st 2010,” Murray Galinson wrote in the letter acquired by JTA’s former director of digital media, Daniel Sieradski, which he published via Twitter. “Always a proponent of change, Mark want to take some time off to consider his next career move.”

According to the letter, the JFN’s vice chair, Steve Geringer, will lead a search committee to find Charendoff’s replacement.

The announcement came the day after Charendoff wrote an Op-Ed in The New York Jewish Week stating he felt that no CEO of a Jewish organization should stay in office for longer than 10 years:

Too many agencies are becoming extensions of the CEO — their personality, their ideas, their friends in the lay leadership and like-minded professionals in senior positions. Yes, there are exceptions, but if government has taught us anything it’s that we should not legislate for the exception to the rule.

I realize that the analogy is not a perfect one as we have elected (I use the term loosely) officials at the heads of our agencies who often have term limits — our volunteer lay leadership. But that analogy is imperfect as well. The elections that placed those lay leaders in their positions don’t often enjoy wide participation. And our professionals usually enjoy far greater power and authority than a bureaucrat serving an elected official. Think of five major national Jewish agencies; can you name their top lay leader? (I didn’t think so.)

How long is too long at the top? I’m not dogmatic, but eight to 10 years feels like it’s enough. While it may seem a short time, it should. We should feel a pressure to achieve our agenda, to affect change.

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