I am still on vacation, but my inbox has been flooded with reaction to the seemingly abrupt decision to close down the Professional Leaders Project.
The five-year old organization, founded by Bill Davidson, Michael Steinhardt/Jewish Life Network/Steinhardt Foundation, Eugene & Marcia Applebaum, Charles & Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and its executive director Rhoda Weisman, used conferences and summits to try to educate and cultivate young Jewish lay and professional leaders.
But Wednesday, Weisman sent out the following e-mail announcing that the initiative was closing by the end of the month: [[READMORE]]
Thank you so very much for your involvement with the Professional Leaders Project (PLP). As you know, PLP is the first high-end Talent pool of outstanding volunteer and professional leaders, in their mid-20’s – early 30’s for the American Jewish community. PLP’s impact has been highly acclaimed by key foundations, organizations and top community leaders across the country. You are part of PLP’s cornerstone leadership initiatives that have put Gen Y Talent on the national agenda, and include the biennial national ThinkTank conferences, LiveNetworks, and the prestigious Academic Fellowship.
Unfortunately, due to the economic climate, PLP will phase out its formal operations effective August 31, 2009. While we hope to resume it in the future with the support of the community and our active group of philanthropists, PLP will continue to live on through its professional and volunteer Talent in new and established organizations.
PLP has been made possible by the extraordinary vision and support of its Co-Founders: William M. Davidson (z"l), Michael Steinhardt/The Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life, Eugene & Marcia Applebaum, Charles & Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and Robert P. Aronson.
The Jewish community’s greatest resource is its human capital and PLP has identified, trained and placed Gen Y Talent in top leadership roles across the country. The investment in PLP and its Talent will be a lasting one.
I will be available full-time throughout the year to be of assistance, and I will follow up with our Talent and partners individually in the coming days, as will Sara Myers Allen. In the meantime, we have answered key questions in the following.
PLP will fulfill its commitment to cover tuition for the 7 current Academic Fellows, and I will continue to be available for mentoring, coaching and placement. I know that you, as well as PLP’s Academic Fellow Alumni, will fulfill your commitment to work as change agents in the Jewish community for a minimum of 3 years post-graduation. I know the impact you all will have as executives, and have every confidence that as you continue your careers you will continue to shine.
LiveNetwork 2009 and ThinkTank 4 Talent
Although you will not have the opportunity to participate in LiveNetworks, you are still part of a vibrant Talent network, and thank you very much for your having chosen to be included in this initiative. Many apologies that PLP is unable to continue its efforts at this time. Your Hub Directors and I will be following up with you individually and please feel free to contact us with any questions. All of you will receive the registration fees you have paid to PLP on or before Monday, August 31, 2009. See below for ThinkTank 4 reimbursement information.
ThinkTank 4 Talent
If you have already purchased a ticket for ThinkTank 4, PLP will reimburse a change or cancellation fee, within reason. Please submit electronic receipts to Sara Myers Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org. We prefer that you submit receipts as soon as possible, and no later than Friday, August 28, 2009.
ThinkTank 4 Scholars-in-Residence/Faculty
For any of you that have purchased an airline ticket for ThinkTank 4, please contact Sara Myers Allen by email to discuss next steps, no later than Friday, August 28, 2009.
LiveNetwork 2006 and 2007 and General Talent
To our fabulous Talent, I am so happy for you, and proud of you regarding all you have accomplished as Jewish leaders. May you continue to make a huge, lasting and positive impact on the Jewish community. Your Hub Directors and I will be following up with you individually and please feel free to contact us with any questions. I will also be available throughout the year to help connect you with mentors, organizations, peers and whatever else you may need so you continue to grow and contribute.
Mentors and Community Leaders
I would like you know much your passion, experience, wisdom and support have meant to Talent, the community, and to me. You have been tremendous partners and models for PLP Talent. You have also been champions for PLP’s mission from the beginning, and I believe you will continue to see the impact of the Talent through the positive changes they make in our Jewish community.
The Jewish community’s greatest resource is its human capital and PLP has identified, trained and placed Gen Y Talent in top leadership roles across the country. I know the investment in PLP and its Talent will be a lasting one.
With much warmth and great appreciation,
*For any and all questions, please contact me directly – my contact information is below. Please also watch for a continued presence on PLP’s website, Facebook and Twitter.
Rhoda M. Weisman
PLP Founding Executive Director
Sara Myers Allen
PLP Managing Director
I will try to find out more when I am back in the office next week, but there is some speculation that the closure has to do with Davidson’s recent death and that his money is now tied up as his estate is being fiugred out. But take that for speculation as of now.
The closure also happens a couple of months before the PLP’s next summit, and I am sure that there will be uproar from those who have already made their travel arrangements. This is not a total shock, though. I spoke with Weisman several months ago about PLP’s need to cut costs. The organization was already cutting back on its stipends for participants.