SPRINGFIELD – After six years as director of the Jewish Endowment Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, Scott Kaplan is leaving to take over as president and CEO of the Tidewater Jewish Foundation in Virginia Beach/Norfolk, Virginia.
Linda Minoff, former executive director of Lander-Grinspoon Academy in Northampton, has been named Interim Endowment Director of the Jewish Endowment Foundation. She has served on the Jewish Endowment board for the past two years.
“I am so very proud of Scott,” said Meredith Dragon, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts. “This is a wonderful professional opportunity for him. It is always a pleasure to see someone with whom you have worked closely grow and develop in his career. I know there are good things to come for Scott and his family. They will be missed in western Massachusetts.”
Kaplan said that he is working together with Minoff to ensure a smooth transition before his last day at the Foundation, which will be Oct. 24. “I am confident that we are leaving things in good hands with Linda’s leadership, knowledge and experience, along with the continuity of the professional staff here in Western Massachusetts,” he said.
In Virginia, Kaplan will succeed Philip Rovner, president and CEO of the Tidewater Jewish Foundation for the past 18 years, who retired at the end of this June.
“I have known him as a colleague, a peer and a mentor in the field for the past seven years,” Kaplan said.
Kaplan said that Rovner told him a year ago at a professional conference that he was retiring and that Kaplan should consider applying for the position. At the time Kaplan was not interested and did not pursue the job.
This past summer, Kaplan was approached by a search firm in New York that was conducting a national search to fill the position.
“They came to me; I wasn’t looking,” Kaplan said. “It was a random email and I said, ‘I don’t think I can ignore this a second time.”
Kaplan interviewed for the job over the summer and was offered the job Aug. 21.
“I sat on it for a while because it wasn’t something I was looking for. I decided to throw my hat in the ring and every step along the way it was, ‘Okay, this is becoming a little bit more real.’ But it wasn’t real until I got the offer. And even then it was not an easy decision. “We thought, ‘Do we really want to move? What does this mean for our family? What does this mean professionally?” Kaplan explained. “So it was a very bittersweet, difficult decision for us. As a family, we have really grown to love this area. We have been living here in Longmeadow for 12 years.”
While serving as director of the Endowment Foundation, Kaplan, a Boston native and graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, helped launch and implement several initiatives, including the highly successful Create a Jewish Legacy program in cooperation with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.
He worked closely with the Federation to implement a model of financial resource development, which has led to the creation of 67 new Perpetual Annual Campaign Endowment (PACE) commitments. According to Dragon and Wintman, Kaplan helped to grow the overall assets of the endowment from $28 million in 2008 to more than $41 million today.
“This job and this Jewish community have allowed me to grow tremendously, personally and professionally, and I am appreciative of the opportunity the Western Massachusetts Jewish community has provided for me and my family,” Kaplan said.
Kaplan gave seven weeks notice when he decided to take the job in Virginia. Early on he met with Dragon, Wintman, Federation President Susan Firestone and Steven Balicki, CFO of the Federation, to discuss short-term and long-term plans for the Endowment Foundation. They quickly reached out to Minoff to offer her the interim position.
An attorney, Minoff, who lives in Florence with her husband, Keith Minoff, served as executive director at Lander-Grinspoon Academy in Northampton for a year, handling operations and development, later consulting for the day school. Prior to that, she was at Deerfield Academy, where she was director of planned giving for 6 ½ years. She is a founder of LGA, from which her three children graduated.
One of Minoff’s first missions as interim director of the foundation will be attending the General Assembly (GA) of the Jewish Federations of North America with Dragon and several lay leaders.
“The Endowment Foundation has done a wonderful job under Scott’s leadership,” Minoff said. “I am looking to continue that and hopefully attract new funds so that we can have an even impact on the community.”
“I am excited to have the opportunity to work with Linda,” Dragon stated. “She is a wonderful professional who will be a great asset to our staff.”