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Fundraisers Forum

Fundraisers Forum

Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm

The Fundraisers Forum was a three-program series.

If you did not attend but are interested in possible future forums, contact Anita Silvert at or 312.322.1707.

Spertus Institute's Center for Jewish Leadership proudly introduces the Fundraisers Forum, a professional development and network-building program.

Are you responsible for securing contributions for a Chicago-area Jewish organization? Whatever your title and wherever you sit (Executive Directors, too), this free three-part professional development series is for you!

  • Hear national leading experts on Jewish philanthropy and fundraising
  • Find out the latest trends and trajectories 
  • Meet and network with your peers from other organizations
  • Share best practices
  • Advance your professional skills
  • Leverage new knowledge to support your organization and enhance the strength, health, and vibrancy of the Jewish community

Session 1
Trends and Opportunities in American Jewish Philanthropy
Monday, November 6, 2017 — 9:00 -11:30 am

For the first installment, Vicki Agron discussed the latest trends — and the associated challenges and opportunities. 

Vicki AgronVicki Agron has worked with Jewish Federations and other nonprofits throughout the world. A month after opening Vicki Agron Consulting, LLC, her client list included local, national, and international Jewish organizations. As an executive with United Jewish Appeal and its successor organization, United Jewish Communities, she had oversight for areas that raised more than $3 billion raised annually. 

Session 2
Why I Give – A Conversation With Chicago Philanthropists About Their Giving Philosophies
Thursday, February 15, 2018 — 9:00 -11:00 am 

Participated in a conversation with two leading local philanthropists, moderated by Andrew Jacobs, as they discuss what drives their decisions to give and how you can make the most compelling ask.

Ellie FormanEllie Forman is the Corporate Community Relations Manager for Mesirow Financial, where she manages the company’s long-standing community relations efforts. Her portfolio includes both financial and human capital investments in nonprofit and community organizations including education, healthcare, and arts and culture. Forman was recognized by Crain’s Chicago Business for her work in corporate philanthropy. She currently serves on boards for the Joffrey Ballet and buildOn, an organization that empowers urban youth to transform their neighborhoods — and the world beyond — through community service.

Phyllis TabachnickPhyllis Tabachnick is a Managing Director and co-founder of The Tabachnick Oskin Group at J.P. Morgan Securities She believes passionately in giving back to the community has held leadership roles in multiple philanthropic organizations both locally and nationally, including the International Board of BBYO, Jewish Federations of North American, the Jewish Community Centers Association, Chicago’s Better Government Association and Executive Service Corps, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, and Fiedler Hillel at Northwestern University. She served as the first woman president of the Jewish Council for Youth Services and the Chair of the Governing Commission of Hillels of Illinois.

Andrew JacobsAndrew S. Jacobs is a Senior Investment Advisor and Principal in Bernstein’s Chicago office and provides investment planning, analysis and wealth management for private clients, foundations and endowments. Jacobs joined the firm as a Financial Advisor in 2005 and was named a Principal in 2008; in 2009 he was selected for the Senior Investment Advisor Group, which mentors new financial advisors. He is a board member of the Greater Chicago/Upper Midwest chapter of the Anti-Defamation League, serves on the planned giving committee of the American Society for Technion, and is a board member of Marwen, an organization providing arts education to Chicago youth. He is also a member of the professional advisory committee to the Chicago Community Trust. Jacobs is a Certified Financial Planner™. 

Session 3
No Is A Gift – Developing Relational Strategies That Keep The Conversation Going
Thursday, April 19, 2018 — 4:00-5:30 pm
Immediately followed by Jewish Community Networking Night. 

Deborah Grayson Riegel led discussions on how to view "no" as an invitation to learn about your donor and build a lasting relationship, leading to future funding and success.  

Deborah Grayson RiegelDeborah Grayson Riegel is Director of Learning at The Boda Group, where she combines expertise in cognitive, behavioral, and social psychology with public speaking prowess to teach professionals to communicate effectively. Grayson Riegel has been a featured expert and contributor to The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Forbes, Fast Company, and Bloomberg BusinessWeek. She teaches about executive communications at the Beijing International MBA Program at Peking University, China, and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

The Spertus Approach — Spertus Institute cultivates an atmosphere of lively discourse. We often hear from students and participants that their Spertus experiences are inspiring and transformative. That is by design, and it results in meaningful opportunities for personal and professional growth.

The Center for Jewish Leadership is supported by a generous grant from the Crown Family. We are grateful for their support. 

Center for Jewish Leadership

Designed for professionals and
volunteers who work for and with
Jewish organizations, the Center
for Jewish Leadership
opportunities to learn new skills,
hone existing talents, and gain
the expertise to foster a vibrant
Jewish future. Offerings include:

  • Graduate and certificate programs
  • Master classes and workshops
  • Jewish leadership series
  • Annual leadership symposium
  • Innovation and collaboration awards