Executive Director

Hillel at the Claremont Colleges

Role Overview

As the executive director of Hillel at the Claremont Colleges, you will oversee the establishment of a newly envisioned model for Jewish campus life for the 700+ Jewish students at the 7Cs: Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College, Pitzer College, Pomona College, Scripps College, as well as the graduate schools of Claremont Graduate University and Keck Graduate Institute. 

The mission of Hillel at the Claremont Colleges is to enrich the lives of Jewish students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world. As executive director, you will support students in creating community, exploring their Jewish values, and asking the questions that matter to them most. You will work to ensure Jewish life is welcoming, non-judgmental, and life-changing. Through your leadership, Hillel will provide all students with a vibrant, diverse community in which they can bring their whole selves, while learning about Jewish customs, rituals, and values.

There are very few places where Hillel, the world’s largest and most inclusive Jewish campus organization, has the potential to make an impact as profound as the Claremont Colleges. This consortium of Colleges has adjoining campuses within one square mile in the town of Claremont, located 35 miles east of Los Angeles. The Fiske Guide to Colleges describes the consortium as "a collection of intellectual resources unmatched in America." No other city in the United States can boast five colleges in the top forty US News and World Report list of the best small liberal arts colleges. Moreover, Claremont sits on the edge of the third largest Jewish metropolitan area in the world; more Jews live in Los Angeles than in Tel Aviv.

Background

This will be the first executive director for Hillel at the Claremont Colleges independent from the Jewish Chaplaincy at the Claremont Colleges. In the 1970s, the Colleges expanded their Chaplaincy program to include a Jewish Chaplain, who also was assigned the role of Hillel Director. The Los Angeles Hillel Council (LAHC), a Los Angeles Jewish Federation network of LA-area Hillels, partnered with the Colleges to support the Hillel program and share the cost of the Jewish Chaplain/Hillel Director. 

In 2012, each Hillel within the network became an independent entity as the LAHC dissolved. The Claremont Colleges Consortium then began to cover the full cost of the Jewish Chaplain while the Hillel, governed by a Jewish faculty advisory group, would provide funding for student programs. In early 2023, the faculty determined that for Hillel to flourish and grow, it would need to develop a new governing board composed primarily of alumni and parents and to hire an executive director who works independently from and in conjunction with the Jewish Chaplain. 

The Colleges and the Jewish Chaplain support a transition to the newly envisioned model of an independent Hillel, distinct from the Chaplaincy. As the new model is implemented, the executive director will work collaboratively with the Jewish Chaplain to ensure the needs of Jewish students are met and programming roles and responsibilities are clearly defined.

This new vision of Hillel as an independent, growth-oriented and student-centered organization will be activated by a three-year, $800,000 Transformation Fund established by the new board of directors and a group of external stakeholders. The executive director will work in partnership with the board to engage new donors to grow the operation from an initial budget of $350,000 to over $600,000. The first phase of growth will include hiring a full staff of 2-3 program professionals and an operations associate. The executive director will also  work with the board on securing a temporary facility near campus to serve as Hillel’s base of operations and a destination for Jewish students to gather for programs. The next phase of growth will include building an endowment fund to perpetually provide for staff and programming, as well as a capital campaign to acquire or build a permanent facility.

By realizing this new vision, the Claremont Colleges have the potential to become a magnet for Jewish students. But currently many prospective students who consider the Claremont Colleges choose other schools with stronger Jewish programming. Additionally, many Jewish students have been discriminated against and have had their Jewish identity stigmatized and politicized on campus. The executive director will serve as their chief advocate in working with campus administrators, student government representatives, and local partner organizations to ensure that Jewish students are as included and welcomed on campus as any other group. Hillel’s executive director will work to ensure that each of the Colleges is a place where Jewish students feel comfortable and proud to express their Jewish identity and feel supported in their Jewish journeys.

The Successful Candidate

Under your leadership, Hillel at the Claremont Colleges will flourish as a Hillel of excellence. You’ll chart a new path for Hillel at the Claremont Colleges and develop key resources to help students thrive. The successful candidate possesses a high level of broad leadership and management skills and is effective at generating resources and financial support for the organization. You’ll succeed in this role if you are passionate about leading a team, setting the strategic vision for your Hillel, developing human and financial resources, supporting students, and strengthening the ties between Hillel and your community.

What You’ll Do

Strategic Planning, Vision, and Leadership

  • Develop, articulate and promote a dynamic and innovative vision for Jewish life in partnership with all stakeholders, including students, staff, faculty, board of directors, alumni, parents, and Hillel International.  
  • Ensure that resources match the mission and vision in implementing new initiatives and sustaining ongoing programs.
  • Partner with staff and students to create pluralistic, inclusive, innovative Jewish education and programming on campus, engaging with and encouraging students to develop a meaningful and enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning, and Israel.
  • Build multiple, diverse points of entry to Jewish life for students at each of the Colleges.
  • Work with the board of directors and its committees to enhance and  implement the strategic plan.
  • Participate in the creation of and take responsibility for the implementation of all board policies and staffing of all board committees.
  • Partner with Hillel International to ensure that Hillel at the Claremont Colleges remains committed to the global vision of the Hillel movement.

Fundraising 

  • Create, drive, and oversee a fundraising strategy that leverages the local and national network of community members, alumni, and parents.
  • Develop and implement a robust multi-faceted annual development plan.
  • Personally engage in fundraising with major donors and grant organizations as well as develop additional revenue sources. 

Staff Supervision & Development

  • Inspire, develop, supervise, and mentor a professional staff team that delivers on a vision of pluralism, inclusivity, and student leadership development in order to deepen students’ relationships to Jewish life, Jewish learning, and Israel. 
  • Work closely with the senior leadership team to ensure success at every level of the organization.
  • Establish a culture of professional development and growth.

Stakeholder Relations

  • Develop collaborative relationships with the Jewish Chaplain, key administrators at each of the Colleges, and at The Claremont Colleges Services. 
  • Exhibit organizational and communal leadership by cultivating relationships with all stakeholders, including student and university leaders, Jewish community leaders in Los Angeles County, as well as alumni and parents across the country. 
  • Serve as Hillel at the Claremont Colleges’s primary spokesperson to the organization’s constituents, the media, and the general public, engaging the community in the importance of Hillel’s mission and purpose.
  • Create a culture of shared responsibility and engagement among members of the board of directors and cultivate relationships with prospective board members who can provide generative and strategic leadership.
  • Ensure the student engagement strategy is dynamic, inclusive, and successful in meeting its goals.
  • Have your pulse on the changing needs of Jewish college students, Jewish identity development, and campus climate.

Financial Management

  • Ensure the fiscal integrity of Hillel at the Claremont Colleges, including compliance, accurate and timely submission of a proposed annual budget and financial statements to the Board.
  • Manage all the financials responsibly, operating within the approved budget, ensuring maximum resource utilization, and keeping the organization in a positive financial position.

What You’ve Accomplished

  • Led organizations or programs with a proven and measurable track record of innovation and sustainable growth. 
  • Managed and supervised a team of professionals in an exemplary manner to accomplish their best work and develop their potential. 
  • Successfully partnered with a non-profit board of directors, granting foundations, and grant issuing organizations. 
  • Ensured sound financial management practices including budgeting and cost controls.
  • Demonstrated personal fundraising experience cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding donors.
  • Executed against a strategic plan for an organization or projects, with measurable goals, and successfully implemented and evaluated that plan. 
  • Bachelor’s degree required, Master’s degree preferred. We will consider a range of candidates’ experiences and credentials.

What You’ll Bring to the Job

  • Charismatic leadership with a drive for success, resilience, and adaptability.
  • An attitude of proactive communication and collaboration across offices and agencies.
  • Solid organizational skills, including planning, attention to detail, multitasking, and prioritization.
  • Capacity to create space for a diversity of perspectives and allow all voices of students and staff to be heard. 
  • Strong entrepreneurial spirit with proven fundraising and financial management skills. 
  • An inspiring presence which will help others to deepen their interest in Jewish life and the ability to listen to and build relationships with college students.
  • Strong relationship building skills and comfort working with diverse populations different from your own.
  • A nuanced understanding of Judaism, Israel, and antisemitism in a way that is approachable and meets students at various points in their personal Jewish journey. 
  • A joyful spirit and enthusiasm for the work of community building.

What You’ll Receive

  • Competitive salary in the non-profit marketplace. The salary range for this role is $135,000 to $145,000 depending upon skills, qualifications, and experience.
  • Retirement plan, life insurance, long term disability (LTD), vacation/sick time, and parental leave. 
  • Professional development, mentoring, and skill building opportunities.
  • Opportunities for travel throughout the U.S. and to Israel.
  • A supportive and committed board of lay leaders.

About Hillel at the Claremont Colleges

Hillel at the Claremont Colleges welcomes students of all backgrounds to connect with their Jewish peers to build community around shared values. We are committed to providing a fun, diverse, welcoming and inclusive Jewish community for the 7Cs. We aim to create a united community that accepts a diversity of ideas and viewpoints. We promote social action and awareness of international and domestic issues, provide Jewish education and leadership opportunities, and foster a distinct Jewish identity in every student. We encourage students to engage with the aspects of their Judaism including those that relate to Israel, religion, spirituality, and their shared Jewish peoplehood.

Hillel at the Claremont Colleges is affiliated with Hillel International. Hillel International enriches the lives of Jewish students so they may enrich the Jewish people and the world, and envisions a world where every student is inspired to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and Israel.

If you have any questions about this role please contact: 

Merrie Gebhardt – Director, Executive Talent Management, Hillel International.

About Hillel International

In 1923, Rabbi Benjamin Frankel started Hillel with humble means, a noble mission and a breathtaking vision: to convey Jewish civilization to a new generation. Today, Hillel International continues to enrich the lives of Jewish students and is the largest Jewish campus organization in the world at more than 550 colleges and universities across North America and around the world. As Hillel evolves as an organization, the mission remains steadfast: to create lasting connections with every Jewish student that foster an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning, and Israel and train them to become the next Jewish leaders.

Hillel is an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to creating an accepting and inclusive environment for all.

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