The Washington-based Mayberg Foundation has expanded with the hiring of veteran Jewish education specialist Amian Frost Kelemer in the new position of director of operating programs. Kelemer, now the CEO of the Macks Center for Jewish Education in Baltimore, will begin her new role on April 27.
The Mayberg Foundation is a family foundation with both grantmaking and operating programs. Those operating programs pursue specialized goals to advance the foundation’s overarching mission — to proliferate Jewish wisdom and values in the contemporary world.
They include the Jewish Education Innovation Challenge (JEIC), which catalyzes radical improvement in Jewish day schools; MyZuzah, which provides kosher, fair trade mezuzahs to Jewish homes around the world; and an expanding portfolio of other program initiatives.
In her new position, Kelemer will oversee the Mayberg Foundation’s non-grantmaking activities.
“Kelemer is an impressive leader, known for her ability to cultivate community while simultaneously delivering tangible results,” said Mayberg Foundation Executive Director Todd J. Sukol. “Her track record of advancing a strong Jewish future speaks to the heart of our mission at the Mayberg Foundation.”
Foundation trustees Louis and Manette Mayberg are members of the Mid-Atlantic Media ownership group, publisher of WJW.
Kelemer’s responsibilities will include making sure that the staff of its in-house programs, including JEIC, have the resources they need to do their jobs effectively. She will also collaborate with senior staff on strategy and planning, oversee the allocations of resources and the management of personnel, and work with the grantmaking team to manage a portfolio of grants.
She said her experience in education has left her well-prepared to take on her new role at the Mayberg Foundation, as they have provided her with a deep and broad understanding of what works in Jewish education.
“I have held positions in all different aspects of the field, such as special education, educational resources and Israel education,” Kelemer said. “Working on initiatives across the full range of settings including informal education and schools and with colleagues locally, across North America and in Israel has given me valuable perspective.”
Sukol said the foundation achieves its objectives “both through traditional grantmaking and by building highly specialized operating programs — sort of like mini-nonprofit organizations in their own right. We’ve been deploying this strategy successfully for about 10 years and we are ready to take things to a new level.”
Kelemer has worked with the Mayberg Foundation before. Even before being hired, she had been in regular contact with staff from Mayberg’s Jewish Education Innovation Challenge.
During one discussion, the new position came up. Kelemer felt it would be a good fit for her, as she and the Mayberg Foundation are “philosophically aligned.” They believe in Jewish students having a strong grounding in Jewish text and context, in different sectors of people sharing their ideas to work together and in using innovation to disrupt the status quo and ensure Jewish experiences reach learners and participants.
“By all accounts Amian is a leader,” said Sukol. “She clearly knows how to blend the heartfelt passion of wanting to make the world better with the practical know-how to build and oversee efficient and effective processes.”