This week, after 25 years at the helm of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Sandy Cardin announced that he will be stepping down as President. He will continue to serve as a Senior Advisor to the Schusterman family.
In a letter to staff and colleagues, Sandy shared, “As I reflect back on my career, it is hard to believe my good fortune. I was ecstatic when the opportunity to work for Charles and Lynn first arose, an offer of a lifetime I am exceedingly happy I accepted. In what was a harbinger of things to come, the Schustermans placed great trust in a young Jewish professional and helped me grow at the same rapid pace as the foundation itself. They motivated, inspired and empowered me, lessons I have since tried to apply to our work and share with other young adults whenever and wherever possible.”
Stacy Schusterman, Chair of the Foundation, wrote, “Sandy’s contributions to the Foundation and to our family’s philanthropy have been immeasurable. His astute perspective and foresight have pushed us all to think bigger, to explore new areas and to take smarter risks when it comes to addressing longstanding challenges in Tulsa, the Jewish community and Israel, as well as to touching the lives of hundreds of thousands of young Jews around the world.”
Sandy joined the Schusterman Family Foundation in 1994 as Executive Director. He worked closely with Charles Schusterman (z”l) to shape his philanthropic vision and, after Charles died, helped to expand the Foundation under Lynn’s and now Stacy’s leadership.
Since then, the Foundation has grown from a small Tulsa-based team to a global foundation with nearly 70 staff and offices in the U.S. and Israel.
Sandy has been deeply invested in the Foundation’s work in the Jewish community, Israel and Tulsa, OK. He helped spin out BBYO from B’nai B’rith into an independent, thriving organization; develop initiatives like STAR to transform synagogues; encouraged us to make big bets on organizations like Birthright, Hillel and Moishe House; grew our programmatic work through ROI, REALITY and the Schusterman Fellowship; and expanded our investments in Israel through the Haruv Institute, Jerusalem Season of Culture and others. He was also instrumental in creating the Tarrytown and Westbury groups to ensure deeper collaboration among foundations, federations and Jewish institutions and, most recently, in building Leading Edge to help establish a critical leadership pipeline in the Jewish community.
“I depart humbled by the risk the Schusterman family took bringing me on board, inspired by their unwavering commitment to tikkun olam and encouraged by their dedication to the Jewish people and the State of Israel,” Sandy said. “I am also excited to see what the future holds for the Foundation to which I dedicated so much of my life and to watch the continued growth of the teammates alongside whom I have enjoyed working, many since my earliest days in Tulsa.”
In the U.S., Lisa Eisen, who has been with the Foundation for nearly 18 years, most recently as Vice President, will become President of our U.S. Jewish portfolio, which includes our Jewish and Israel Education grantmaking, the Schusterman Fellowship and the REALITY program. Lisa has been instrumental in shaping the growth of the Foundation’s Jewish portfolio, particularly in the areas of service and social justice; diversity, equity and inclusion; and Israel education and engagement.
Julie Mikuta will become President of our U.S. Education portfolio, which she has helped to build over the past five years with particular emphasis on investing in effective efforts to support excellent teaching and school leadership capable of ensuring that students, especially those in low-income communities of color, are prepared for success in college and careers. David Weil, who joined the team last April, will continue serving as our Chief Operating Officer, overseeing our operations and areas of our U.S. general grantmaking.
In Israel, Ohad Reifen is joining the Schusterman team as CEO of the Jerusalem-based Israel office. Ohad previously served as Vice President of Strategy at Start Up Nation Central and in senior policy planning positions in Israel’s Ministry of Finance. Ohad will help to significantly expand our grantmaking and grow the impact we are making in Israel.
Justin Korda will continue to serve as Executive Director of our Israel work and to lead the ROI Community, as he has done so ably for the past 12 years. In addition to our commitment to continuing the work we are currently doing through the Schusterman Foundation-Israel and ROI Community, we plan to build our grantmaking portfolio to invest in areas that aim to preserve Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.
As we enter 2019, our philanthropic vision remains grounded in a commitment to pursue justice, repair the world and treat all people with dignity and civility. We are grateful for our professional team, grantees and partners who work hard every day to improve lives, strengthen communities and reduce inequality.
Thank you, Sandy, for 25 years of leadership, partnership and friendship. We look forward to celebrating your legacy, continuing our relationship with you and building on the amazing course you charted for the Foundation.