JF&CS Annual Meeting: Celebrating an Impactful Year

June 01, 2023

JF&CS Annual Meeting: Celebrating an Impactful Year

Above: Immediate Past Board Chair Rashelle Berry with newly-elected Board Chair Jon Amsler

On May 19, JF&CS held its 2023 Annual Meeting at The Temple. The beautiful ballroom was filled with proud staff, board members, and community leaders to celebrate the agency's accomplishments from the previous year. Rashelle Berry was recognized for her inspiring leadership over the last 2 years as Board Chair, along with the four board members who were completing their service: Jeff Alperin, David Horwitz, Lauren Abraham Mahoney, and Rabbi Steven Rau.

“We are not the same JF&CS as a result of Rashelle’s leadership,” said CEO Terri Bonoff. “Our board membership has been infused with the vitality she has brought.”

Terri highlighted the establishment of the Horwitz-Zusman Child & Family Center as one of the great accomplishments of the previous year. She also shared that the renovation of the Center would be completed this coming year thanks to the generosity of several philanthropic funders including Ann Kay — in honor of her husband and former JF&CS President Michael Kay (of blessed memory). Ann’s gift joins the funds donated by the Horwitz and Zusman families and other prominent non-sectarian Foundations in Atlanta.

CEO Terri Bonoff, Ann Kay, Former CEO Gary Miller

Last year’s award winner, Deborah Jacobs, presented Scott Rittenberg with the Herbert Kohn Meritorious Service Award, which honors one dedicated Board member who has made a significant contribution to furthering the mission and goals of the agency through either committee or project related work. Deborah shared the many reasons why Scott was the perfect person to receive the award this year.

“Four years ago, he began his role as an officer and less than a year later, JF&CS faced the unprecedented crisis of COVID. (Scott) advised JF&CS executives on how the agency could balance on a financial tight rope while still serving our clients. Staff and board members consistently note his empathy, kindness and collaboration. The core values of JF&CS are a part of his daily walk. JF&CS is a better and stronger agency today because of his outstanding service,” she said.

Terri and Scott Rittenberg, 2023 Herbert Kohn Meritorious Service Award winner

The coveted Stacy G. Fialkow Staff Development & Appreciation Award was awarded to a staff member who has given 47 years of dedicated service to the Ben Massell Dental Clinic: Practice Manager Barbara Jones.

Anat Granath, last year’s recipient, presented the award to Barbara and shared the following about her:

“She’s been an integral part of the success of hundreds of dental students and dental assistants, as well as hundreds of thousands of patients. She knows each patient and shows compassion for everyone. In her 47 years at the Ben Massell Dental Clinic, she’s orchestrated millions of volunteer dentist hours and dental procedures worth billions.”

Her supervisor, Melissa DaSilva, said, “Barbara is the heart of our work at the BMDC. Multiple generations of dentists have been nurtured by her and through her leadership. Her love for the clinic, our volunteers, and patients come through in all her actions and words. She’s without a doubt the heart and MVP of the clinic.”

Tears were on display from many staff members, as the award was so richly deserved. It is presented yearly to recognize exemplary service, and when Barbara accepted, she remarked that “doing what I’ve done for 47 years comes naturally, because giving to those less fortunate is my passion- I’m ready for chapter 48!” before thanking Executive Director of Health Services Melissa DaSilva and Terri for their support.

Melissa DaSilva and Barbara Jones, 2023 Stacy G. Fialkow Staff Development & Appreciation Award winner

The next motion of business was inducting the new board.

The Executive Board for the 2023 - 2025 term are Jon Amsler, Board Chair; Deborah Jacobs, Vice Chair; Kim Kopelman, Secretary; Carly Siegel, Treasurer; Gennye Krasner, Assistant Treasurer; Scott Rittenberg, Chair, Resource Development; Todd Surden, Chair, Board Governance; and Rashelle Berry, Immediate Past Chair.

General Board Members include Lauren Abes, Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder, Sid Besmertnik, Dexter Caffey, Jay Cranman, Ellen Feinsand, Jennifer Feld, Billie Greenberg, Mimi Hall, Ann Kay, Sara Kogon, Bruce Lindemann, David Poline, Victoria Raggs, Phil Ventimiglia, and Suzy Wilner.

Congratulations to all!

Newly-elected Board Chair Jon Amsler noted some priorities for his term. “One key area identified in both our strategic plan and the capacity building plan was a need to improve technology,” he said. “Implementing new systems will give us the much-needed ability to integrate client intake, better tracking and report outcomes, and tie support services to existing clients in other programs.”

“Investing in technology is not sexy and does not make headlines, but we must do it and we especially need your support in this area,” said John. “We are focused on these things for one reason: to enhance how we serve our clients … always with respect, and loving kindness, trying only to allow each person to ‘live their best life.’”

“It is an honor to lead this dynamic agency,” finished John. “Our world is changing rapidly, but JF&CS is keeping up. We are strong; we are providing badly needed services to our community, and we have the best executive leadership, professionals, donors and volunteers.”

In Rashelle’s closing remarks, she shared her personal connection to the meaningful work of JF&CS. “When my mother’s parents immigrated to the United States after surviving the Holocaust, they were settled by Jewish Family Services,” she said. “I am intimately aware that as we at JF&CS work to provide services to our community in need, our clients and volunteers will become the leaders of the next generation. Serving as your Board Chair has been the true honor and privilege of my life.”

As the morning at The Temple concluded, the room was abuzz with friends and colleagues celebrating accomplishments, honoring commitments, and looking forward to the year ahead.