07 March 2023
The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington is excited to welcome Drew Greenwald to The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington team. He brings years of experience to the role of Director, Donor Engagement, Next Gen from the Greater Pittsburgh Federation and has a deep desire to build relationships and believes deeply in the power of volunteering and is excited to be making an impact in Jewish Greater Washington and beyond. We sat down with Drew to learn more about his background and what he’s looking forward to accomplishing in his new role.
Tell us about your background.
I was born and raised in Western Pennsylvania and have spent the better part of the last decade in Pittsburgh. I studied Political Science and Philosophy in college, and I also have a Master’s in History. For the last three and half years, I worked for the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh in their Young Adult Division where I managed their fundraising and donor engagement efforts around National Young Leadership Cabinet and Ben-Gurion Society. Before I worked for Federation, I spent most of my career in the Public Sector, holding positions across city and state governments.
What’s your personal Federation story?
I actually didn’t grow up connected to the broader Jewish Communal World. My father’s family was Jewish and my mother’s family was not. Unfortunately, my father passed away when I was very young, and I didn’t have an opportunity to explore my Jewish identity as a child. In my early adulthood, I reconnected with my father’s side of the family and my Jewish roots. Once I met my extended Jewish family, including my now 96–year–old Jewish aunt (adorable photo of us included here), I realized that I was always Jewish and just didn’t know it. I formally converted in my mid-20s and have spent the majority of my volunteer and professional time since then working for the betterment of our community. Because of my background, I don’t take my role in the community for granted, and shortly after moving back to Pittsburgh in 2019, I applied for a Development Associate position with the Pittsburgh Federation. I quickly fell in love with the mission, values, and work of the Federation system, and I see myself working for our community for years to come.
What attracted you to the role of Director, Donor Engagement, Next Gen?
I am excited to take the skills I’ve been developing in my time in the Federation system to the next level. The more I learned about the team here in DC and how I could contribute to this community the more I realized this was the right time for me to pursue this opportunity. Sarah Green (Federation’s Director of Donor Engagement, The Network) has done such outstanding work positioning this department as one of the best across the Federation system and I am excited to build on her legacy.
What do you see as the greatest opportunity for Next Gen at this pivotal time?
In Judaism, we talk a lot about l’dor v’dor (from generation to generation) and through this role, I get to work with my peers and advocate for the importance of our community. That is a responsibility that I do not take lightly. The truth is, Federation is the best way for young Jews to use their voices to make real, lasting change for good within our community and around the world. We need our next generation of leaders to use their unique voices to help shape the future of Judaism. I’m excited to work with the Next Gen in DC and talk with them about how they can use their time and philanthropy to create a world that reflects their values.
“The truth is, Federation is the best way for young Jews to use their voices to make real, lasting change for good within our community and around the world.”
What is it about working in the Jewish communal world that you’re most excited about?
I love having the opportunity to build authentic relationships with lay leaders. The most rewarding part of the job to me is watching individuals change and grow and knowing that I played a positive role in their journey in the community. I really view volunteering and philanthropy as a way for us all to help repair the world, and it is an honor for me to help others see that for themselves. DC also has a natural ability to attract very talented young leaders, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with you all!
What do you like to do in your time away from the office?
In my free time I love nurturing animals and friendships and I am also super excited to explore all that DC has to offer! I’m also a fan of football (GO BILLS!), soccer and tennis, and I am a movie nerd.