20 February 2020
The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington is pleased to welcome Sarah Green to our professional team as the new Director of Young Leadership. Learn more about Sarah’s background and what she’s looking forward to accomplishing in her new role.
Tell us about your background.
I’m coming to The Jewish Federation from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF), where I spent my time fundraising, managing committees, and event planning. I found my passion with the young professional cohort by working on a fantastic fundraising and professional development campaign called “Metro DC’s Finest.” Before CFF, I worked at Achilles International, a track club in New York City for athletes with disabilities, where I planned their annual gala and wrote grant proposals. Although this is my first professional foray into the Jewish world, it feels like a very natural transition for me. I was raised by my synagogue in Northwest New Jersey, the MetroWest Federation, and my local Jewish Community Center. I also had a very typical and wonderful camp and Hebrew school experience. My personal values have really been shaped by my Jewish upbringing.
What’s your personal Federation story?
My family has been supporting Federation for four generations. My grandma has a tzedakah box that belonged to her mother, an original United Jewish Appeal tzedakah box from the 1930s, that my family calls “the pushke.” And of course, we believe it has magical powers. All my cousins call Grandma when we have a major life event coming up. She’ll say the Shema, the Hebrew prayer, and put 18 cents in the pushke for you. Without fail, your wish will come true. Applying to colleges? Call Grandma. Have a job interview? Call Grandma. (She put in $3.60 when I was interviewing for this position, so it obviously worked very well.) Once the pushke is full, Grandma donates the contents to her local Federation in New York City. Stories like this remind us that it is our responsibility to continue the legacy of Jewish philanthropy for future generations. We all need something that we can count on, whether it’s the magical powers of a Grandma’s pushke or the support of a your local Federation and a strong Jewish community.
What attracted you to the role of Director of Young Leadership?
I’ve been fundraising my whole career and really found my niche with this Young Leadership age group. I feel very comfortable speaking with my peers about how they can live their Jewish values through philanthropy. Whether they’re passionate about Israel, Jewish education and identity, or diversity and inclusion, Federation is the ideal vehicle to channel that spirit into real, lasting change. I’m especially excited to play this role in Washington, DC. From our nation’s capital, Federation is uniquely positioned to change not only our local community, but the global Jewish community as well. DC also attracts an influx of rising young leaders every year. I’m eager to bring them into Federation’s fold and see what we can accomplish together.
What do you see as the greatest opportunity for Young Leadership at this pivotal time?
The Young Leadership generation is critical for our community. It is our responsibility to take the values of the past and pass them down to the next generation to come. That’s why cultivating leaders among this cohort is so important. People in their 20s and 30s are pioneering different ways of leading in our communities. We’re communicating in new ways, we’re leveraging technology, and we’re certainly not apt to following old rules. We need to harness this innovation and direct it to our Jewish community. We also know that young leaders represent a wide diversity of demographics, including Jewish singles, young professionals, families with young children, and adults caring for elderly relatives. Looking at that range, we can see that young leaders represent the interests of virtually every member of Jewish Greater Washington. Young leaders need our community, and our community needs young leaders. It’s a vital symbiotic relationship. Through Federation, we can make sure that it’s a thriving and productive one.
What is it about working in the Jewish communal world that you’re most excited about?
Because I grew up in the Jewish community, I feel like I’m coming home—but to a home that I can help shape. Jewish values of mitzvot and tikkun olam (repairing the world) were instilled in me early on—that’s why I wanted to work for Federation. And I can’t wait to create opportunities for Greater Washington’s young leaders to reflect their values through Federation. I’m looking forward to having conversations about all the ways young leaders can engage with Federation and our community, especially through philanthropic giving. Where people give is a reflection of what they want the world to be. When I look at Federation, I see a Greater Washington Jewish community with so much potential to be more inclusive and more influential. I’m excited to help others see that vision and take action to make it a reality.
What do you like to do in your time away from the office?
Outside the office or Federation events, you can find me either at a DC fitness studio (Rumble or 305 anyone?!) or at home with my fiancé, Zach and our cat Jynx (yes, like from Meet the Parents). Because my family is from New Jersey/New York, I travel there often for visits and holidays. You could say that I-95 is my second home.