"I work in Sales for my family's privately-owned company. I first become involved with JRA's Leadership Academy after an introduction from a Board Member but had previously volunteered with The Chevra. My favorite part of the Leadership Academy was getting to work amongst and learning from a fantastic group of people, including JRA Board Members, the staff, and other participants in my cohort. Since graduating from the Bet Class, I am the Co-Chair for the Leadership Academy Committee and continue to volunteer, delivering food to JRA recipients. My advice for future participants in this program is to enrich yourself in the valuable opportunity of learning about the ins and outs of a nonprofit."

- Mark Margulies, Bet Class Alumni

"I'm a Senior Manager, Compliance Remediation for Comcast. I was involved with JRA as a volunteer for a few years, before applying to its Leadership Academy Program. I really enjoyed learning more about the warehouse operations and how to operate in the different areas of the Food Distribution. Since graduating from the Leadership Academy, I was nominated to join the JRA Board of Directors and serve as the Chair of the HR Committee and serve on a number of other working committees. My advice for a potential participant is not to be shy and ask lots of questions. The JRA staff and Board are extremely inviting and gracious of all volunteers. The Leadership Academy is really the future of this organization."

- Hal Leshner, Aleph Class Alumni

JRA was founded in 2000 by then 20-something Marc Erlbaum, a group of his friends, and mentor Rabbi Menachem Schmidt, who were eager to make a direct impact locally by providing food for those who needed it most. JRA began as an organization energized by young professionals.

JRA’s Leadership Academy empowers young adults with heart and talent to take action against hunger in Philadelphia, through understanding our mission and values, enhancing leadership skills, and prioritizing a philanthropic mindset.

We have developed a hands-on learning curriculum to impart lessons in leadership and an inside view of JRA, with the aim of enhancing leadership skills and giving participants access to a network of successful people who care. Participants will learn what made JRA a start-up sensation and, now, a mature category leader. Most importantly, Leadership Academy members will add meaning to their lives - learning to drive and not just to follow - and one in which giving and gaining become remarkably intermingled.

Leadership Academy

Program Details: 

The JRA Leadership Academy is a 9-month, virtual learning experience. Our goal is to help you find your passion within the framework of JRA and give you the tools you will need to take on a future committee or board leadership role. From finance to logistics to community engagement.. you will see it all through the JRA Leadership Academy.

  • Attendance at each of the monthly Leadership Academy activities is required.
  • Complimentary attendance at JRA's 2020 Annual Event: A Livestreaming Show to End Hunger for you and a guest ($200 value).
  • Each Leadership Academy participant will be matched with a Board Member, JRA staff member, or previous Leadership Academy participant.
  • Examples of program workshops include: Intro to JRA, Hunger in Philadelphia & Food Insecurity, Board Governance & Committees, Philanthropy with Impact, and Public Service & the State of Volunteerism.

Applications for the 2020-2021 cohort (Gimmel Class) are now closed. Please check back next semester for details on our next cohort.

Please direct any questions to Elvera Gurevich at elvera@jewishrelief.org.

Alumni Testimonials