Native Detroiter Scott Kaufman to lead Federation as CEO.
cott Kaufman, 43, has been
named CEO of the Jewish
Federation of Metropolitan
Detroit, replacing Robert P. Aronson,
who held the position for the past 20
years. Kaufman will assume the role as
CEO in the fall.
will continue his role
as CEO through the
fall and assist with the
transition. After the
will remain as a senior
focusing his energies
endowment and other development ini-
tiatives on behalf of the community.
Kaufman's appointment was the result
of a six-month nationwide search led by
a diverse committee of Federation lay
leaders, chaired by Penny Blumenstein.
Kaufman was approved by the
Federation's executive committee.
"He's going to be
an excellent leader:'
"He has vision, he has
enthusiasm and we're
really confident that
he will continue in the
tradition of excellence
that we have expected
from our Jewish corn-
through the years."
Before being named as Federation's
CEO, Kaufman was director of strategic
initiatives, responsible for addressing
the issue of attracting and retaining
young talent within the Jewish com-
munity, and exploring Web-based plat-
forms, such as social media, to further
the Federation brand. Prior to that role,
he was director of IsraelSixty, overseeing
Federation's yearlong, communitywide
celebration of Israel's 60th anniversary
celebration in 2008, and leading its fam-
ily mission to Israel.
Kaufman has been a Federation lay
leader for nearly 10 years. From 1998
"I've always been a change
agent. It will be a balance
of keeping what's great
and adding value in
different areas. We need
to be proactive, faster,
centric, all while keeping
the great values we've
had for so long. Staying
great requires constant
to 2001, he spearheaded Federation's
Young Adult Mission to Israel initiative. He
has served in numerous leadership roles,
including helping to develop Federation's
Grosfeld Leadership Program, designed to
cultivate the next generation of communi-
ty leadership. As president of Federation's
Young Adult Division (YAD), Kaufman
invigorated the organization by recruiting
and retaining new volunteers.
He has been a member of the boards
of Federation and its real estate/banking
arm, the United Jewish Foundation, as
well as the Jewish Community Center of
Metropolitan Detroit and Oakland County-
based Fresh Air Society, of which he also
was fundraising chair. He has served as co-
chair of YAD's Ben-Gurion Society and has
been instrumental in the development and
management of Federation's Millennium
Campaign for Jewish Life Funds geared
towards young adults.
Kaufman also has been a member
of the New York-based United Jewish
Communities Young Leadership Cabinet.
He was national co-chair of the 2001
Young Adult CommUNITY Mission to
Israel, for which Detroit made up a third
of the 150 participants. He has led 15
Federation and UJC missions.
Kaufman has received various awards
for his outstanding leadership and
innovation, including the 2008 Pappas
Innovative Idea Award, given annually to
the Federation professional who originates
and executes the best new idea; the 2005
Frank A. Wetsman Award, Federation's
highest honor for young male leader-
ship; and the 2001 Mark Family Young
Leadership Award, awarded to the emerg-
ing leader making the largest impact on
"In my gut, I believe in the future of
this community; I don't accept that the
best days are behind us," Kaufman said.
"From my experience in Jewish leadership
roles and traveling around the country, I
believe we have an outstanding quality of
Jewish life here for many reasons, includ-
ing the strength of our Federation. It's a
big challenge to live up to maintaining this
level, and I am fully committed to give my
efforts to do that."
Kaufman, a native Detroiter, is very well
connected within the Detroit Jewish com-
munity, which will enable him to reach out
to all corners to address the needs of the
community and assist with maintaining it
as a strong and vibrant one.
"Scott is a team builder and under-
stands the importance of keeping this
great team together and moving us
forward as we face the challenges of the
future," Aronson said as he addressed
"I am personally
thrilled and gratified
that we are going
to have a wonder-
ful transition from
my 20 years to the
future of this com-
munity with Scott as Nancy
Kaufman is known as a motivator and a
visionary. "Scott has boundless energy,"
said Nancy Grosfeld, Federation presi-
dent. "He's a creative, out-of-the-box
thinker, and brings vision and imagina-
tive new ideas to the table. Scott will
bring new energy to the Federation and
will encourage new ideas and thinking."
Kaufman agrees. "I've always been a
change agent," he said. "It will be a bal-
ance of keeping what's great and adding
value in different areas. We need to be
proactive, faster, aggressive, customer-
centric, all while keeping the great val-
ues we've had for so long. Staying great
requires constant innovation.
"We still must balance stability with
the need for change. I'm not afraid of
shaking things up a bit."
said, "His ability to do
outreach to involve the
uninvolved is excellent.
He has an ability to
bring a sense of humor,
a sense of camarade-
rie and a willingness
to work for a worthy
cause. He has a lot of
positive attributes that will help this
community going forward."
Prior to joining Federation in 2007,
Kaufman was a real estate developer.
He also is a founding partner of Joe
Dumars' Fieldhouse, a sports and enter-
tainment facility in Sterling Heights.
Kaufman earned a bachelor's degree
from the University of Michigan in 1989.
He resides in Huntington Woods.
Story Development Editor Keri Guten Cohen
contributed to this report.
July 23 ' 2009