The Wexner Foundation, in partnership with UJA-Federation of New York, is excited about the launch of a first-ever Jews of Color Cohort within The Wexner Heritage Program (WHP). The cohort will be coordinated by a newly engaged educational consultant and leadership development professional, Tonda Case. The Wexner Foundation is committed to embracing Jewish diversity, one of our core values, in all of our leadership initiatives and we are eager to welcome a cohort exclusively designed for Jews of Color. The Foundation will accept nominations for the cohort this fall, and the class will begin at our New Member Institute in August 2022. We aspire to advance the leadership skills and Jewish learning of 20 volunteer leaders in the New York area.
Tonda Case has been engaged by the Foundation as Educational Coordinator. Tonda is the former Project Director of the JWOC (Jewish Women of Color) Resilience Circle at DIMENSIONS Inc, a Jewish Women of Color-founded and -led diversity and equity consulting group in Boston. She previously served as a Senior Advisor on Amazon’s Connections team, driving change by creating leadership development, DEI, human resources, and recruitment strategies that aligned with Amazon’s organizational mission and values. She is an activist with more than 25 years of experience in movement building. She is a founding member of #JWOCmarching, a Jewish Women of Color racial justice advocacy group that led the 2019 Women’s March in Washington, DC. Tonda is an alumna of Bend the Arc’s Selah Leadership Program and is active with the Kehilla Community Synagogue and Temple Beth Abraham, both in Oakland, California.
“We are thrilled to welcome Tonda Case to the Wexner Foundation,” said Rabba Yaffa Epstein, Director of the Wexner Heritage Program. “Tonda has tremendous experience in education, curriculum development, group process, and DEIJ training. She has educational vision and brings an essential voice to the design of this cohort and in guiding The Foundation’s journey toward becoming more inclusive, just, and equitable. She brings deep wisdom to our team.”
“The launch of a Jews of Color Heritage cohort signifies the Foundation’s commitment to the brilliant leadership of Jews of Color in New York and nationally,” said Tonda. “This work has global significance toward reframing the ‘we’ of Am Israel and toward healing and repair for Jews of Color who experience marginalization, exclusion, and disengagement when navigating Jewish spaces. Investing in the development of these volunteers is a powerful move toward making our present and our future more equitable and just. It is my great honor to join the Wexner Foundation team and advance this groundbreaking work.”
The cohort would not be possible without the support of UJA-Federation of New York.
“UJA-Federation of New York is very pleased to partner with the Wexner Foundation on this new initiative. As part of our overall effort to promote racial equity and inclusion in the New York Jewish community, this cohort is an important step in working to ensure diverse representation across our communal lay leadership tables,” said Eric S. Goldstein, CEO, UJA-Federation of New York.
The Wexner Heritage Program, established in 1985 and one of seven leadership initiatives of The Wexner Foundation, selects cohorts of 20 North American Jewish volunteer leaders (approximately 30 – 50 years of age) in a local community who engage in a two-year intensive Jewish study and leadership learning program. The curriculum includes seminars in Jewish history, values, texts, and leadership taught by distinguished scholars in each area. The program also includes three weeklong summer institutes held in the U.S. and Israel. Over 2,300 Alumni from 35 North American communities have participated in the WHP.
Nominations for the New York JOC 22 Cohort, along with cohorts in San Francisco and Palm Beach, Florida, will officially open September 1, 2021. The nomination form will be available here.