WASHINGTON (RNS) Jonathan Greenblatt, a special assistant to President Obama, will succeed Abraham Foxman as head of the Anti-Defamation League, the world’s best-known organization founded to combat the hatred of Jews and Judaism.
Greenblatt will take the helm of the ADL next July when Foxman, a towering figure known as “the Jewish pope,” retires after 27 years.
“I am deeply honored to have been chosen to lead this vital organization as it begins its next century of service,” Greenblatt, 43, said in a statement. “Since its inception, ADL has had a tremendous impact on making America a more inclusive society for all people while defending the rights of Jews to freely practice their faith and be full participants in society.”
Greenblatt, who once interned for the ADL and took one of its leadership courses, was on few shortlists for the job and is relatively young. He now serves as director of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation in the administration’s Domestic Policy Council, where he has worked on gun violence prevention among other issues.
In both the public and private sectors, his career has focused on leveraging capital — both human and financial — to improve social conditions.
According to the White House website, Greenblatt founded All for Good, the largest aggregator of volunteer opportunities on the Web, and was vice president of global consumer products at Starbucks. He also “founded the Impact Economy Initiative at the Aspen Institute, a program focused on the nexus of public policy and impact investing,” and was an operating partner at Satori Capital, a private equity firm, where he focused on “conscious capitalism.”
“Jonathan brings to ADL an impressive track record of leadership in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors and a deep and abiding commitment to our mission of combating anti-Semitism and defending the civil rights of all people,” Barry Curtiss-Lusher, ADL’s national chair, said in a statement.
Greenblatt, the grandson of a Holocaust survivor, also founded Ethos Brands, which created Ethos Water — a bottled water company that helped fund clean water campaigns in the developing world.
He is also a supporter of faith-based entrepreneurs.
“Faith-based innovators are creating new products and services, forging strategic and creative partnerships, and leveraging media and technology to extend their reach,” he said at a 2012 conference on the topic. “Their models vary, but these individuals all use innovation to improve their communities.”
Greenblatt also worked in the administration of former President Bill Clinton and holds an MBA from Northwestern University and bachelor’s degree from Tufts University. He and his Iranian-born wife, Marjan Keypour Greenblatt, have three children.
KRE/MG END MARKOE