JCC Association of North America is proud to announce that Mark. S. Young will serve as the first-ever director of JResponse, JCC Association’s powerful new initiative that convenes, trains and deploys JCC professionals from across the continent to JCC communities in the aftermath of a crisis. JResponse was born in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, as the need for support and assistance at the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC of Houston became clear. With that mission in mind, Mark’s leadership will enable the agency to harness the resources of the JCC Movement, our 6,000-strong contingents of skilled professionals throughout the JCC field, to provide tangible support and relief to peer institutions in need.
JCC Association first mobilized JResponders this past year following the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. In the hours and days that followed the shooting, the JCC of Greater Pittsburgh (JCCPGH) became the first responder staging area, acting as a center for victim support, shiva, mourning and trauma services. In the ensuing weeks, it remained a center for crisis response. JCC Association marshalled JResponders from 46 JCCs across the United States and Canada who came to Pittsburgh over a three-month period to provide relief to a beleaguered JCCPGH staff.
“We are incredibly proud of the impact JResponse has already had on JCC communities and the wider JCC Movement,” said JCC Association’s President and CEO Doron Krakow. “Under Mark’s capable leadership we look forward to JResponse becoming a cornerstone program of the field. Service, crisis response and community support are values at the very heart of the work JCC professionals do every single day. Long in the business of developing leadership in the Jewish world, Mark brings both outstanding experience and spirit to his new role. We look forward to a most remarkable tenure.”
Young brings over 15 years of experience cultivating talent in nonprofit organizations and spearheading community service and experiential learning initiatives at major institutions in the Jewish communal world. He comes to JCC Association from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS), where he most recently served as Managing Director of the Leadership Commons within its William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education. There, he built relationships with community and national foundations, federations, and education practitioners from coast to coast, launching new training and research initiatives and hosting various gatherings to bring people together for the common good of strengthening Jewish community.
“The opportunity to lead this groundbreaking initiative that is focused on elevating talent in order to lift up communities in their time of need is one I feel deeply connected to,” said Young. “The JCC Movement is redefining how we provide support and what it means to exercise leadership in extraordinary situations. I am honored to be a part of this innovative work.”
Young already has direct experience training JCC leaders. While at JTS, he collaborated with Joy Brand-Richardson, JCC Association’s Director of Training and Professional Development, and Dr. David Ackerman, Director of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Jewish Education, to create and launch two cohorts of the Jewish Experiential Leadership Institute (JELI), which prepares senior to mid-level JCC professionals to weave Jewish values and principles of education in the management of their organizations and programs.
More recently, with Joy Brand-Richardson, Dr. David Ackerman, Ellen Gettinger, Deputy Director of Training and Development, and Beth Garfinkle-Hancock, Program Manager, Young launched the JCC Leadership Training Institute (JCCLTI), which teaches JCC professionals seeking to advance to senior roles the key concepts and skills critical to exemplary leadership and management of JCCs.
Previously, as the Assistant Director of Human Resources at the Episcopal Social Services of New York (now Sheltering Arms Children and Family Services), Young supported a workforce of social workers and managers who served thousands of high-need individuals across the metropolitan area. Earlier in his career he also worked at the 92 Street Y, a flagship JCC in Manhattan, in both a programming capacity, organizing volunteer programs for young adults, and in a human resources capacity, managing staff recruitment, training, and professional development.
Young was awarded the Bernard Rodkin Fellowship for excellence in Jewish communal service from the JPRO Network in 2015 and is a member of Class 1 of the Wexner Field Fellowship. He currently serves on the boards of JPRO Network and NEWCAJE and has previously served on the board of Pinemere Camp Association, which is affiliated with the JCC Movement, and Advancing Jewish Professionals of NYC. He holds dual master’s degrees in non-profit management and Judaic studies from New York University, where he was a JCC Association scholarship recipient, as well as a bachelor’s degree in psychology and economics from McGill University.
Young knows firsthand the deep impact that JCCs can have. He grew up at the Mandel JCC and Camp Wise in Greater Cleveland, Ohio, and began his career in the Jewish community as the Camp Wise song leader and Judaica director. Young and his family are currently members of the Harold and Elaine Shames JCC on the Hudson in Tarrytown, New York, where he, his wife Rabbi Mara Young (Associate Rabbi/Educator at Woodlands Community Temple in White Plains, New York) and two children participate in a variety of programs including early childhood education and JCC Camps.
Mark Young will begin his tenure at JCC Association on Monday, July 29, 2019.