Jewish Community Leader Philip de Toledo Appointed Chairman of the Board.
Douglas M. Ross & Lori Komisar Named Vice Chairmen of the Board, Lawrence J. Cohen Appointed as Treasurer.
Birthright Israel Foundation, the U.S. funding arm of Birthright Israel, is pleased to announce that Los Angeles based Jewish community lay leader and board member Philip de Toledo has been elected as the organization’s next Chairman of the Board. The Board also elected additional prominent members of the Jewish community as Executive Officers, including Douglas M. Ross and Lori Komisar as Vice Chairs and Lawrence J. Cohen as Treasurer.
de Toledo will succeed Thomas D. Stern, whose term expires at the end of 2021 following five years of service as Birthright Israel Foundation’s Chairman of the Board. Ross and Komisar will succeed Phil Rosen and Stephen M. Siderow, who have served as Vice Chairs since 2016 and Cohen will succeed de Toledo, who has been serving as Treasurer since 2020.
“I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to serve as the next chair of the board of Birthright Israel Foundation,” said de Toledo. “The changing demographic trends among young Jews and the rise of antisemitism make Birthright Israel’s mission more important than ever. I am excited to work with an outstanding team both in the U.S. and in Israel along with our dedicated board as we build on the strong foundation that Tom has helped develop over the past five years.”
“It has been a great honor and privilege to serve as Chairman of this amazing organization. Along with an outstanding Board and professional team, we were able to substantially reorganize the Foundation, resulting in significant growth in fundraising and in Birthright Israel’s critical mission, sending a record number of participants on Birthright Israel to strengthen Jewish identity, continuity and connection to Israel,” said Stern. “I am confident that the Foundation is in extremely capable hands with Phil, Doug, Lori and Larry and as an organization we will continue to transform the future of the Jewish people. I look forward to working with them in the years ahead and to nurturing the many friendships I’ve developed with important and respected philanthropists who make our mission possible.”
“It’s great that the nominating committee appointed yet another sterling group of leaders from among our Board to lead Birthright Israel Foundation,” said Charles Bronfman, co-founder of Birthright Israel. “That attests to the strength of the Board, which has the responsibility to raise funds to continue the life changing experiences of participants. Sincere congratulations to Phil, Lori, Doug and Larry whom we know will lead us to even greater success. And humongous thanks to Tom Stern and his team for their great leadership before and during these last fractious COVID years. It was five fulsome years.”
The new leadership change will take effect on January 1, 2022. In their roles, the incoming Executive Officers will work closely alongside the rest of the Board and Birthright Israel Foundation President and CEO, Israel (“Izzy”) Tapoohi.
“We welcome Phil, Doug, Lori and Larry to their new roles. They have shown tremendous dedication to our organization, and we are excited for all they have yet to accomplish,” said Tapoohi. “We thank Tom for the incredible leadership he has demonstrated over the last 5 years, which has allowed us to continue to grow the support of this incredible program even during a pandemic. As Chair he led our organization to new fundraising heights and has been a true partner and friend to both myself and our organization.”
de Toledo first joined Birthright Israel Foundation’s Board of Directors in 2020. In addition to his work with the Foundation, de Toledo also serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Skirball Cultural Center and immediate past president and board member of de Toledo High School. de Toledo is also a member of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) National Council and the Jewish Graduate Student Initiative advisory board. In 2020 he retired from The Capital Group Companies, a leading asset management firm, after a 34-year career.
Ross has served as Atlanta Chair of Birthright Israel Foundation since 2012 and joined the organization’s National Board of Directors in 2015. He has since served in a number of capacities, including Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair and most recently as Chair of the Investment Committee and National Cabinet Chair. Ross has called Atlanta home since 1981 and retired from Morgan Stanley in 2018 after a 37-year career as a financial advisor.
Komisar is a lifelong international Jewish community leader and activist. She is Chair of Birthright Israel Foundation’s Midwest Ambassador Council and previously served as Chair of the Accessibility and Inclusion Task Force. In addition to her extensive work with the Foundation over the years, Komisar served as National President of the American Friends of the Israel Sport Center for the Disabled in Israel and has served key board positions, including Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago, Friends of the IDF and AIPAC.
Cohen is the founder of Pembroke Companies, a New York City based privately-held investment and management firm. He is Birthright Israel Foundation’s Legacy Giving Task Force Chair. Cohen has longstanding involvement in UJA Federation of New York and also serves on the Executive Committee of the Real Estate Division of AIPAC and the Board of Directors Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty.
Since 2000, Birthright Israel has provided the gift of an educational trip to Israel to more than 750,000 young Jewish adults aged 18-32 with the goal of strengthening Jewish identity, building a lasting bond with the land and people of Israel and reinforcing the solidarity of Jewish people worldwide. Registration is now open at Birthrightisrael.com for trips from November 2021-March 2022.