By Andrew Adler
Daniele Hurwitz has been named Senior Director for Women’s Philanthropy and Young Adult Engagement at the Jewish Federation of Louisville.
Born in Richmond, Virginia and already steeped in Jewish service, she embraced Judaism via multiple trips to Israel, and several summers teaching kids to swim at Camp Ramah Darom in Clayton, Georgia.
Between graduating from high school and starting college at Indiana University in Bloomington (where she was a Jewish Studies major), Hurwitz spent a gap year attending Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.
After college, Daniele worked for multiple nonprofit organizations making her way to the west coast. After completing her Masters in Public Administration at the University of San Francisco, Daniele spent the last 6 ½ years working in corporate philanthropy and donor experience at City of Hope, a nonprofit cancer and diabetes research hospital based in Los Angeles.
“I like to figure out what drives people and find ways to connect them back to the mission” she says. “It’s all about building relationships. In corporate philanthropy, there is a magic in turning a corporate sponsorship into individual giving because a connection was made.”
Rewarding as her LA job was, “I was ready for a new challenge,” Hurwitz says. “I was toying with the idea of getting back into the Jewish world. I knew it would have to be something that had a strong Israel connection, but which also had to be the right fit.”
Eventually she was put in touch with Sara Klein Wagner, President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Louisville. A family friend was familiar with Wagner’s initiatives and thought she and Daniele might hit it off.
“There was no job description,” Hurwitz recalls, but the conversation flowed naturally. “It was just like talking to a family friend I’d known my entire life. And as we continued to talk about the opportunity here, I couldn’t say no.”
“Daniele is going to be a strong addition to our team,” Wagner says. “Her portfolio is going to focus on two areas. One is women’s philanthropy. Ideally, we’d love to create what I’ll call a leadership board — to go out and listen to the diverse group of women in our community so we better understand how to engage people. Because we know that when women’s philanthropy at the Federation is engaged and excited, it raises the level of enthusiasm of the entire community.”
As a prime example, Wagner cited an evening event this past November at Work the Metal in Butchertown that featured Jewish entrepreneur and jeweler Dana Gordon.
“Women of all different ages came together for a night out to hear a young Jewish entrepreneur,” Wagner says. “People are craving that kind of connection. And I think Daniele – who’s passionate about Jewish life – is excited about empowering women and young adults to forge those connections and build lasting relationships.”
Hurwitz will draw from the recent Brandeis University-led Study of Jewish Louisville, which offers a rich array of jumping-off points.
“Daniele is going to take what we’ve learned from both the Brandeis study and from the think tanks and focus groups that we’re convening around the theme of Jewish Louisville 502.0,” Wagner says, and “she’s already meeting community members and engaging in a lot of listening. We’re putting together a calendar of events, programs and experiences for young adults, recognizing that no one size fits all. An important part of Daniele’s role is understanding who’s out there and eager to engage – and perhaps even more importantly, identifying community members who may be a bit hesitant and why.”
“People want to have those opportunities,” Hurwitz emphasizes, adding that her new Federation position will allow her to “further develop my own set of skills, and help develop this community – which already is thriving – get to the next level. I want to see what works and what doesn’t work – and if it doesn’t, how do we make it work? We have the data, but data can get you only so far. So now we need to put it into action.”