Before she became the new chief development officer for Jewish Family & Career Services, Amanda Arnovitz La Kier was a decades-long volunteer and donor with the social services organization. She also attended its events, such as Havinagala, The Tasting and Community of Caring lunch.
That background will come in handy in her new role overseeing the agency’s development efforts in such areas as grants, fundraising events and volunteer activities.
La Kier brings to JF&CS 25 years of experience in fundraising and development, most recently as vice president of individual giving, donor relations and grants for WABE/ATL PBA. The role is similar to her new position at JF&CS, where she will be working with a new CEO, as she did at WABE.
She will also supervise the development team that includes the new JF&CS development director, Jessica Katz Yonatan, who started in April, and part-time major gifts officer, Stacy Fialkow, who served as a development consultant until La Kier was hired.
Although La Kier had a basic understanding of the agency’s work before she began, she said she’s already gained a better view of her new “dedicated, hard-working colleagues and the amazing stories of how they touch people’s lives. … Now I see the scope of it, the things they do to help in so many different ways,” she said.
“This organization has a number of programs that serve the community. It is the heart and soul of the community,” La Kier said. “They are there when people need them and are an importance resource.”
She listed the agency’s career services, emergency assistance, food pantry, intellectual and developmental disability programs, in addition to its counseling. Such programs should make it easy to raise money for JF&CS, she said. “There are so many stories and ways to invest in the organization. This becomes very personal for the donor. They really see the impact of their dollars. It’s easy to show people the importance of their investment.”
La Kier revealed her goal for the agency as “diversifying and looking for new revenue streams.” That means seeking new ways to attract people and support for JF&CS and building “connections to community organizations, partnerships, and individuals.”
At WABE, La Kier helped boost annual revenues by 22 percent to more than $8.3 million and managed a budget of more than $1 million. JF&CS’s annual operating budget is $14.5 million, according to JF&CS CEO Terri Bonoff.
Among her previous positions, La Kier was regional director of development for the American Jewish Committee for two years and nationwide director of corporate initiatives at the American Cancer Society for three years.
Born in Atlanta, La Kier has strong family rootshere, but she grew up in Memphis. There she was involved in BBYO and attended a Jewish overnight camp.
Today La Kier is a board member of the AJC and her synagogue, Congregation B’nai Torah. She’s also a member of JWC Atlanta, a women’s organization.
Bonoff referred to the JF&CS hiring of La Kier as a “home run” for the agency, considering there are now three staffers handling its development efforts. La Kier will oversee the agency’s strategy and how to ensure sustainable giving for the future, Bonoff said.
“We are grateful to have someone with Amanda’s experience in this critical role for our agency. Her knowledge and development expertise will enable JF&CS to generate the resources needed to support our mission and our continued growth and impact.”
JF&CS also promoted Lisa Bronstein from director of human resources, a position she’s held since 2011, to chief human resources officer.
“Lisa has been a huge asset to the agency over the past eight years and her promotion is a well-deserved reflection of her important contribution,” Bonoff said. Bronstein previously worked in corporate human resources positions for more than 25 years in New York, New Jersey and Atlanta.