Award for ORT Chicago Director


12 August 2009 Award for ORT Chicago Director The person credited with nearly doubling ORT Americas Metropolitan Chicago Regions fundraising in two years has been named as the recipient of the prestigious Samuel A. Goldsmith Award. The Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago has selected Stephanie Pritzker for the $3,000 award, which is awarded annually to a person aged under 40 who has served with professional distinction in a Jewish communal agency in the region for a period of between one and five years. Ms Pritzker became Director of ORT Chicago in 2006 after seven years at the Jewish United Fund. Ms Pritzker, who is due to receive the award at the Federations Annual Meeting next month, said she was honoured and flattered. ORT Chicago Director Stephanie Pritzker A lot of my colleagues [working in Jewish communal organisations] whom I truly respect have received this award before me so to be considered in their league is truly an honour, she said. I am completely indebted to the Federation; they are my mentors and the colleagues I have there are an everyday inspiration to me. They really taught me everything thats contributed to my success and Im very grateful for that. Without that I would not be in ORT and be so happy. In ORT Chicagos award nomination, Ms Pritzker is described as an excellent motivator. She brings out the best in people and rather than doing it all herself teaches people that they have the ability to become better leaders themselves. She also leads by example in terms of understanding the mission of the organisation and giving her all to it. Under her directorship attendance at ORT Chicago events has increased, many new people have been attracted to the Board and ORTs profile in the local Jewish community has been significantly enhanced. In addition, Ms Pritzker had bridged the potential gap between established lay leaders and the new generation by showing how everyone had something valuable to offer to the organisation. Ms Pritzker herself describes the main achievements of the past three years as making ORT Chicago a more sophisticated and professional fundraising organisation and to have people see it as not just a womens social organisation but as credible organisation which is relevant to their lives today. While the social aspect of ORT was till important, she said that a new focus on fundraising and strategic planning and talking about the ORT mission and how the money raised is used to realise it had changed the mindset of many people. I have helped to give our excellent lay leaders the right focus and they have done the rest, she said. But Shelley Dreifuss, who became President of ORT Americas Metropolitan Chicago Region two weeks before Ms Pritzkers nomination for the award was submitted, put recent achievements firmly back in the Directors lap: Stephanie is directly responsible for the progress of the region in the last three years. We were going up, up, up in terms of fundraising before Stephanie joined us, but shes a true, true leader: she motivates the volunteers, directs new leadership, develops new fundraising, and she was instrumental in creating our strong Next Generation group. Ms Dreifuss predecessor as president, Mindy Gordon, said Ms Pritzker had been the obvious choice for nomination. Since she came to our region the level of professionalism has changed dramatically, Ms Gordon said. The changes she has instituted have made our region thrive and taken us up a notch. Were obviously very, very proud of Stephanie. But her winning the award is also great for ORT: because Stephanie used to work for the Federation I know there are many people there who are excited for her. Her success will raise peoples awareness of ORT, the good work were doing and the professionalism with which we do it. The Samuel A Goldsmith Award is named after the man who led the Chicago Jewish Federation as its chief executive officer from 1930 to 1966. It recognises and sustains the qualities of dedication and devotion to the Jewish community and the Jewish people, which marked Mr Goldsmiths career. The award provides a cash grant to help defray expenses for participation in a continuing education which will advance and enhance the award recipients professional career skills and/or enrich his or her Jewish knowledge. Ms Pritzker has yet to decide what programme she will use the money to pursue but has a preference for something in Israel, which she has not visited for three years. Whatever she decides, the opportunity provided by the award to further her Jewish education is a welcome one, as ORT Chicago noted in its conclusion to Ms Pritzkers nomination. Her presence at [ORT Chicago] really shows what a difference one person can make to an organisation, it reads. But most importantly, ORT America sees tremendous potential in Stephanie as a professional. In todays economy, it is very difficult to attract the kind of rising stars we need to the Jewish Communal profession. The only way we will succeed in preserving Jewish continuity is to invest in those professionals whom we feel truly have the ability and desire to make a difference. Stephanie is one of those professionals