Staff

The Foundation staff is here to serve the philanthropic needs of the community. Please feel free to contact our staff with any questions.

Beth Sirull

President and Chief Executive Officer,
Miriam and Jerome Katzin Presidential Chair

Beth most recently served as President and CEO of Pacific Community Ventures, a combined for-profit/nonprofit organization based in San Francisco dedicated to creating jobs in low-income communities. Active in her Jewish community, Beth served as Chair of the Board of the Jewish Community Center of the East Bay and on the Boards of the Tzedek Economic Development Fund and her temple sisterhood.

She is a published author and an accomplished public speaker, having addressed several social venture organizations. Beth received the 2015 James Irvine Foundation California Leadership Award, recognizing Californians who are advancing innovative, proven and replicable solutions to critical issues facing the state. She was named to Forbes’ list of 30 Top Social Entrepreneurs in 2012 and to the San Francisco Business Times’ list of Most Influential Women in Business in 2013.

Jeremy Pearl, J.D., LL.M.

Executive Vice President and
Chief Financial Officer

As Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Jeremy is responsible for fiscal oversight of the Foundation including finance and operations, investment management, human resources and information systems. He also works closely with donors and their advisors to support charitable gift planning.

Sharleen Wollach

Vice President, Operations

Sharleen joined the Foundation in 2009. She supports strategic planning and oversight, organizational development, and currently oversees donor services, grants administration, and communications and marketing. She is also directing the Endowment Leadership Institute (ELI) in partnership with Jewish agencies, day schools, and synagogues. In addition, Sharleen manages the Governance Leadership Institute (GLI), to educate community organizations about best practices in board governance. Sharleen also leads the Professional Advisors program and works closely with donors in development, building relationships, and planned giving.

Traci Serrano

Director of Donor Services and
Human Resources Manager

Traci joined the Foundation in 2000. She is responsible for donor services, human resources functions and oversees support staff. Traci has worked in various roles in the accounting and development departments. Prior to joining the Foundation, Traci worked at Sharp Healthcare and Vista Hill Foundation. Traci earned her bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University.

Claudia Ehrlich

Director of Philanthropy

Claudia recently started at the Foundation and has enjoyed 25 years of professional experience as a nonprofit fundraiser and strategic partner to individuals and institutional donors across the country. Most recently, Claudia was senior director of external relations at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and senior director of development and external relations at UCSD’s Rady School of Management. She has also served as associate director of development at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, Jacobs Family Campus and at the Old Globe Theatre. Prior to moving back to her native San Diego in 1995, she worked in development at The Carter Center (Atlanta), Einstein Medical Center (Philadelphia) and the Museum of Modern Art (NYC).

Simone Abelsohn

Jewish Teen Coordinator

Simone Abelsohn has recently joined the Foundation as the Jewish Teen Coordinator. Her role includes recruiting program participants, coordinating monthly meetings and site visits, developing curriculum and supporting Jewish teen education.

Simone is a San Diego native and feels extremely passionate about the Jewish community locally and worldwide. She is also the Program Coordinator for Shabbat San Diego (connected to the World Wide Shabbat Project started in South Africa), the Chair to the San Diego Federation’s NextGen Board (second term), and BigPal through the Jewish Family Service.

Josie Arellano

Staff Accountant

Josie joined the Foundation in 2008. As the Staff Accountant, Josie is responsible for accounts payable, gift processing and financial reconciliations. Josie is a native of San Diego and earned her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from University of California, San Diego.

Kathy Bui

Accounting Manager

Kathy joined the Foundation in 2009. She has recently been promoted to Accounting Manager. In this new role, she manages financial accounting and creates reports with a focus on gifts and investments. Kathy previously worked at University of California, San Diego Foundation where she served as an assistant accountant. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from San Diego State University and MBA from CSU Monterey Bay.

Meryl Goldberg

Financial Analyst

Meryl joined the Foundation in 2006 and prepares quarterly investment analysis, financial reports and participates in the budget process. She handles special projects and helps support the accounting operations. Meryl received her bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. She is a CPA, recognized in New Jersey.

Mara Hochberg-Miller

Foundation Associate

Mara joined the Foundation in 2016. As the Foundation Associate, she processes incoming gifts and grant tributes and provides support to donors and staff. Prior to joining the Foundation, Mara staffed youth trips with NFTY in Israel, spent a year doing national service with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps and volunteered with the National Park Service at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. She earned her B.A. in Political Science-International Relations from University of California, San Diego and M.A. in International Development and Service from Concordia University, Portland.

Alex Jacobs

Marketing and Communications Officer

Alex joined the Foundation in the Summer of 2015. He is responsible for the design and production of Advertising and Marketing materials for JCF and all of its programs. Alex also manages and maintains the Foundation’s website and handles public relations and communications with the media. He really enjoys the variety of projects given to him and coming up with creative and strategic solutions.

Mandy Katz

Development Associate

Mandy Katz joined the Foundation in 2010 as development associate for Chai South Africa (CSA), a fund held at the Foundation. Mandy is responsible for assisting with the growth and development of CSA as well as managing the annual campaigns. Being a former South African herself, Mandy has many connections in the San Diego community and throughout the U.S. which will help make Chai South Africa even more successful.

Susan Knopman

Legacy Program Officer

Susan Knopman joined the Foundation in 2010. She enjoys helping people to create their Legacy Plans and supports the Create a Jewish Legacy© program and the Endowment Leadership Institute (ELI), which collaborates with our community’s agencies, day schools and synagogues to keep them strong for generations to come. She also works with the supporting organizations of the Jewish Community Foundation.

Eli Landau

Controller

Eli Landau joined the Foundation in early 2011 as Controller, where he is involved in the operations, finance and investments, human resources and information systems. Eli has over 15 years of professional experience in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors with a background in financial reporting and analysis, internal control review and implementation and management of yearly audits and tax returns from start to finish.

Lizette Safa

Grants Officer

Lizette started at the Foundation in 2011. She has recently been promoted to Grants Officer. Lizette is responsible for processing the grants for donor advised funds, family foundations and supporting foundations. She also provides assistance to the donors as well as the charities receiving the funds. Lizette has a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts in Interior Design from the Design Institute of San Diego, California.

Sarah Schatz

Philanthropy Officer

Sarah joined the Foundation as a Philanthropy Officer in 2015. She brings over 10 years of experience in Jewish communal work, fundraising and development. Sarah worked for the Jewish Federation of San Diego for several years, fundraising for the annual campaign and managing events. She then moved to Rady Children’s Hospital Foundation’s development department, focusing on prospect research.

Kimberly Stahl

Donor Services Officer

Kimberly joined the Foundation in 2011. As the Donor Services Officer, she provides customer service to donors and grantee organizations, coordinates meetings and events, and is involved in CRM and database management. She provides back up for grants and marketing, and has assisted with special scholarship and grant programs.