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

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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.

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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.

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Sharleen Wollach

Chief Impact Officer

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.

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Traci Serrano

Director of Administration and
Human Resources

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.

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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.

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Ollie Benn

Director of Philanthropy and Social Impact

Ollie most recently served as Executive Director of San Francisco Hillel, where he more than doubled the organization’s annual revenue and effective endowment, resulting in Hillel serving four times as many campuses and doubling student engagement by every metric. Ollie previously worked as an attorney at a major law firm and also in San Francisco’s startup world. At the Foundation, Ollie oversees Donor Services and the Foundation’s strategy to engage new philanthropists.

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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.

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Mara Hochberg-Miller

Communications and Operations Coordinator

Mara joined the Foundation in 2016. In her current role, Mara provides administrative support to the Jewish Women’s Foundation, Jewish Teen Foundation, and Trusted Charitable Advisor programs, as well as assisting the Grants and Legacy Departments. Mara is also responsible for managing the Foundation’s social media and helps with other marketing and communication efforts. 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.

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Alex Jacobs

Marketing and Communications Officer

Alex joined the Foundation in 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.

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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.

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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.

Susan’s background is in the financial and legal fields. She is a graduate of San Diego State University, with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, emphasis in Accounting.

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Eli Landau

Director of Finance

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.

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Lizette Safa

Grants Officer

Lizette started at the Foundation in 2011. As our 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.

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Sarah Schatz

Manager, Philanthropy and Social Impact

Sarah joined the Foundation 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.

Sarah graduated with a B.A. in Social Work from Bryn Mawr College. She also holds an MBA in Non-Profit Management from University of Judaism in Bel Air, California.

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Sarah Vigon

Teen Coordinator

Sarah joined the Foundation in 2019 as the Teen Coordinator of the Jewish Teen Foundation. Jewish education is a passion of hers and while she initially pursued the general non-profit sector, Jewish non-profit specifically is where Sarah gives and gets her energy. For the past 8 years she has provided Jewish education to college-aged students as the Director of Women’s Education at The Pennsylvania State University, Montclair State University, and New York University and is excited to encourage San Diego’s Jewish teens to develop their philanthropic skills and community-mindedness.