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JFS President and Executive Director Look to Future of Agency

By Wendy Born
Jewish Family Service President
and Debbie Zoller
Jewish Family Service Executive Director
Imagine you’re going on an adventure – you want it to be meaningful, uplifting, and exciting! You have no idea where you’re going and there is no road map to take you there. You don’t have any definite plans. If you can’t figure out where the adventure will take you, you’re probably going to be sitting around thinking about it and your adventure will never happen. It is the same for organizations and their leadership – when the leaders don’t have a road map or plans for the future, an organization will not move forward.

Jewish Family Service leadership recognized the need for a road map and developed a Strategic Plan in July 2016. Creating a vision is a collaborative fluid process that adapts itself to the changes in our community and our society. Strategic planning chairs Rabbi Allen Juda and Taffi Ney gathered JFS stakeholders from across the Lehigh Valley to talk about their impressions of JFS, its present services and future direction.

As a result of months of discussions, a plan was developed with three overarching goals: raise awareness of JFS; engage the community and provide quality services to meet needs; build and strengthen our own infrastructure and facility.

Since implementing the Strategic Plan, JFS has invested in marketing and created a new website and branding, participated in a board development project, improved our building, and developed an advisory committee of clinical experts from throughout the Lehigh Valley. We’ve hosted two successful fund and friend raisers. We have a database and a program evaluation tool. JFS is distributing fresh fruits and vegetables from farms that donate their produce during local growing months.

Our food pantry clients describe how they are treated with dignity. Counseling clients tell us they would not have made it if they did not have someone with whom to talk on a regular basis. Our building is much more welcoming! We are able to help older adults stay in their own home or move to a facility based on their abilities and desires. We have attracted and equipped an excellent JFS Board of Directors and are utilizing their skills.

We are excited to be leading JFS on a journey now and on a path into the future in which we are always striving to be an agency of excellence. We have engaged a Strategic Planning Oversight Committee to keep us focused, to hold us accountable on outcomes, and to develop methods to benchmark our accomplishments compared to other similar agencies.
Our vision for the future includes:
  • Engaging and training more volunteers who create a greater impact throughout the community.
  • Becoming a vital resource for synagogues
  • Attracting younger leadership to our Board and committee structure
  • Developing pro-bono networks of professionals, like lawyers and dentists, who can offer their services to those who can’t afford them
  • Establishing a physical presence on a Jewish community campus
  • Setting up residential living settings for Jewish older adults
Our adventure has a road map of where it’s going and in the coming months, we will be developing our itinerary further. All aboard for this adventure – with your support, we know that will have exciting plans to share and meaningful results to celebrate.


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