Linda L. Burger’s entire professional life has been devoted to leading and shaping a robust resume of work in the Houston Jewish community, most recently in creating significant social service programs. Under her inspiring leadership, since 2005, as CEO of Jewish Family Service of Houston (JFS Houston), Linda and her team have instituted game-changing initiatives that have transformed and expanded the agency’s ability to respond to basic needs and community emergencies and that focus on erasing stigmas associated with disability and mental health issues. Two of the areas where Linda has had a substantial impact that has been nationally recognized have been the inclusion of and advocacy for people with disabilities and the prevention of suicide and substance misuse.
Prior to her current position, she served the community with positions at the ERJCC, the Jewish Herald Voice, in senior management at the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston for 17 years and then as Executive Director of the Houston Chapter of the American Jewish Committee. Linda received her undergraduate and Master of Science in Social Work degrees from the University of Texas in Austin.
The deep expertise and contacts Linda gained along the way aligned in life-changing ways when reoccurring floods devastated the Houston community. Jumping into immediate action, and despite the fact that she and many on her team were personally affected, Linda and the JFS Disaster Services Response Team wasted no time. They showed up with outstretched hands, offering everything from immediate basic needs to long-term recovery services. As a result, the agency was recognized by both the United Way and the Jewish Community as a leader in helping those impacted by flooding in southwest Houston. This, in turn, gave donors and funds the confidence to commit over $10 million in aid and disaster case management resources to JFS in the first few months following Harvey.
For the Covid-19 situation, Linda has led the agency team to continue to provide professional and compassionate assistance without an interruption of service, even as the agency transitioned to video therapy.
Linda’s impact in the human service arena is felt both local and nationally. In Houston, she serves on the City of Houston Redevelopment and Drainage Task Force, the Cultivating Families Advisory Board, and is immediate past chair of the Network of Behavioral Health Providers. She also serves as Treasurer on the national board of RespectAbility and is an advisor for the Center for Future Planning Advisory Council of the National ARC.
Linda is a recipient of three prestigious Houston community awards: The Hans Mayer Award for Communal Service, Joan Alexander Chesed Award, and the National Council of Jewish Women’s Women of Influence Award. In 2020 she was named as a Most Admired CEO of the Houston Business Journal, achieving a Best Places to Work designation from them as well.
Linda is known as a visionary leader, whose personal characteristics have endeared her to her staff, her agency leadership and the leadership of Houston’s finest helping agencies.