(November 15, 2017) — Avital Ingber begins today her new role as President & CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston. Named in June as the successor to 30-year Federation veteran Lee Wunsch, Ingber joins a Houston Jewish community that has been working diligently this fall to recover from the devastating impact of Hurricane Harvey.
Ingber comes to Houston from Washington, D.C., where she spent close to 13 years building the community and enhancing Jewish life for the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. There, she was a part of the senior management team and served as both the Chief Development Officer and Managing Director of Federation’s United Jewish Endowment Fund where she oversaw the strategy and procurement of all philanthropic resources for the organization.
After Ingber was named as CEO in June, Hurricane Harvey unloaded a trillion gallons of water on Houston, severely impacting the Jewish community. More than 2,000 Jewish household experienced flooding and seven Jewish institutions had significant or catastrophic damage. These factors put into question the future of a vibrant Jewish life in Houston, and Ingber faces complex challenges as she assumes her new position.
In response to Harvey, the Federation launched into action and created a $30 million fundraising campaign to address community recovery. Because Ingber had already been named as CEO, she came to visit in the days following the storm and has taken an active role in the fundraising and allocations process.
To date, the Federation has raised $18.5 million of the $30 million campaign, and Ingber has already begun leading the charge to raise additional funds.
“I am so proud to call Houston my home. I have seen the struggles that our families and institutions are going through, I know how important it is to aid in the recovery,” said Ingber. “In the short time I’ve gotten to know this Houston Jewish community, it has impressed me with its resilience and strength. I’m proud to be a part of it and humbled to lead it during this defining time.”
Both the leadership transition and the recovery from Harvey are key to the future of the Federation. “One of the results of Harvey is that it showcased for our Houston Jewish community the importance of the Federation in harnessing the power of the collective. We were able to represent the needs of the entire community and elevate our messaging and fundraising,” said Federation Board Chair Sandy Weiner. “We are excited to have Avital Ingber as our next leader as she brings with her fresh ideas and innovative leadership to help our community recover.”
In addition to focusing on Harvey recovery, Ingber will spend her first few months meeting with community stakeholders and leaders from synagogues and partner organizations to learn about Houston and better understand its strengths and challenges.