Elliot Halperin

On family, friends and fundraising

Elliot HalperinElliot Halperin, MA/MMHS '95

A fundraiser from a young age, Elliot Halperin, MA/MMHS’95, helps donors realize their philanthropic ambitions. Fund-raising is “what I've always done and what I've always liked doing,” he says recalling his first fund-raising attempts selling chocolate bars in elementary school.

Elliot's father, Irving Halperin z”l, was an active member of Federation CJA in Montreal when Elliot was growing up and he remembers him busy in the community every evening during the week. “We were very close,” says Elliot about his father, who was clearly a significant role model. It was only later when Elliot heard a keynote address by Rabbi Harold Kushner that Elliot realized he was following in his father's footsteps, the only difference being that what his father did as a hobby, Elliot would do professionally.

Indeed, perhaps influenced by his father's roles, Elliot began his Hornstein education thinking he would focus on community planning. By the end, he knew fund-raising was his natural strength.

Today Elliot is the executive director, external relations at JDC, a position he took in early 2017. He “oversees marketing, board relations and jointly oversees development with another colleague.” His days are occupied with devising big-picture strategies and managing the minutiae that naturally arise in a large, complex global social welfare organization.

JDC employs about a thousand people worldwide. It has a long and laudable history. “JDC has been involved in every major Jewish event over the last 104 years. Every one of these events comes with a complexity of issues that demand innovation and ingenuity that is just remarkable,” says Elliot.

People and getting to know them are what Elliot loves most about his work. His role at JDC means he's interacting with lots of people all the time. Their board numbers 164, unusual at a time when a lot of organizations are trimming their boards. “Our board members are deeply, deeply engaged in the organization, have prioritized JDC and truly love the organization and what it does,” says Elliot.

It's clear that Elliot too is deeply committed and engaged in his work in the Jewish community, having worked at various Jewish nonprofits including several Federations, Keren HaYesod UIA, Jewish Home Life Care, Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty and now JDC since his Brandeis days.

Elliot lives in New York City with his wife, Joanna, and their two children, Lilly, age 11, and Elisha, age 9. Elliot and Joanna celebrated their 13th wedding anniversary on July 18th.

In his own words: An interview with Elliot Halperin

This interview with Elliot Halperin was published in the Hornstein Program's Impact Newsletter, Summer 2018. If you would like to quote any part of this conversation, please attribute content to the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program at Brandeis University and link to this page. All rights reserved.

“Sometimes you take people down a path of understanding about philanthropy and you get to witness them as they realize that their philanthropy can provide them great reward and meaning. That’s extremely powerful. ”

Elisheva Massel, MA/MBA’14