Administrative News: Senior Vice President of Institutional Advancement

Sept. 7, 2017

Dear Faculty, Students, and Staff,

I’m delighted to share with you the news that we have selected a new senior vice president of institutional advancement, an incredibly accomplished philanthropy executive. Zamira Korff has spent nearly two decades at Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston and, as senior vice president of strategic philanthropy, has helped President Barry Shrage raise $55 million annually to support its mission.

I believe Zamira is the perfect person to continue to expand our philanthropic mission and add to the foundation Nancy Winship, P’10, P’13, and our Institutional Advancement team have built.

I’m deeply grateful to the search committee, particularly Board of Trustees institutional advancement co-chairs Barbara Mandel, P’73, and Jon Davis ’75, as well as faculty representatives Wendy Cadge, Dan Bergstresser and Susan Curnan; Lisa Lynch; Stew Uretsky; and Ira Jackson.

Below is the full announcement about Zamira’s appointment. I know she looks forward to working with all of you.



Philanthropy Executive Zamira Korff Named Senior Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Brandeis University

Korff led $55 million annual fundraising effort, capital campaigns at Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston

WALTHAM, MA (Sept. 7) — Brandeis University has appointed Zamira Korff, who has led successful efforts to raise tens of millions of dollars annually for Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) of Boston, as senior vice president of institutional advancement. Korff will serve as Brandeis’ senior fundraising executive and will lead both alumni relations and advancement at the university.

Brandeis’ philanthropic enterprise engages with donors around the world to align their interests with the university’s mission: academic excellence, the promotion of critical thinking, a commitment to openness, and a determination to use one’s gifts to improve the world. Korff will lead Brandeis’ efforts to advance and expand donor engagement — including alumni, parents, friends, foundations and corporations — in meaningful ways and in pursuit of shared goals.

“Brandeis has a deeply inspiring mission, and I am both thrilled and honored to have been chosen to lead philanthropic strategy and activity in support of that mission,” Korff said. “As both a strong and diverse liberal-arts university and a leading center of research, Brandeis is uniquely positioned to promote innovation and collaboration locally, nationally and globally. Fundraising is about realizing our best hopes and dreams and I believe Brandeis, under the bold and passionate leadership of President Ron Liebowitz, has a truly extraordinary vision for the future. I look forward to working with President Liebowitz, along with Brandeis’ excellent faculty, students, alumni, Board of Trustees and institutional advancement team to achieve that vision.”

Korff will begin her role full time on October 23 and will visit campus weekly until that start date. She succeeds Nancy Winship, P’10, P’13, who stepped down in June and assumed the role of chief philanthropic adviser to President Liebowitz.

“Zamira has a proven track record in establishing a philanthropic strategy and leading creative and highly successful campaigns that deeply resonate with donors,” said President Liebowitz. “I know her warmth, intelligence, energy and good humor will be embraced by Brandeis supporters, alumni, parents and students. Zamira is looking forward to developing strong relationships with donors who have supported Brandeis for decades, and to forging relationships with new donors and expanding our reach, regionally, nationally and globally.”

Korff joined CJP as director of the women’s division in 1997. She advanced to the positions of director of major gifts and director of development before becoming senior vice president of development in 2010. In 2015 she was named senior vice president of strategic philanthropy. In that role, she has been responsible for working with CJP’s top donors, leading a $12 million-plus capital campaign, and raising $55 million annually to sustain and support CJP’s operations and community programs. In addition to leading the development department, Korff was responsible for developing the Israel and overseas agenda for CJP’s 2008 Strategic Plan.

“Zamira has provided dedicated leadership in fundraising for CJP’s annual campaign during her tenure of nearly two decades. She was a great partner to me as we developed our vision for the future of CJP,” said Barry Shrage, H’17, president of CJP since 1987 and the recipient of an honorary degree at Brandeis’ Commencement in May. “She was also a wonderful advocate for new and innovative programs, helping us integrate planning and fundraising, vision and implementation while at the same time developing strong relationships with donors and foundation staff. She will certainly help President Liebowitz cultivate the resources needed to further develop and implement his best hopes and dreams for the university.”

“Zamira brings to Brandeis an impressive record of achievement and experience in both philanthropic strategy and the stewardship of donors,” said Barbara A. Mandel, chair of the institutional advancement committee of the Brandeis Board of Trustees. “I am confident she will be able to build on the strong foundation established by Nancy Winship and the university’s institutional advancement staff.”

Before coming to Boston, Korff served as legislative aide to the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs in Washington, D.C. On behalf of then-Senator Joseph Biden, chair of the subcommittee, Korff helped to create legislation on foreign-policy issues including arms control, collective security, free enterprise initiatives and market development in the newly emerging democracies of Eastern Europe. She also concentrated her efforts on the conflict in Bosnia and the role of the United Nations as peacekeeper in the post-Cold War world.

Korff earned her bachelor’s degree from the School of International Service at American University in Washington, D.C.  She and her husband Matthew Oudens have a daughter, Adele. The family lives in Brookline.

Founded by the American Jewish community in 1948 as a nonsectarian institution at a time when exclusionary practices prevented equal access to some of the nation’s best universities, Brandeis has always welcomed talented students and faculty of every ethnicity, religion and cultural background. Brandeis is a medium-sized private research university with global reach, dedicated to first-rate undergraduate education and the making of groundbreaking discoveries. Brandeis’ 235-acre campus is located in the suburbs of Boston, a global hub for higher education and innovation.

Brandeis’ 569 faculty members are leaders in their fields, as passionate about teaching and mentorship as they are about pushing the boundaries of knowledge. The university’s 5,729 students are motivated, compassionate, curious, and open to exploring new and challenging experiences. A young institution, boldly conceived, Brandeis is intent on carrying on the great traditions of learning at the highest levels of rigor and meaning, with a moral conviction for inclusion and justice. In a world challenged by intolerance and ignorance, and burdened by disregard and disdain for learnedness, reason and inquiry, Brandeis has a special and unique role to play.