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9.21.12 Issue

by Sherrie Saag, Communications Specialist, Jewish Federation of Omaha

After a nearly nine month national search, the Jewish Federation of Omaha has named Marty Ricks, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Omaha Foundation, to serve as its next Chief Development Officer (CDO). He has led the Foundation since 1998.

Ricks has begun preparations for his new position by attending meetings and events related to the 2013 Annual Campaign, which began Sept. 1. He will, however, continue in his capacity as Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Omaha Foundation until Dec. 31.

“We are thrilled to have a person of Marty’s caliber and stature to lead our Federation development staff and accomplish our community’s philanthropic goals. To think we found the right person in our own backyard; we are very fortunate indeed,” said Federation Board President Jody Malashock.

In explaining what distinguished Ricks from the other candidates, Malashock added, “His intelligence, breadth of knowledge, professionalism, and his innate ability to inspire and connect with all members of our community.”

Ricks said he was honored to have been selected and asked to take on what is, arguably, one of the most critically important positions in American Jewish communal work today.

“The Federation stands at a key juncture in its One Campus, One Community initiative. We are at a point to really unify the community like never before and help cultivate the growth of our next generation of philanthropic donors,” Ricks said.

The Federation’s Financial Resource Development (FRD) task force first met in December, 2011 charged with reviewing the financial resource function and establishing a search committee for a CDO. In conjunction with the Mandel Center for Excellence at the Jewish Federations of North America, the FRD task force conducted a nationwide search.

In choosing a Chief Development Officer, FRD task force Chair, Jay Noddle, indicated that fundraising ability was the core function and top priority, along with developing personal relationships with donors. “There was no doubt that Marty fit the bill,” he said.

Chief among the personal characteristics being sought was the ability to inspire confidence and trust within the Jewish community, “so that donors know their needs are being addressed and their contributions are stewarded with the highest degree of professionalism and integrity,” Noddle added.

In accepting the Federation position, Ricks will, together with the Chief Executive Officer, identify, cultivate and solicit donors and implement a clear vision to advance the fundraising goals.

“We also need to build Jewish community at a new level. Provide young Jewish professionals and young Jewish families with the means to identify and feel relevant on our campus, with Israel, and with diaspora Jews around the world,” Ricks said.

Ricks was raised in Missouri Valley, IA, one of only two Jewish families in town. His family eventually moved to Omaha where he was an active member of BBYO prior to graduating from Central High School.

After earning his Juris Doctor degree from Creighton Law School in 1969, Marty moved to California to begin his career as a tax specialist for Price Waterhouse & Co. After working in the corporate world, he returned to Omaha in 1998 to become the Executive Director of the Federation Foundation.  Marty has led the Foundation during a time of measurable growth; Foundation assets now total $66 million.

Mike Silverman, Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish Federation of Omaha is certain Marty will succeed in this critical role for the community. “I’m thrilled Marty is eager to take on a new challenge that still has him interacting and working on behalf of our community. He represents a great combination of honoring and respecting what has been built and enthusiasm and energy to look forward to the future. It’s going to be exciting to work with him in his new role.”

Marty and his wife, Iris, have four children Paul Waitz (Chicago), Jennifer Zeidman (Portland, OR), Andrea Nivitt (Moorpark, CA) and Marc Ricks (New York City) along with five grandchildren.