A Personal Note to the JF&CS Family from Rick Aranson, CEO

Dear Friends and Colleagues, 

As the Jewish new year Rosh Hashanah approaches, it is a natural time to reflect on the prior year and to contemplate the path forward. As many of you know, I have recently taken some time off to engage in such reflection; taking stock of my personal and professional goals, interests, and priorities. After careful deliberation, discussions with family, friends, colleagues, and JF&CS’ leadership, I have come to the difficult decision that it is the right time for me to step aside and resign as JF&CS’ CEO. I’m sure this may come as a surprise to some of you, but others close to me know that I have been contemplating a transition after nearly 15 years at JF&CS and as my initial contract as CEO comes to a close. 

In late 2003, I came to JF&CS’ Career’s department as a job seeker for help in my search for employment. Fortunately the timing was right, as JF&CS had an internal opening as its first Chief Operating Officer to oversee agency programs. My wife and I, together with our then five year old daughter and two year old son, moved to Atlanta from Pittsburgh, and I began my time with the Agency in January 2004. I served as COO until 2015 at which time I was appointed as the agency’s CEO. As CEO I led with a focus on impact, collaboration, adaptability, service excellence, and long-term sustainability. 

I am deeply proud of what we have accomplished as an organization during my tenure at JF&CS, including selection for the Community Foundations’ Managing for Excellence Award, more than doubling and diversifying our operating budget, growing our fee for service, grant, donor, and endowment assets, capital projects that resulted in state-of-the-art clinical, disabilities and dental facilities, developing and enhancing new programs in each of our service areas for deeper impact, receipt of the Sue Weiland Award from the Atlanta Women’s Foundation, and forging collaborative partnerships in the Jewish and broader community. 

More than any of those things, however, my proudest moments are those involving the people we serve. Stories of impact are the fuel that empowered me and all of us at JF&CS. I am proud when a client acquires a skill, breaks down a barrier, achieves a goal, and progresses on their journey to greater self-sufficiency and a better quality of life. I often heard directly from our clients with expressions of gratitude – “JF&CS saved my life; JF&CS gave me hope; JF&CS cared when no one else did.” What could make someone prouder? 

Personally, leaving JF&CS is bittersweet. The time is right; and yet, I will miss the work, the clients, and many of you dearly. I plan to take some time to recharge and explore new opportunities where I can make an impact through my expertise in program planning and evaluation, client relationship management, and project/program management. I continue to believe in the mission of the agency, and, in September, will shift from CEO to working in an as-needed consulting capacity, to assure continuity and to assist staff and lay leadership during the transition. I hope and trust that our community will continue to prioritize the Jewish and universal values of caring for those in need, healing our world, social justice, and engaging in acts of loving kindness. 

We have come a long way together, and I am deeply grateful for the commitment and support of JF&CS’ staff, volunteers, lay leaders, partners, and stakeholders. Thank you for being with me every step of the way, and I hope and trust that our paths will cross again as the journey continues. 


Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here