New York, NY — JDC, the global Jewish humanitarian organization, announced that after a vigorous search within the JDC family, Avital Sandler-Loeff, a veteran JDC professional, will become the next Executive Director of its disaster relief and international development unit. Sandler-Loeff will assume the role in January 2020.
“We’re incredibly proud that Avital Sandler-Loeff will lead JDC’s efforts responding to natural disasters, crises, and international development needs. Her with wide-ranging experience in program development and management, fundraising, and relationship-building in the international NGO arena is only matched by her long-standing commitment to the Jewish and humanitarian values which drive our efforts to repair a broken world,” said Ostrin. “It’s a testament to her record of accomplishment, to the strength of JDC’s professional bench, and to our organizational continuity that this important position draws from our senior staff ranks.”
Sandler-Loeff currently serves with distinction as the director of Israel Unlimited, JDC’s partnership with the Ruderman Family Foundation and Israeli government focused on driving inclusion and accessibility for Israelis with disabilities. In that role since 2012, she has more than tripled Israel Unlimited’s budget to $6.5 million; expanded its operations to more than 50 cities; and has overseen the creation of programs reaching tens of thousands of Israelis with disabilities in the areas of housing, employment, education, and social service delivery.
She also brings to the position critical experience building relationships among global NGOs and creating professional exchanges between disability advocates worldwide and Israelis working in this space. Sandler-Loeff has received recognition for her work twice from the Zero Project (a major international disabilities initiative), from the German government, and has she is a noted speaker at global fora on disabilities inclusion best practices. Her pioneering work with Israel Unlimited, and in the Arab sector in Israel, resulted in a special $1 million USAID grant to train hundreds of religious leaders, students, researchers, and people with disabilities in Israel and the West Bank to educate the public on disabilities issues and advance disability rights.
Sandler-Loeff’s expertise in creating services for people with disabilities facing crisis and emergencies in Israel has had practical application outside the country and JDC leveraged this skillset to strengthen its disaster relief work in 2016 when she served in the Philippines advising local partners and communities how to effectively include people with disabilities in their disaster mitigation and response practices. As the professional head of JDC’s Global Disabilities Taskforce, Avital has partnered with JDC board member Jay Ruderman to bolster JDC’s global work with people with disabilities, leading to knowledge sharing and new approaches to empowering this population within Jewish and other local communities.
JDC has recently deployed disaster relief and mitigation initiatives following natural disasters in the Bahamas, Mozambique, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Mexico, the Philippines, Nepal, Chile, and the Caribbean.
Among its flagship international development programs, JDC launched TOV, a new initiative aiding African farmers by providing them Israeli ag-tech and training, funding, and access to new markets for their crops.
JDC’s disaster relief programs — funded by special appeals of the Jewish Federations of North America and tens of thousands of individual donors to JDC — are coordinated with the U.S. Department of State, USAID, the Israeli government, and the United Nations, as well as local and international partners.