After more than 4 ½ years in charge, St. Paul Jewish Federation CEO Ted Flaum announced his resignation earlier this week. His last day will be Friday, Nov. 10.
“It’s time for me to look for new opportunities,” said Flaum.
Tom Frishberg, SPJF’s incoming board president, has agreed to serve as interim CEO. He previously sat on the board of Jewish Family Service of St. Paul and had been the president there when Flaum left that organization for SPJF in 2019.
The move comes at a time when SPJF is trying to close its annual campaign, as well as raise money for its Israel Emergency Fund campaign, which it recently raised to a $2 million goal from $500,000.
“We had been in discussions for a little bit of time and things were already kind of moving to make this announcement,” Frishberg said. “We knew that the timing feels really weird and people may feel it’s very abrupt. But Ted has done a great job. We wish him the best of luck and anything that he does going forward.”
David Kaplan, SPJF’s new chief development officer, said that the campaigns are the big focus heading towards the end of the year.
“We know we have partner agencies that depend on that and we have community members that depend on that,” he said. “Right now our focus really is the fundraising and meeting our commitments and serving the community.”
Flaum has worked in the St. Paul Jewish community since 2008 when he became SPJF’s development director. He was in that position until 2014 when he left to become the CEO of JFSSP.
Board President Marni Tselos said that Flaum has overseen two consequential changes to the way SPJF does business just in her 18 months as president: funding K-12 Jewish education at synagogues, where previously it was only day schools, and a new allocations model for both long-term allocation recipients and newer agencies.
“These have been huge things and they would not have come to fruition without Ted,” she said.
The board has not yet decided on a strategy for a successor to Flaum. Tselos, Kaplan, and Frischberg all said the priority is finishing the fundraising on a high.
“We want to focus on the two things that are in front of us, and not try to just immediately go out for a search,” Frishberg said. “But this is an opportunity for us to kind of take a step back about the structure and … what specific skills we need to take us to the next level. You know, Ted kind of was the turnaround guy. He righted the ship, he got us through a very terrible time after the last executive director left. And so it’s time for us to sort of reflect a little bit before we put together what it is exactly that we want to have.”
Flaum said he thinks he left SPJF in a better place than it was before he got there.
“I feel really good about what I’ve been able to accomplish with a great board, great volunteers, and wonderful staff,” Flaum said.