Julie Schack transitioned from a 25-year career in advertising and marketing to fundraising in the Jewish world—a career she describes as “sales with a soul.”
The four-year executive director of Hillel Milwaukee is taking on the position of vice president of fundraising at Milwaukee Jewish Federation, full time by October. She will be responsible for overseeing the Federation’s Annual Campaign, which raised $6.45 million in 2019. She will also oversee Women’s Philanthropy and the Maimonides and Cardoza societies for health care and legal professionals, respectively.
Miryam Rosenzweig, president and CEO of the Federation, welcomed Schack via a congratulatory email to colleagues. “Julie is a transformational professional who knows our donors, our community, our region, our organization and the Jewish communal ecosystem,” Rosenzweig wrote. “We are privileged that she will be taking on the role of leading the future of Jewish philanthropy in Milwaukee.”
Schack comes with experience in growing a strong staff and volunteer team for Hillel. She grew its annual budget from $170,000 to more than $700,000, attracting more students to expanded programs at the 12 universities that Hillel serves. In 2017, Hillel International selected Schack – from among colleagues at 150 Hillel campuses around the world – as recipient of the Innovation in Fundraising Award.
The COVID-19 pandemic has not stopped Hillel programming. Since March, the campus organization has sponsored 70 virtual programs from cooking to Israeli dancing. “We’re finding that our students, just like everybody else in the community, are hungering for community and connectedness. They’re showing up and we’re meeting their needs now,” Schack said. Deb Fendrich, the current assistant director of Hillel, will step up as the new executive director.
Prior to Hillel, Schack served as director of women’s philanthropy at the Jewish Federation of San Antonio.
“My passion is truly philanthropy and raising necessary funds for the Jewish people,” Schack said. “It’s important to make sure my kids and my kids’ kids have a viable, vibrant Jewish future.”
Her drive and energy for the work of fundraising is rooted in the famous quote by Jewish scholar Hillel. “If we don’t raise the funds for us, who will?” Schack said.
Schack moved her family around for many years. Always, she felt a kinship with Milwaukee. “Milwaukee was the one place where we truly felt at home,” said Schack, who belongs to Congregation Shalom. “I think that speaks to the community that my family embraced that.”
Her fundraising plan involves a “reimagining” of organizations and their place in the community. That is especially important since the March shutdown of in-person Jewish activities. “The pandemic taught us the importance of having a community to lift us up in times of crises,” she said. “We all want to get past this being stronger than before.”
Going forward, that will be the message that resonates with most people. “It’s that we’re all in this together.”
Schack is excited for her future with Federation. “I have such respect and admiration and am grateful to be working with an incredible leadership team and lay leaders. The possibilities are endless for this community.”