It likely comes as no surprise to anyone involved in the Milwaukee and international Jewish communities that Joan Lubar was asked to fill the top lay leader position at the Milwaukee Jewish Federation.
Locally, Lubar has excelled in many key Federation volunteer roles, including Women’s Philanthropy Campaign Chair, Women’s Philanthropy President, Annual Campaign Chair and Crisis Response Team Co-chair. Nationally, she has served on the Jewish Federations of North America’s Board, Executive Committee, Financial Resource Development Cabinet, National Young Leadership Cabinet and National Women’s Philanthropy Board, and as Co-chair of the International Lion of Judah Conference, and is currently Co-chair of the Jewish Equity Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) Committee.
Lubar’s passion for the Federation system and Jewish community have compelled her to stay deeply involved through the years. “I love the whole idea of Federation, and the idea that the collective is greater than the individual.”
“The wider community has a whole pool from which to recruit leaders and solicit dollars,” continued Lubar, who shares her time and talent with other Jewish nonprofits in addition to Federation. “The Jewish community only has our Jewish community to draw from. I’m very committed to expending a great deal of my energy on Jewish causes.”
Lubar is also highly dedicated to Milwaukee’s broader community, serving in leadership roles at the Cancer Center and numerous arts and cultural organizations. “My goal is to practice my Tikkun Olam right here in Milwaukee. I also want to shine a light nationally on just how amazing Milwaukee is.”
What solidified Lubar’s decision to accept the Board Chair position was Federation’s President and CEO, Miryam Rosenzweig. “I was so energized by her vision for how Federation could make Milwaukee a better, stronger, more vibrant community. So when I was asked to consider being Board Chair, I thought, ‘Yes, I want to be a part of this.’ I am so looking forward to partnering with Miryam over the next two years.”
“Joan has expansive knowledge of our organization and nonprofits in general,” said Rosenzweig. “She also has deep passion tempered by an ability to pause and reflect. These traits will make her an exceptional Board Chair. The timing is just right for Joan to take on this new role, given Joan’s active participation in our organization’s response to the pandemic’s effects on our local Jewish community.”
Lubar is grateful to all those who have inspired her throughout her leadership journey, beginning with her parents. “They brought us up with strong Jewish values, and taught us that you give more to the Jewish community than you take. They modeled this for my siblings and me, and I have tried hard to model this for my children.”
In fact, Lubar’s mother motivated her first Federation involvement, with Women’s Division (now Women’s Philanthropy); Lubar also credits then-Women’s Division Director Evy Garfinkel for stewarding her as a donor and leader. “Evy nurtured my leadership and inspired me to imagine what could be.”
Lubar pays tribute to all the female Jewish lay leaders who paved the way for her, especially past Federation Board Chairs Esther Leah Ritz, Betsy Green, Judy Guten, Marlene Lauwasser and Andrea Schneider.
Now, Lubar is committed to standing on the shoulders of those who came before her to lead Federation in moving Milwaukee forward, together. Lubar plans to focus especially closely on:
* Continuing to make Federation’s tent “as wide open as possible. I want to see more, and more diverse, people representing the full spectrum of Jewish life and observances involved with Federation.”
* Ensuring all local Jewish organizations continue partnering closely, building on the increased unity forged during the pandemic.
* Growing Women’s Philanthropy, as “it is so important to the Federation and the community, and has been a great source of community leadership.”
* Expanding NextGen, which targets adults ages 21-45, and other affinity groups that reach individuals with common interests.
* Stewarding and engaging Milwaukee’s young leaders. “These community members are who we’re looking to long term to ensure the stability of our Jewish community.”
* Supporting Milwaukee’s Jewish communal agencies “so they can fulfill their roles to the best of their abilities and capabilities.”
Lubar reinforces the ongoing importance of Federation’s work by pointing out critical communal issues such as the pandemic and the 500% rise in antisemitic incidents in Wisconsin over the past five years. “It is in times like these that we have an extraordinary opportunity to better the lives of others and ourselves. It’s the job of the Federation to care for the most pressing needs, now and in the future. I am so proud to be taking on this role as Board Chair, and I thank the Federation and this Jewish community for entrusting me with this honor.”