After six years as director of the Jewish Community Foundation of MetroWest NJ and its successor, the Greater MetroWest Foundation, Joshua Rednik has left to become president and CEO of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation.
“There was an opportunity to lead a national organization, which I found compelling,” he told NJ Jewish News in a phone interview.
During his tenure at the community foundation, the planned giving arm of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, Rednik helped increase its endowment from $290 million to $360 million. The foundation manages over 600 individual funds.
“The asset base grew because of three things,” he told NJJN. “We had some new funds that donors created. The economy recovered nicely in the time I was there, and, with the merger, we grew by about $17 million.”
With the merger of the Jewish Federation of Central NJ and the MetroWest federation in 2012, the foundation absorbed the Ness Fund, a bequest to the former Central federation from Mack Ness, a farmer in Watchung.
“I am not the kind of person who is comfortable talking about my achievements,” said Rednik, 40. “It’s not my style. There were a lot of team contributions to our success.”
Interim executive director Jessica Mehlman will head the GMW foundation while a search committee begins its hunt for Rednik’s successor. Mehlman was the assistant director of financial resource development at the Central federation, then assistant director of the GMW foundation.
“I think Jessica is an enormously bright and competent person,” Rednik said. “She and I have had many conversations during my transition out of the federation, and I have great faith in her ability to lead the organization while the search is conducted.”
He said he left Mehlman with one piece of advice: “Don’t make your donors angry. It is always a good lesson.”
A search is also under way for a successor for Max Kleinman, executive vice president-CEO of the Greater MetroWest federation, who will retire at the end of October.
At the diabetes foundation, Rednik will manage an endowment of $26 million. Fund-raising for his new organization “is much more of a money-in, money-out proposition,” he said. “We raise money but we don’t keep it in the foundation. We turn it over to the Diabetes Research Institute to fund all their work. Our goal is to fund research, not to build a bigger mountain.”
Rednik said there are no diabetes sufferers among his close family members, but that he cares deeply about finding a cure and new prevention techniques for a disease that affects some 27 million people in the United States and hundreds of millions of people around the world.
“Potentially finding a cure is what sets us apart from a lot of other organizations,” he said. “Our organization not only has the potential to stop diabetes, it has the potential to reverse it in those people who currently have it.”
For now, Rednik will split his time among the foundation’s main office in Hollywood, Fla., the diabetes institute’s research labs at the University of Miami, and locations in Manhattan and Jericho, Long Island.
But he has no plans to move his wife Debi, son Ethan, and daughter Sydney from their home in South Orange.
“We are very much in love with the community where we live,” he said. “Our friends there feel like family to us and we did not want to alter that.”