Arnie Fielkow announces plans to step down as Federation CEO
By ALAN SMASON
Arnie Fielkow, the CEO and president of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, announced his intention to step down after five years at the helm of the organization.
Fielkow, a former executive with the New Orleans Saints organization, was elected to several terms as a New Orleans City Councilman-at-large before leaving the city to become the CEO of the National Basketball Retired Players Association. After being recruited by members of the Federation board, Fielkow accepted and assumed the new titles of CEO and president for what was formerly termed the executive director position.
Fielkow returned to New Orleans with his physician wife Susan in 2017 ushering in a period of remarkable growth for the Federation and an indication of the charismatic brand of leadership he has brandished throughout his career.
In his email announcement, Fielkow indicated he will be leaving office at the end of the calendar year. He went over a number of his accomplishments including creating and strengthening programming partnerships through the Greater New Orleans community and raising a significant amount of new revenue through a series of sponsorships, grants and naming rights. According to Fielkow, all of Federation’s programming is now self-funded.
“I have greatly enjoyed my Federation tenure and believe a very solid foundation has been laid for my successor’s future success,” Fielkow wrote. “I came into office with an agenda to broaden Federation’s appeal to all segments of our Jewish community and also to better integrate the Jewish Federation into the New Orleans community-at-large. Despite having to overcome COVID-19, hurricanes, and many other things thrown our way, I am very proud of what we together have accomplished.”
Under Fielkow’s tenure, two new centers were established – the Goldring Family Foundation for Jewish-Multicultural Affairs and the Sherry and Alan Leventhal Center for Interfaith Families – both intended to bolster inter-religious and cultural outreach as well as to connect to families with Jewish and other faith observance.
Fielkow was critical in resisting passage of pro-BDS legislation on a state and city level and broadened ties to Israel with the first ever Federation Louisiana Trade Mission.
In the wake of the synagogue attacks in Pittsburgh and in Poway, CA., he was also instrumental in strengthening the security protocols for Federation and the area’s possible soft targets such as the JCCs and synagogues. He helped institute the Greater New Orleans Security program and helped raise more than $500,000 that established the first Community Security Director and also implemented a community-wide alert system.
On a personal note, the Fielkow family, which includes adopted Ukrainian children, were at the forefront in fighting Russian aggression against Ukraine and continue to engage during the continuing struggle with family members who reside there.
“In sum, it has been a full and truly wonderful 5+ years, and I am so grateful to all of you,” Fielkow added. “The New Orleans Jewish community is strong, resilient and impactful, and it has been an absolute honor and a privilege to have had the opportunity to lead it. As for what may be next for me, stay tuned as I still have much to give back to a community I love!”
Brian Katz, the board chair of Federation, announced the formation of a CEO Selection Committee to be jointly chaired by Federation vice chairs Melinda Mintz and Jonny Lake. Also named to the committee are former Federation president Alan Franco, past Federation chair Josh Force along with community members Rebecca Friedman, Kathy Shepard, Sarah Schatzmann and Emeritus Rabbi Bob Loewy of Congregation Gates of Prayer.