Lisa Gurwitch, who has served as president and chief executive officer of Delivering Good since January 2015, is stepping down to join the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, or JDC, as chief advancement officer.
During her tenure at Delivering Good, whose mission is to provide people impacted by poverty and tragedy with new merchandise donated by retailers and manufacturers, the nonprofit achieved several milestones, including building a more diverse board and launching a Racial Equity pilot program; establishing a strong technology infrastructure with support from industry leaders such as SAP; growing its partner network to more than 1,000 nonprofits in communities around the country, and developing the Vision 2025 strategic plan and Delivering Good vision statement.
Gary Simmons will become interim CEO and he and Gurwitch will work closely over the coming weeks. The nonprofit has retained the firm of Berglass + Associates to assist in the search for a permanent president and CEO.
Simmons earlier served on the board of Delivering Good for more than 20 years, including more than four years as co-chair. He also chaired the board of Kids in Distressed Situations, one of the predecessors to Delivering Good. He was previously CEO of Gerber Childrenswear and chair of the American Apparel & Footwear Association.
“In 2021, the ongoing pandemic, humanitarian crises and numerous extreme weather rents impacted children, adults and families across the world, and we are honored to have been able to bring together donors and our partner network this past year to help distribute nearly $200 million worth of new goods to people in need,” said Andrea Weiss, chairperson of Delivering Good. “We exceeded all of our organizational projections in 2021, following a record year in 2020, and we are extremely grateful for Lisa’s leadership not only over the past two years, but since she joined Delivering Good. Her tenure was marked by significant achievements in terms of diversification of our board, new community partnerships, technology improvements and more. We wish her much success and welcome our respected former colleague Gary Simmons back as our interim CEO.”
Delivering Good said product donations made through the organization totaled nearly $500 million over the last two years, including approximately $200 million in 2021 and a record-breaking $289 million in 2020. The national nonprofit also saw a record year for foundation and organization grants in 2021, including a $400,000 grant from Islamic Relief USA to help Afghan refugees resettle in the U.S. and an in-kind donation worth $300,000 from technology leader SAP to help Delivering Good build its product distribution platform.
“I feel really proud of the work and the impact that we’ve had over the past seven years. We have a phenomenal board of directors and team and we’ve been able to help millions of people. I like to think I helped us grow our impact and build a solid foundation for the future,” said Gurwitch, who is joining JDC, which began in 1914 and supports Jewish humanitarian purposes around the world.
Weiss told WWD: “It’s been a remarkable couple of years we’ve been experiencing with Delivering Good. The pandemic opened up a lot of opportunity and opened up a lot of heart, as well. I think people began to see the world through some kinder lenses, and the lenses made people realize there were a lot of communities that were really hurting and there might be a better way to give back.” She noted that Gurwitch is leaving Delivering Good “in a very different place than when she joined seven years ago.”
Allan Ellinger, former chairman of Delivering Good and senior managing partner of MMG Advisors, said: “Lisa joined our organization in 2015 immediately following the merger of K.I.D.S. and Fashion Delivers [which Ellinger founded and served as chairman] and seamlessly merged both charities into what is now Delivering Good. As our CEO, Lisa has helped us evolve to become one of the largest not-for-profits in the New York metropolitan area and one of the top 100 charities in the United States. Lisa’s ability to forge long-term, meaningful relationships with our donors, board members and all of our stakeholders is truly remarkable, as is her ability to build a great team. We could not have grown to where we are today without her leadership. We have been blessed to have Lisa as our CEO and wish her all the best in her new role.”
Prior to joining Delivering Good, Gurwitch was senior vice president for Institutional Advancement and External Relations at World Learning. Earlier she spent 18 years in various roles at the Jewish Community Endowment Fund of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties. She served as executive director. Before entering the philanthropy profession, Gurwitch practiced law in San Francisco and Chicago, specializing in commercial real estate and financial transactions.
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