Hillel International President and CEO Eric Fingerhut announced today that Richard Bennett is joining the organization as its first Chief Development Officer. This addition to the senior leadership team at the Schusterman International Center (SIC) comes as part of Hillel’s Strategic Implementation Plan.
“The introduction of a chief development officer is a critical step in the growth of Hillel International as a successful, dynamic global organization,” Fingerhut said. “Richard’s proven ability to engage the community will be a boon to furthering Hillel’s goals of creating a viable global fundraising mechanism that will sustain the movement as we celebrate our 90th birthday and move toward our centennial.”
Bennett, 44, will be responsible for developing and fostering a renewed culture of philanthropy across the global Hillel community. He will lead Hillel’s advancement staff in nurturing existing relationships and cultivating new donors to ensure Hillel is able to exceed its goals in providing a welcoming campus environment to enrich the lives of Jewish college students so that they may enrich the world.
“Richard brings the expertise, the integrity, and the menschlichkeit we need to create a new synergy around fundraising in Hillel,” said Sidney Pertnoy, Chairman of Hillel International’s Board of Directors.
While at Princeton University, where he received his Ph.D., Bennett served as president of the Hillel Board while he was also a university development officer. In that capacity he worked with Rabbi Julie Roth, Princeton Hillel’s executive director.
“Richard demonstrates an ability to connect deeply with donors and the strategic patience and graciousness to land the big gifts,” said Rabbi Roth. “He exemplifies the model needed to move Hillel International’s fundraising enterprise—one of extraordinary partnership between the University and Hillel, based on coordination and mutual trust.”
"I had the good fortune to experience the power of Hillel as a graduate student and as a lay leader,” said Bennett. “I look forward to working with Eric Fingerhut and the team in Washington, and with hundreds of committed professionals and lay leaders across the global Hillel community, to engage the philanthropic spirit and advance Hillel’s mission.”
Bennett joins Hillel International from the philanthropic management consultants Grenzebach Glier & Associates where he served as Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Europe. Prior to that he was the Director of Philanthropy, Europe and the Middle East, at the World Wildlife Fund. He has also served in principal and leadership gift development at Princeton University and as Director of Development at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. A native of Liverpool, Bennett graduated from Exeter College, Oxford University. He also earned an M.A. in English from McGill University, and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Princeton University. He served on the board of Directors of the Center for Jewish Life/Hillel at Princeton University for six years.