Director of East Bay JCC off to new job at Palo Alto JCC

Sally Kauffman Flinchbaugh, the executive director of the JCC of the East Bay for the past 51⁄2 years, will become the chief operating officer at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto on May 12, both institutions announced this week.

“I wasn’t looking,” Kaufmann Flinchbaugh told J. “I was approached.” The COO position in Palo Alto has been newly created.

Sally Kauffman Flinchbaugh

Kauffman Flinchbaugh, 47, was treasurer of the JCC East Bay board for a time and has an extensive history of working for nonprofits. She earned her MBA from UCLA.

When Kauffman Flinchbaugh took over the Berkeley-based institution, it was on shaky ground in terms of finances, programming, staffing and morale.

“Six years ago, we were on the cover of J. about our troubles, and now we are thriving,” she said. “The huge thing for us is we are financially stable.”

Kauffman Flinchbaugh cited an increase in the budget from $2.3 million to $3.5 million, and an after-school program in Berkeley that’s grown from 90 kids to 250. The JCC also opened a new center in Oakland during her tenure, in 2010.

“I feel I’ll be leaving the JCC of the East Bay in such great shape, and that next person who comes in will be able to take it to the next level,” she said.

The board has launched a search for a new executive director.

John Ifcher, president of the JCC East Bay, noted that his institution is now in a “position of strength” thanks in large part to Kauffman Flinchbaugh.

“This is a great and well-deserved opportunity for Sally to help lead a large JCC,” Ifcher wrote in a letter to the community. “We will miss her!”

Kauffman Flinchbaugh, her husband and their three children, who live in Kensington, will move to the Palo Alto area over the summer, she said. It will be something of a homecoming, as she lived there while attending Stanford University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in human biology and a master’s in anthropology.

Noting that she is “sad to leave the remarkable community that we have built together at JCC of the East Bay,” Kauffman Flinchbaugh added, “I am excited to take on this new challenge at one of the largest and most innovative JCCs in the country.”

The Palo Alto facility reports that it is one of the nation’s 10 largest JCCs, serving more than 10,000 members with an annual budget of $18.5 million.

Andy Altman-Ohr

Andy Altman-Ohr is J.'s former managing editor and former Hardly Strictly Bagels food columnist. He lives and writes in Mexico.