Jewish Federation of St. Louis has announced the award winners to be honored at the 2019 Annual Meeting on Thursday, September 12. The Fred A. Goldstein Award for Professional Leadership and David N. and Roselin Grosberg Young Leadership Awards will be presented, along with the RubinBrown Corporate Leadership Award.
Ellen Alper, Executive Director of NCJW St. Louis, is the recipient of the 2019 Fred A. Goldstein Professional Excellence Award. With Alper’s professional leadership, NCJW St. Louis has 1,500 members and is consistently recognized as one of the exemplary sections of NCJW in the country. Alper supervises an office and Resale Shop staff. Prior to NCJW, Alper was Executive Director of Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority, Assistant Executive Director of The St. Louis Association of Realtors, a CORO Fellow in Public Affairs, and worked in The White House under President Jimmy Carter.
Alper’s work on behalf of NCJW has her representing a primarily Jewish organization while collaborating and convening with the broader community around issues of importance to women, children, and families. Her leadership and vision in refocusing NCJW’s advocacy and social justice work has catapulted the organization into an even stronger community profile including an increased presence in Jefferson City by NCJW staff and volunteers, in working and testifying on legislation concerning human trafficking, domestic violence, daycare safety issues, and improving access by low-income women to reproductive healthcare.
Other initiatives under Alper’s leadership include the Higher Ground Committee, identifying gaps in service to victims of domestic abuse, NCJW Human Trafficking work, and The Healing Hearts Bank, NCJW’s first hands-on community service project providing small loans for domestic violence survivors, which was awarded the FOCUS-St. Louis “What’s Right with the Region” Award in 2015. Alper is a life member of Women’s Philanthropy of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, having served as President of the Business and Professional Women’s group.
Andy Babitz and Lauren Cohen were named winners of the Grosberg Award, which recognizes volunteer young adult leaders in the Jewish community who demonstrate active Jewish Federation leadership, leadership in other Jewish organizations, and commitment to Federation’s Annual Community Campaign. Both Babitz and Cohen are members of Federation’s Young Ben Gurion Society.
Babitz was the Chair of Federation’s YPD Relaunch Task Force, creating a strategy for the future of young adult engagement in the St. Louis Jewish community. Babitz was a Wexner Heritage Foundation Fellow and a Millstone Fellow. He serves on Federation’s Development Committee and was a member of the Millstone Institute Advisory Committee. Babitz is currently a Vice President of United Hebrew Congregation, was co-chair of the UH Gala with his family, and previously served as a UH board member and religious school teacher. Babitz was co-commissioner of the community-wide inter-congregational softball league. Babitz practiced law for nine years and is currently a financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual – The Babitz Financial Group.
Lauren Cohen serves on Federation’s Professional Society Leadership Advisory Council and helped launch and currently co-chairs the Professional Society Women’s Initiative. She participated in the pilot program for ACCESS Leadership and will co-chair the 2020 cohort. She is also a member of the Millstone Institute Advisory Committee. Cohen is also on the Board of the ADL Heartland, co-chaired the ADL Glass Leadership Program, and is now chair of the ADL Staenberg Fellows Program. Cohen is a litigation attorney with Capes Sokol Goodman and Sarachan, P.C. Cohen recently became a certified professional coach and frequently speaks on topics related to empowering professional women, leaders, and teams.
The 2019 RubinBrown Corporate Leadership Award will go to Wolff Shoe Company, which was selected for its steadfast support of Federation and the Jewish community. Beginning as a domestic producer of shoes over 100 years ago, Wolff Shoe Company remains a successful family business currently in its fourth generation of family leadership. Wolff Shoe also operates its own Marmi shoe stores throughout the country. The company’s continued success is rooted in its commitment to delivering intrinsic value and superior craftsmanship, as well as its ability to cater to small boutiques, independent retailers, and major retail accounts alike.
Jewish Federation of St. Louis’ 2019 Annual Meeting has been set for Sept. 12 at the Kaplan Feldman Complex, 12 Millstone Campus Drive. The Annual Meeting begins at 6:45 p.m. Tickets for the Annual Meeting are $18 per person. An hors d’oeuvres reception will precede the meeting at 6 p.m.; dietary laws observed.