JDC Names Tidewater’s Annie Sandler president

by | Jan 18, 2024 | Trending News

Terri Denison
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), the leading Jewish humanitarian aid organization, announced that Tidewater’s Annie Sandler — a noted Jewish, civic, and global philanthropic leader— is its new president, following a unanimous vote by the board of directors last month.

Sandler has served on JDC’s board since 2012, most recently as a vice president. Her involvement in Jewish life and global humanitarian relief efforts is informed by extensive global travel and her flagship work revitalizing Jewish life in Romania and bolstering and innovating Israel’s social service sector for more than 20 years.

“I am honored to be trusted to lead this incredible organization during this tumultuous time in the world—a time when it is needed more than ever! I have watched JDC tirelessly serve communities in distress across the globe, from Ukraine to Israel, and it has only reinforced my passion for its timeless work on behalf of the Jewish people,” says Sandler.
Tidewater’s Jewish community, she says, “absolutely” influenced her commitment and drive to work with JDC. “Our community has been there for all the most important upheavals in recent Jewish history.”

“I had never been to Israel until after I got married,” she says. Her first trip there was a United Jewish Federation of Tidewater mission in 1984. With each subsequent visit – including many JDC trips around the world with her husband, Art – all which featured site visits to witness the impacts of the programs Tidewater supported, Sandler says her desire to be more actively involved grew. “To see immigrant populations actually being served was extremely impactful.”

The sense of “being a Jew, religiously, and part of a people resonates with her,” says Art Sandler. On her own, he says, she became a Bat Mitzvah.
“Annie and I have been involved with JDC over 30 years. No one is more qualified than Annie to serve as president. Her passion and commitment for Jewish peoplehood, for ruach, is second to none. She lives it, is ready for the challenge and is recognized by her board as the person for the time,” he says.

Touting Annie Sandler’s leadership style as “committed to collegiality,” Art says she is good at listening to others, which brings people and the organization together.

“I am excited to continue working closely with the JDC’s professional leadership and my board colleagues to further the organization’s exceptional work in creating a Jewish future that is strong and resilient for our children, grandchildren, and all who follow in our footsteps,” says Annie Sandler.

A passionate champion of the Jewish people and Israel, Sandler begins her tenure as JDC’s president after decades of senior volunteer leadership positions at local, national, and international agencies. Among these are organizations in her home community, including United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, Hebrew Academy of Tidewater, Simon Family JCC, and as a founding member of the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts. Sandler was a recipient of the Virginia Beach Education Association’s Whole Village Award and named one of the Influential Women of Virginia. She is also the proud mother of four children and grandchildren.

Sandler serves on the board of the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies, the Commonwealth of Virginia Commission to Combat Antisemitism, and is a fellow of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, where she was a founder and president. She has been deeply involved with the Jewish Federation system over the years, especially in roles with JFNA’s National Women’s Philanthropy, as a Lion of Judah, and one of the first recipients of the Kipnis-Wilson Friedland Award. Sandler previously served on the board of the New York City Ballet Choreography Institute and was a founder of Project Healthy Minds.

“Our Tidewater Jewish community has worked with JDC for many years to help countless individuals and communities in Israel, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere around the world. The Tidewater/JDC partnership is a special one and we are so lucky to have Annie now at the helm,” says Betty Ann Levin, executive vice president/CEO, UJFT. “She cares so deeply about the Jewish people – really ALL people – and jumps in to immediately lend a hand, and support, whatever is needed, wherever it is needed, without hesitation.”

“We are fortunate to have someone as passionate as Annie to take the role of JDC president. Her love of our global work, her leadership in so many roles over the years, her time in the field—all are truly extraordinary!” says JDC CEO Ariel Zwang. “I am confident she will serve as a strong leader as all of us work together to navigate multiple international humanitarian crises impacting the Jewish people, Israel, and the global rise in antisemitism.”

“It has always been my honor to represent us (Tidewater),” says Sandler. “I didn’t get there on my own. . . I got there through Tidewater.”