Mitch Sterling, incoming chair of the Renaissance Group, Federation's division for young Jewish adults, saw a lot of people just like him when he attended his first group-sponsored social event in Spring 2005. "I had just graduated from Villanova University School of Law, began working in Center City and stopped by a Renaissance happy hour at a local pub," he said. He recalled meeting some great people and was impressed with their level of commitment to "Federation and our Jewish community."
One event led to another and his involvement in both Renaissance and Federation steadily increased. He signed up for Renaissance's Leadership Development Program in 2005, served as its chair for the last two years and stepped up to become vice chair of leadership on Renaissance's Leadership Board.
He traveled to New Orleans in 2009 to participate in a Renaissance service project with victims of Hurricane Katrina, was part of the group's inaugural Israel 360 trip to the Jewish homeland and went to Las Vegas several months ago to participate in Tribefest, a gathering of Jewish young adults from North America.
As he learned more about Federation and the critical needs it impacts both locally and globally, Sterling's philanthropic support also increased. He became a member of Renaissance's Ben-Gurion Society, a nationally recognized donor recognition program for individuals ages 22-45 who make a minimum individual gift of at least $1,000 to their Federation's annual campaign. He also serves on the executive committee for JFRE, Federation's affinity group for Jewish real estate professionals.
Sterling believes that Renaissance is attractive to those young professionals who are "as concerned about where they give their time as where they give their money." He knows first-hand that young professionals want to spend some time learning about the need, addressing it in a hands-on manner and funding that need accordingly.
His personal involvement in Federation makes him confident that this organization is uniquely poised to provide these opportunities for young Jewish philanthropists. "It is an umbrella organization that provides funds and volunteer resources for Jewish day schools, summer camps, services to older adults and families at risk," he said."I was drawn to Federation because it is so easy to see its positive impact on our community here in Philadelphia and our extended community in Israel and overseas."
As chairman, he pledges to ensure that "our programming helps people understand the needs of our community while providing accessible ways for them to make a real difference with both their time and their gifts."
Sterling hopes to build upon a successful foundation to offer young people programs with both a social and social action component. He is also excited about plans to add meaningful programming for Ben-Gurion level donors.
"We have had some great people enter the organization in recent years, so now we need to remain focused on providing ways for them to grow into leadership roles in the organization and pursue a path that is personally rewarding."
Philanthropy is in Sterling's blood. He stands on the shoulders of parents and extended family members who were deeply involved in the Free Soviet Jewry movement and continue to be passionate about Federation and State of Israel Bonds.
In addition to Federation, he also is actively involved with other non-profit organizations in Philadelphia, including the Anti-Defamation League, where he was a Glass Leadership Institute Fellow in 2008-2009.
He also serves on the planning committee of Israel Bonds Ad Olam and is the chapter president of Philadelphia Area Emory Alumni.
All of this while remaining fully committed to his career at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, where he serves as a director of marketing and practice development for the firm's real estate and tax practices. He is also an associate in the firm's real estate group. He says he is confident that he is up to the challenge of leading this dynamic group of dedicated and passionate Jewish men and women and helping them to build lifelong friendships while strengthening our Jewish community.
For more information about Renaissance membership, call Rachel Sigman, director of the Renaissance Group, at 215-832-0513 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .