Donn Weinberg, Chairman
Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, President
Rep. Steve Bartlett, Vice Chair
Calvin Harris, Treasurer
Shelley Cohen, Secretary
Linda L. Burger
Thomas “Doc” Sweitzer
|Donn Weinberg, Founding Chair
Effective March 1, 2013, Donn Weinberg concluded his three-year term as Weinberg Foundation Chairman of the Board. He continues to serve as the Foundation’s Executive Vice President. Mr. Weinberg earned his B.A. degree in 1975 from The George Washington University, where he double-majored in Philosophy and Communications. He earned his law degree in 1978 from The University of Baltimore School of Law and served as Editor-in-Chief of the school’s Law Review. In law practice from 1978 through 1992, he specialized in general civil and medical malpractice litigation.In 1993, Mr. Weinberg joined the Foundation as its corporate counsel and soon thereafter was elected as an officer and director of the various Foundation-owned real estate companies. On August 1, 2002, he succeeded his father, Nathan Weinberg, as a Foundation Trustee and was elected Vice President of the Foundation. Mr. Weinberg, who also is in-house corporate counsel for the Foundation, focuses primarily on grantmaking and the Foundation’s real estate portfolio. A resident of Owings Mills, Maryland, Mr. Weinberg has served on many boards in the past and currently is a board member of The Philanthropy Roundtable and the Jewish Funders Network.
|Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, CEO & President
Mizrahi is a proven serial social entrepreneur and transformative change agent. She is dyslexic and could not really read or write until she was 12 years of age. However, what she did learn was how the Nazis used effective strategic communications to win elections in Austria on a platform that included ridding Europe of Jews – and how as a result most of her father’s family were murdered. Knowing in her bones that strategic communications can be a matter of life and death, she became determined to think outside the box, learn to be the best at it, and to use it for good.Unable to succeed in school, she began work at age 13 in her great aunt’s global company in Paris, where, with help from her aunt, she acted as director of communications for 22 countries. When she learned to read, she devoured textbooks, case studies and courses in strategic communications, marketing, leadership, advocacy and public policy.
In her early 20’s, Mizrahi founded and led the DC Jewish Community Center’s Community Service program. Under her leadership, it served 15,000 people including the homeless, at-risk youth and seniors and was recognized as a “Point of Light” by President George H.W. Bush. In 1989-90, as political and training director for Campaigns & Elections magazine, she traveled behind the Iron Curtain to help train democratic activists in the nuts and bolts of winning campaigns so they could defeat communism at the ballot box. She initiated, organized and led training in Moscow, Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), Kiev, Budapest, Prague, Bratislava and Warsaw. The U.S. Department of State thought the work would fail, but many of the 1,700 people Mizrahi trained became key leaders in overthrowing communism. Mizrahi then worked in long-shot campaigns for unknown challengers around the world who stood up against corruption, crime and kleptocracy. She helped elected six new Prime Ministers.
In the U.S., her client projects included the White House, GOVERNING magazine, GOVERNMENT EXECUTIVE and others who wanted to make government work better and cost less. During the Clinton Administration, she was an official spokesperson of the Democratic National Committee and appeared more than 400 times on national television. After 9/11 she became “post partisan” and devoted a decade of her life to winning hearts and minds on terrorism and peace issues. In this she founded, and for a decade led, The Israel Project (TIP). TIP successfully utilized strategic communications to significantly impact U.S. public support for Israel, bring United Nations sanctions on Iran, and used Facebook in Arabic to promote peace and economic development even before the fall of Egyptian President Mubarak. The program she initiated in Arabic got 50 million “likes” on Facebook. Often referred to as a “force of nature,” thrice Mizrahi has been chosen by the Forward as one of the most influential Jews in America – and each time it was for a different body of work. She also is a frequent columnist and has published more than 400 columns on policy, politics and more.
Mizrahi is married to entrepreneur and angel investor Victor Mizrahi Ph.D., who has approximately 60 patents in optical technologies. Together they are proud parents who know what it means to raise children with disabilities. They also are the co-founders and directors of the Mizrahi Family Charitable Trust. Through RespectAbility, Mizrahi will work tirelessly to unlock the potential of millions of Americans who want to contribute to growing our nation’s prosperity and standing in the world.
|Steve Bartlett, Vice Chair
As a member of Congress from 1983-1991, The Honorable Steve Bartlett was the principal author of 18 major pieces of legislation including many legislative initiatives on advancing the cause of independence for people with disabilities. In addition to being a principal author of the Americans with Disabilities Act, legislation included Medicaid eligibility, Section 1619 for Medicare eligibility, supported employment, assistive technology, creation of Towards Independence, the President’s Council on Handicapped 1984 report, and mainstreaming reforms for IDEA.
During his entire tenure in Congress, he served as the ranking Republican on the Select Education Subcommittee, with jurisdiction for disability issues in education and vocational rehabilitation. Bartlett also served on the House Banking and the Education and Labor Committees.
He currently serves as a Senior Advisor with Treliant Risk Advisors, has more than thirty years of experience in financial services, business strategy, corporate governance, ethics and compliance, and public policy at the highest levels of the private sector and government. His most notable positions include President and CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable in Washington, D.C., Mayor of Dallas, and member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Bartlett draws on his accomplished background and experience and specializes in offering strategic consulting advice to for-profit companies and non-governmental organizations. His advice is sought on a range of policy areas including regulatory compliance, financial services, health care, corporate reputation, Congressional trends, retirement security, identity protection, federal fiscal policy, corporate governance, disability policy and media relations.
During his service as Mayor of Dallas from 1991-1995, Bartlett led Dallas to reduce violent crime, adopt a $5 billion capital improvements plan, and achieve significant economic revitalization, a downtown renaissance, and 30,000 new residential units in or adjacent to downtown Dallas.
In the for-profit world, he is on two corporate Boards and two Advisory Boards: Independent Director for Ares Capital Corporation (ARCC), and membership on the Audit Committee; Independent Director for Intersections Inc. (INTX), with seats on the Audit and the Risk Committees; Member of the US Advisory Board of Alexander Proudfoot, a UK-based executive management consulting company; Member of Advisory Board of EverFi, Inc., a $20 million revenue technology company specializing in online financial education.
In the non-profit world, Bartlett serves on the Board of Directors of the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF), a $20 million non-profit based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, devoted to assisting Americans in homeownership. Most notably, HPF created and operates HOPE Now, a national system of counselors who assisted seven million homeowners in modifying their mortgages to keep their homes during the recent financial crisis.
He has provided a leadership role to a number of other non-profit organizations including Operation HOPE, International Relief and Development, Easter Seals of Greater Washington, D.C., and National YMCA. He also served on the President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education.
Bartlett graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1971, later serving as guest lecturer with the LBJ school of Public Affairs.
He has been happily married to Gail Coke Bartlett since 1969 and they are parents of three excellent children, and grandparents of eight beautiful grandchildren. He is an active adventure traveler, most recently Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2011 and Mt. Blanc Circuit in 2012. His 2010 Marine Corps Marathon time was 5:29.
|Calvin Harris, Treasurer
Calvin Harris, a native of St. Louis, Missouri, became involved in the disability space as a teenager. Because of his mother’s work in the neuromuscular lab at the Washington University School of Medicine, Harris met many kids with a disability. This experience inspired him to volunteer as a camp counselor at the Muscular Dystrophy Association Camp for Kids, where he spent several summers during high school and college.
Today, Harris serves as senior manager of public affairs at the Bipartisan Policy Center, the only Washington-based think tank that brings together leaders with different perspectives, yet stand united in their resolve to work for consensus-based solutions. Harris is a graduate of Morehouse College and the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.
|Shelley Cohen, Secretary
Shelley Richman Cohen is the Founder and Director of The Jewish Inclusion Project, which develops and conducts Disability Inclusion Training Programs for Rabbinic Students and Jewish Leaders. She has also served as a coach and advisor to Synagogues on increasing inclusivity. Cohen speaks nationally as an active advocate for the inclusion of children with disabilities in Jewish communal, educational and recreational environments. She serves on the board of the Foundation for Jewish Camp, on the executive committee of the American board of Beit Issie Shapiro, an innovator of therapies and programming for children with developmental & physical disabilities in Ra’anana, Israel. She is a former board member of SAR High School in Riverdale, New York and is a current board member of Lincoln Square Synagogue.
Cohen lives with her husband in Manhattan and has two married, grown children in the NY area. She has a B.A. from Barnard College of Columbia University.
|Linda L. Burger has devoted her professional life to leading and shaping a robust resume of significant social service programs, including the establishment, under her inspiration and leadership, of game-changing initiatives that focus on erasing stigmas associated with disability and mental health issues. CEO of Jewish Family Service (JFS) of Houston since 2005, Linda continues to transform and expand the agency’s resources and ability to respond to safety net basic needs, community emergencies and individuals who need ongoing help with counseling and other services. Prior to leading JFS, Burger served as CEO of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) of Houston and Associate Executive Vice President of the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston.
In addition to serving on the Board of Advisors of RespectAbility, Burger is an advisor for the Center for Future Planning Advisory Council of the National ARC; Chair of the Network of Behavioral Health Providers in Houston; and past Board Member of both the International Association of Jewish Vocational Service and Association of Jewish Family and Children’s Agencies, for which she served on the task force that combined the two into the Network of Jewish Human Services Agencies. Burger is a recipient of three prestigious Houston community awards: the Hans Mayer Award for Communal Service, Joan Alexander Chesed Award, and the National Council of Jewish Women’s Women of Influence Award.
Burger received her undergraduate and Master of Science in Social Work degrees from the University of Texas in Austin. She and her husband Andy are proud parents of two adult children and one daughter-in-love.
An accomplished Business and Healthcare Professional with more than 45 years of working experience, Judith Creed was a founding member of Linda Creed Breast Cancer Foundation, Operation Smile, Philadelphia; and Judith Creed Homes for Adult Independence (JCHAI). Presently, Creed sits on the board of the Schwartz Foundation and is the Board Chair of JCHAI. The Schwartz Foundation supports Jewish charities, as well as Israel, educational and disabilities organizations. JCHAI provides supportive, inclusive independent living and vocational training for people with disabilities. JCHAI serves more than 100 people with disabilities. Seventy percent of the JCHAI members are employed in competitive employment. All live independently with JCHAI supports.
Previously Creed served as the director of Product Development and Sales Training for KayPentax in Montvale, New Jersey. She has a Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology and holds a patent on a medical device that is used to evaluate neurogenic swallowing disorders.
As a seasoned creative director, and the founder of CoolGraySeven, Andrew Egan is much more than just a creative resource for his clients and regularly consults on all aspects of their business including strategy, new product development, retail and merchandising. Born and educated in the United Kingdom, Egan studied graphic design and worked in fashion editorial before establishing the London-based design group Egan Melia in 1993.
In 2000, Egan joined Ann Taylor as Creative Director and moved to New York City to help modernize the brand for a new, younger consumer. From there, he moved to fashion advertising agency Laird+Partners where he worked on campaigns for Gap and Nautica before founding CoolGraySeven in 2004. At CoolGraySeven, Egan works with clients across a wide range of different sectors including fashion & retail, luxury real estate and education. His clients include Natori, Frank & Eileen, Geoffrey Beene, Waterworks, Tolkowsky and the New Zen Center for Contemplative Care.
Egan feels a personal connection to the great work that RespectAbility does to empower people with disabilities. His sister Christine had an intellectual disability and passed away in 2012.
Evelyn Kelley, who has a severe hearing disability, is a self-advocate for people with disabilities. She graduated from Stanford University in 2012 with a degree in English and joined RespectAbility as one of its first Fellows. During her time at RespectAbility, Kelley helped establish the role of the Fellows by identifying specific projects that Fellows could assume responsibility for, and through her contributions as a skilled writer, she wrote grant proposals and drafted op-eds for publication.
Kelley left RespectAbility as a Fellow after six months to assume her current position as a Paralegal/Project Assistant in the Washington, D.C., offices of the leading law firm, WilmerHale. Kelley is excited to remain involved with RespectAbility by serving on the Board of Directors.
Widely credited with helping to usher in the modern reality television genre with his late partner Mary-Ellis Bunim, Jonathan Murray continues to inspire, influence and entertain television audiences worldwide. Since the launch of The Real World on MTV in 1992 through Bunim/Murray Productions (BMP), Murray has created and executive produced some of the industry’s most innovative, unscripted, entertainment television programs including Born This Way (A&E), which documents the lives of young adults with Down Syndrome and their families.
Serving as Chairman of BMP until April 2015, Murray was responsible for guiding the creative process that has distinguished the company’s shows since the early 1990s. In 2007, the company launched BMP Films which sold its first critically acclaimed documentary, Autism: The Musical, to HBO.Murray currently serves as Executive Consultant, remaining at BMP in a creative capacity to develop series and documentary passion projects, and oversee some of the company’s longest running series.BMP continues to thrive, producing projects for primetime and cable television platforms including the 31st season of The Real World and the 28th season of The Challenge (MTV); Born This Way (A&E), Keeping up with the Kardashians, Total Divas (E!), and Project Runway and Project Runway All Stars (Lifetime). Additionally, their film entity, BMP Films, has produced Valentine Road (HBO), which premiered at Sundance, Pedro (MTV), Shadow Billionaire, and Autism: The Musical (HBO) that received two Emmy Awards and the upcoming They Call Us Monsters, which looks at juvenile justice issues.
Murray graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and currently lives in Los Angeles. He serves on the Board of Trustees of Semester at Sea and is on the Board of Governors of the Television Academy. In 2012, Murray was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.
Aaron Orlofsky has served as the founding Chairman and CEO of The Orlo Fund, LLC since 2006. He has vast experience and knowledge in all areas of real estate management, acquisition, finance and operation, and has overseen at least a billion dollars of real estate transactions. Orlofsky is very detailed oriented and seeks every advantage for his investors through very favorable financings, astute and prudent operation, and value-added insights that increase the overall return of an investment. He is personally involved with all aspects of the operations, and delegates carefully, while maintaining full oversight of every transaction. While seeking maximum returns, Orlofsky also takes seriously his civic and moral responsibilities so that tenants are well provided for and happy with their rental arrangements. He strongly believes that business operations should be accomplished so that investors, tenants and the general community reap the benefits.
Orlofsky is actively involved in many civic and philanthropic causes throughout the United States and Israel. Among other leadership positions, he currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Sulam, a special education school in Rockville, Maryland, and sits on the Executive Board of the Anti-Defamation League.
Robert Schwartz is the President and CEO of Food Sciences, Inc., which is a corporation that manufactures and sells weight loss programs and nutritional supplements to Hospitals, Diet Clinics, Individual doctors and Weight Loss companies. He personally funds The Schwartz Foundation which supports nonprofits who serve underserved children, after school education, Israel, people with disabilities and the Jewish Community.
Fifteen years ago, Schwartz established and personally funded a national after-school program called Foundations, Inc. that still provides services to school-age, underserved children.
|Thomas “Doc” Sweitzer
Thomas M. “Doc” Sweitzer is a cofounder of The Campaign Group, a Democratic consulting firm with offices in Philadelphia and Washington. His work includes domestic and international political campaigns, as well as corporate and nonprofit clients. Doc is a veteran of over 600 campaigns and has successfully elected more than 50 Governors, Senators, or Members of Congress. His clients include Governors Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania, Bill Richardson of New Mexico, Jack Markell of Delaware, and Jay Nixon of Missouri.
Sweitzer is a board member of Respectability, a national organization that advocates for people with disabilities, and serves on the New Leader’s Council Leadership Board of Advisors. He has served as a member of the board of Lock Haven University, where he was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Public Service for service to his hometown. He has served on the Board of Governors for the Pennsylvania State Higher Education System, representing 14 universities.