JFCS head Friedman named to Koret board

Anita Friedman, the longtime executive director of the S.F.-based Jewish Family and Children’s Services, was appointed to the board of the Koret Foundation this week.

Friedman becomes the first woman to join the board of the S.F.-based philanthropic organization since 1983, when Susan Koret became board chair following the death of her husband, Joseph Koret.

Koret president Tad Taube joked that Koret had “doubled the number of women on the board,” but downplayed the gender issue.

“We try to pick the best people to serve on our board. When we considered Anita Friedman, it never even occurred to us that her gender would become an issue in her selection,” he said.

“We didn’t select her because she was Jewish [either]. She’s probably the best executive of the major social welfare agencies that exists in the Bay Area. Her experience is probably superior to anybody we have on the board today relating to the challenges of social welfare agencies, so she’ll certainly be a major help to us in that area.”

Friedman is the 10th member of Koret’s board; bylaws allow up to 11. She previously served on a Koret advisory board and on the board of the Koret Israel Economic Development Funds, and she also provided assistance allotting Koret dollars to relief agencies in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. In January, she was appointed to San Francisco’s Human Services Committee, which oversees all funding for city programming pertaining to the homeless, child protective services, the elderly and a bevy of other concerns.

“What attracted me to serve on the board of the Koret Foundation is that they’re very innovative and interested in inspiring change,” Friedman said.

“There’s a spirit of helping the community and organically growing better systems.”

Since its inception in 1979, Koret has granted $187 million to the Jewish community and $303 million to general community organizations. The foundation manages approximately $450 million in assets.