Amy Tobin is leaving her post as CEO of JCC of East Bay after four years.
Amy Tobin is leaving her post as CEO of JCC of East Bay after four years.

Amy Tobin stepping down as CEO of East Bay JCC after 4 years

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After a 4½-year tenure, Amy Tobin will be stepping down as CEO of the JCC of the East Bay at the end of November. Samantha Kelman, current chief operating officer, will take over as interim CEO.

“My role has been to build capacity and take on programmatic expansion,” Tobin told J. “It feels like a good time for me [to depart] before we move on to the next phase. I did what I came to do.”

During Tobin’s run, the JCC doubled its annual operating budget to $6.5 million, increased its donor base, expanded its number of after-school sites and completed a long-term strategic vision process.

Tobin, 44, expressed pride in the JCC’s progress and growth, including added Jewish education, adult arts programming and professional development for the staff of 80.


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“Because we completed this phase of programmatic and financial growth, new after-school sites and new funders, it’s a good time [to leave],” she said. “I’m really proud of what we’ve done the last four years.”

Tobin is the daughter of the late Gary Tobin, founder of the Institute for Jewish and Community Research in San Francisco. She graduated with a degree in experimental theater from New York University, and then toured the country performing her Jewish cabaret rock opera, “The Esther Show.”

She moved to San Francisco in 1996, working for such nonprofit institutions as the JCCSF and Berkeley’s David Brower Center. In 2014 she replaced Sally Kauffman Flinchbaugh as CEO of the JCC East Bay.

Kelman served for eight years as the director of youth and family at the JCCSF. Prior to that, she worked for the city of El Cerrito, helping to pass a bond measure to redevelop city parks and facilities, including a $4.1 million aquatics facility.

Said East Bay JCC board chair Steven Douglas, “We’re an incredible place right now. We’ve never been stronger financially, as a board and as a community, and a lot of that has to do with Amy. She was exactly what we needed at the right time.”

Dan Pine

Dan Pine is a contributing editor at J. He was a longtime staff writer at J. and retired as news editor in 2020.