In this episode of Restarting America, Josh Gibbs from 97 Switch interviews Russell F. Robinson, CEO of Jewish National Fund-USA. Throughout the interview, they discuss the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on business and society. Robinson shares how the current health pandemic has affected JNF-USA and how he is adapting to new circumstances.
In 1998, Robinson became the youngest CEO in JNF-USA’s history. He is constantly traveling around the US and Israel to meet with JNF-USA’s partners and affiliates to ensure that their vision and philanthropic investment is more relevant and meaningful today than ever before, particularly among its growing 22-40-year-old JNFuture leadership division.
Today, almost 120 years after it was founded, JNF-USA is unparalleled in the Jewish philanthropic world. JNF-USA’s strategic vision has been, and always will be, to ensure a strong, secure, and prosperous future for the land and people of Israel.
Everything JNF-USA does—every project, initiative, and campaign—is integral to the organization’s vision of building and connecting to Israel. JNF-USA plants trees, builds houses and parks, sources water solutions, buys fire trucks, and improves the lives of people with special needs. In addition, JNF-USA works to boost tourism, support Aliyah, promote Zionist education and engagement, build medical centers and trauma centers, fund agricultural and culinary research, and run a high school semester study abroad program in Israel.
Robinson has succeeded in making JNF-USA one of the top-rated charities in the United States, and the leading organization for the land and people of Israel. He has been ranked on The Jerusalem Post’s list of the World’s 50 Most Influential Jews and oversees the organization’s groundbreaking One Billion Dollar Roadmap for the Next Decade. Robinson has been featured in best-selling management books and regularly appears on TV, radio, and in print media.
A sixth-generation American Jew, Robinson grew up in El Paso, Texas. His family first laid down its American roots in Petersburg, Virginia after emigrating from Alsace-Lorraine in the late 1700s.