Press Release

James S. Snyder Appointed Executive Chairman of The Jerusalem Foundation, Inc.

New York, NY
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New York, NY—June 3, 2019—The Jerusalem Foundation, Inc., announced today the appointment of James S. Snyder as its Executive Chairman, beginning July 1, 2019. In this newly created position, Snyder will work closely with the Foundation’s international leadership and Foundation President Shai Doron in Jerusalem to champion the vision of founder Teddy Kollek, who served as Mayor of Jerusalem from 1965 to 1993, to formalize and promote the city’s role as a symbol for cross-cultural coexistence in the region. As a priority, Snyder will help lead the Foundation’s master-planning process—engaging with institutional, public, and private sector advisors and international leaders to foster Jerusalem’s ongoing vitality. He will also play a key role in generating philanthropic support for the Foundation’s capital and programming initiatives and operating needs.

Snyder is Director Emeritus of The Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Over the course of his more than 20-year tenure, Snyder led the Museum through a period of dramatic institutional and strategic growth, increasing annual attendance nearly three-fold to almost 1,000,000 visitors, bolstering endowment more than five-fold to $200 million, and expanding the Museum’s encyclopedic holdings across all collecting areas by more than 55,000 individual objects and works of art to over 550,000 overall. He also oversaw the Museum’s $100-million campus renewal project, completed in 2010, which saw the doubling of the Museum’s galleries and the dramatic reinvention of the visitor experience throughout the Museum and across its campus, and the creation of a universal cultural narrative embracing all of the Museum’s collections and resonating with Jerusalem’s uniquely universal history

“For more than 20 years, James has championed art, culture, and community in the city of Jerusalem. As Director of the Israel Museum, he embraced the mandate of the great Teddy Kollek, who also founded the Museum, to create a shared resource and gathering place for community and communal exchange among all of Jerusalem’s diverse populations, where all residents and visitors alike can revel in the beauty, history, and unique cultural identity of this 3,000-year-old city,” stated Alan Hassenfeld, Chairman of the Board of the Jerusalem Foundation in the U.S. “We could not have wished for a better-suited leader to help us bring the Foundation into its next chapter.”

“The Jerusalem Foundation is dedicated to strengthening the civic, social, and cultural fabric of Jerusalem, and James demonstrated his ability to advance these same goals from the cultural platform of the Israel Museum during his tenure there,” stated Sallai Meridor, International Chairman of the Jerusalem Foundation. “We look forward to working with him to build upon the Foundation’s legacy and to increase its impact on the quality of life for all of those who live and work in Jerusalem today and for future generations.”

“The Jerusalem Foundation has played a central role in supporting the development and deepening the impact of the distinct cultural, social, and economic dynamic that helps make Jerusalem what it is,” said Snyder. “Standing at the crossroads of civilizations, with deep ties to the history of monotheistic faith, the city has long been an inspiration for me. I am honored to be joining the Jerusalem Foundation to support the continued flourishing of Jerusalem as a pluralistic center and as a symbol for cross-cultural coexistence, especially in today’s complex times.”

“The success of the Jerusalem Foundation grows out of its ability to provide both a compelling vision for the future and the on-the-ground pragmatism to realize it, step by step,” added Shai Doron, President of the Jerusalem Foundation. “James has a proven track record of inspiring vision and galvanizing action, and having him join the Foundation’s leadership team only strengthens our ability to extend our legacy in meaningful ways and in a city that deserves our commitment to its future well-being.”

About James Snyder

Snyder served as the Israel Museum’s Anne and Jerome Fisher Director from 1997 through 2016 and subsequently as International President for an additional two-year term through 2018. During his tenure, he strengthened the Museum’s stature as one of the world’s leading museums through a strategic program of collection and international loan exhibitions and collection-building initiatives and through the rigorous expansion of its network of International Friends organizations, contributing substantially to the Museum’s capital, programming, and collection growth for the benefit of the diverse constituencies that comprise its local and global audiences.

Prior to his appointment at the Israel Museum, Snyder held a number of positions at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, culminating as Deputy Director from 1986 to 1996. During his tenure at MoMA, he oversaw the $60-million, 350,000-square-foot expansion of the Museum in 1984 and had significant organizational responsibility for major international loan exhibitions, including Pablo Picasso: A Retrospective (1980) and Henri Matisse: A Retrospective (1992).

In recognition of his leadership in the arts, Snyder has been awarded the Commendatore dell’Ordine della Stella della Solidarietà Italiana (Commander of the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity) by the Republic of Italy and the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) of the French Republic. In 2011, he was awarded the Jerusalem Foundation’s Teddy Kollek Award for Significant Contribution to Jerusalem, and, in 2012, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat conferred on him the title of Honorary Citizen of Jerusalem.

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Snyder is a graduate of Harvard University and a Loeb Fellow of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, and he holds an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Hebrew Union College.

About the Jerusalem Foundation

Founded by Mayor Teddy Kollek in 1966, the Jerusalem Foundation has worked on behalf of the city of Jerusalem and its people for more than 50 years to shape an open, vibrant, and resilient community that serves as a global destination for arts, culture, science, and industry and supports the daily needs and aspirations of its residents. Since its establishment, the Jerusalem Foundation has invested in more than 4,000 projects throughout the city, ranging from the physical, developing neighborhood community centers, synagogues, health centers, parks and cultural institutions; to the programmatic, delivering literacy, cultural competency, economic opportunity and education; to the spiritual and artistic, restoring and preserving heritage sites including the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, the Via Dolorosa, and Mary’s Spring, among others. These projects continue to influence the ongoing development of the historic city and to enhance Jerusalem’s contribution to the world as an exemplary cross-communal center for art, culture, and ideas.

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