She also served as Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy (formerly Women’s Division) President from 1999-2001, and served as a board member of the United Jewish Communities National Women’s Philanthropy and held the portfolio of National Endowment Chair.
She served on the boards of Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and the Sanford-Burnham Institute for Medical Research.
After earning a PHD in microbiology, she was in the first cohort of students to receive the UCSD Rady School of Management MBA degree. Her personal financial investments were committed to the life science industry where her impact will benefit the lives of many now and in years to come.
Jan founded the Jewish Women’s Foundation of the Jewish Community Foundation, and Women Give San Diego to engage and empower women in philanthropy, and to improve lives by giving women the ability to help their families and strengthen their communities.
An inspirational philanthropist, Jan worked tirelessly behind the scenes and used her education and business savvy to benefit organizations. Her incredible ability to bring people together to help those in need was inspirational and awe-inspiring. When Jan wasn’t spending time with her husband and two daughters, she was a community visionary meeting with influential leaders and instilling in them a sense of awareness and obligation to San Diego and the Jewish community. Jan’s dedication to community was selfless, ubiquitous and inspirational.
Jan was a person of tremendous talent and epitomized leadership. Her altruistic dedication to helping those who cannot help themselves truly made her a hero, and an exemplary human being. It was never enough for her to empathize with a bad situation; she went out into the community and made a difference. Jan was a loving soul with a generous heart who made our world, and our community, a better place.
It all began in 1994 when Jan attended a Women’s Division educational event, where she first heard of the life changing work of the Federation. She was impressed and inspired by what she learned. Shortly thereafter she became fully involved, joined the Women’s Board, where her leadership skills were evident right away. She rose through the ranks to become Chair of the Women’s Campaign and had the opportunity to travel on a Mission to Israel, falling in love with the country and became passionate about women’s rights in Israel, spending many hours speaking on their behalf. She formed long-lasting friendships with some of the women she met in Israel, some of whom came to visit Jan during her illness.
In 1999, Jan became Women’s Philanthropy President where she instituted leadership programs for the Board members and visionary outreach programs, such as the Women’s Community Seder, a program that attracted hundreds of unaffiliated Jewish women who united for a deeply spiritual experience every year. Jan was a 2005 graduate of the Wexner Heritage Foundation leadership development program.
In 2008, Jan was the recipient of the Anne Ratner Award for extraordinary leadership in Jewish Federation Women’s Philanthropy and the San Diego Jewish community. Her sterling career in Jewish leadership empowered her to becoming Federation’s chair in 2011.
Jan’s effervescent philosophy on life was “Set your sights high and reach for your dreams. Be passionate, courageous and adventuresome.” Since being diagnosed with stage-four brain cancer in September 2011, Jan was nothing short of and inspirational fighter, and steadfast in spirit. Dubbing herself “The Brain Warrior,” Jan was always interested in others, in discovering ways to help others who are battling cancer. Even as she suffered, her irrepressible spirit provided those around her with a sense of strength, hope and most importantly, faith. She remains a role model to her daughters, family, friends, colleagues and the community. Jan has been a truly inspirational figure in this community.
On behalf of the Chair of the Federation Board, Claire Ellman, the interim CEO, Michael Sonduck, the entire board and staff and the community, we extend our deepest sympathies to Craig, Sophie and Emma and the entire family.
Donations in memory of Jan may be made to:
Jewish Family Services www.jfssd.org
Jewish Federation of San Diego County www.jewishinsandiego.org
Jewish Women's Foundation www.jcfsandiego.org
Sanford Burnham Institute www.sanfordburnham.org
UCSD Rady School www.rady.ucsd.edu
Women Give San Diego www.womengivesd.org
Hashem yenachem etchem b'toch sha-ar avilei tzion v’yerushalayim
May Hashem comfort you among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.