After two years of serving the Tidewater Jewish community, Tidewater Jewish Foundation’s Director of Philanthropy, Kaitlyn Oelsner, will be leaving the organization at the end of May.
“I’ve decided to put a pause on my professional career to fully focus on being a mom,” said Oelsner, who is expecting her first child later this year. “I'm incredibly grateful for my time at the Tidewater Jewish Foundation and the many co-workers and community members that I’ve had the privilege to work with in this role. I look forward to keeping in touch and thank everyone for their support as I start this next chapter.”
Kaitlyn joined TJF in March 2019 as Foundation’s Development Associate and LIFE & LEGACY Coordinator. From the onset, she quickly became vital to the organization’s philanthropic efforts with her energy and passion for philanthropy.
“Right after we hired her, Kaitlyn quickly and fully jumped into the LIFE & LEGACY program and our development position,” said Randy Parrish, Vice President and CFO of the Tidewater Jewish Foundation “On her first day with us, she was thrust into the preparation for that evening's LIFE & LEGACY celebration and interacted with dozens of community leaders, agency representatives, and staff. And her second day was a board meeting with an introduction and presentation to our leadership!”
After the departure of TJF president and CEO Scott Kaplan in August 2019, Oelsner took on more duties as TJF’s new Director of Philanthropy. She was at the forefront of outreach and new fund cultivation processes, supervised all marketing and development efforts, pushed to restructure external marketing services to bring more work in-house, helped onboard new TJF president and CEO Naomi Limor Sedek, and oversaw the successful completion of the four-year LIFE & LEGACY program.
“Kaitlyn was vital to my transition serving as an ambassador connecting me with leaders, community members, and donors allowing for an easier transition into the Tidewater Jewish community,” said Naomi Limor Sedek, President and CEO of the Tidewater Jewish Foundation. “Her commitment and dedication to TJF were apparent in her care and concern for all teams participating in LIFE & LEGACY. She was passionate about making sure they all were able to hit their goals even in the midst of the pandemic and secure their future through legacy giving.”
Kaitlyn’s shepherding of the LIFE & LEGACY program resulted in 339 donors making 578 legacy commitments and $21.5 million in current and future gifts committed. Of those gifts, 88% ($18.1 million) have been formalized, exceeding community-wide goals. Moreover, despite a global pandemic, 55 commitments were secured in 2020, also exceeding community-wide goals.
Over the past two years, Kaitlyn has served the Tidewater Jewish community beyond what was expected of her and with the utmost professionalism. While TJF is sad to see Kaitlyn leave, Foundation wishes her and her family the best. As a testament to her character and impact in the community, below are farewells and best wishes from colleagues and community members:
“I have really enjoyed working with Kaitlyn and will truly miss her. She brought an energy and a level of know-how that is hard to find. So much has happened in her short time with TJF; stepping in as the CEO left and directing development during that time as well as helping TJF to pivot as a pandemic hit the world hard and fast. Kaitlyn rose to every challenge before her. Congratulations to her and starting an exciting new chapter of her life!”
- Ann Swindell, Donor Relations and Grant Manger, Tidewater Jewish Foundation
“Kaitlyn has been a wonderful colleague over the last two years. Her passion for building relationships and dedication to our community has been evident. I have enjoyed getting to know her and am so happy for her as she begins this next chapter!”
- Betty Ann Levin, Executive Vice President & CEO, United Jewish Federation of Tidewater
“Kaitlyn, you always had a smiling face each day you were here. You would always go above and beyond to help TJF work as a well-oiled machine no matter the task that need to be done. You will be dearly missed.”
- Craig Bailey, Controller, Tidewater Jewish Foundation
“Kaitlyn joined TJF shortly before the prior President/CEO left, so she was suddenly the sole development officer at TJF in the middle of a LIFE & LEGACY campaign and shortly thereafter in the COVID pandemic. Kaitlyn rose to the challenge and kept both the Foundation and community moving forward on all development fronts. In addition, after COVID hit, she spearheaded an effort to provide additional grants to help agencies and synagogues address the increased demands presented by the pandemic. We are going to really miss her positive, can-do attitude, and her smile. Our loss is her family’s gain - she is going to be a fabulous new mother!”
- Jody Wagner, Chairperson, Tidewater Jewish Foundation
“When Kaitlyn arrived at TJF, she continued the dynamic role of energized professionalism in the Development Office. Always willing to learn and helpful in educating to so many, Kaitlyn was a partner in the team at TJF. With the LIFE & LEGACY Program and other development efforts, Kaitlyn motivated a lot of us, as we built a brighter future for our community.”
- Lawrence Steingold, Chairperson (2019-2020), Tidewater Jewish Foundation
“I only wish that I had had more time to work with Kaitlyn here at TJF. She is a consummate development professional who puts her heart and soul into achieving her goals. Our community and our donors did not miss a beat throughout the pandemic and that was due to Kaitlyn’s dedication to the organization and the strong relationships she built her time here. While I know that TJF and I will miss her ‘can do’ attitude, her family will flourish as she enters this next phase of her life - motherhood.”
- Naomi Limor Sedek, President and CEO, Tidewater Jewish Foundation
“Kaitlyn has been a valued member of the TJF team these last few years. As someone coming from outside the community, I’ve been very much impressed by how warmly embraced she was by the community, by the staff of our affiliate agencies, by their leadership and by the community donors. That’s a testament to both her outgoing and engaging manner and to the openness and welcoming spirit of the Tidewater community. Personally, I am very grateful to have had her with us as lead development person when the Foundation was a team of four for the better part of a year. She’s been a good friend and co-worker and I’m sure she’ll be a great new mom!”
- Randy Parrish, Vice-President and CFO, Tidewater Jewish Foundation
“I first met Kaitlyn in early 2019 at an AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals) chapter meeting when TJF was seeking to hire a development professional. She introduced herself to me and below her name tag was listed “seeking employment.” Her warm persona, energy, and professionalism came through immediately and I could tell she would be a great addition to the TJF team and community. Kaitlyn jumped into the role with a fantastic attitude and quickly grew to take on more responsibility beyond the LIFE & LEGACY program. I was lucky to work in partnership with her and wish her nothing but the best in her continued professional journey and as a soon-to-be mother with the pending growth of her family.”
- Scott Kaplan, former President & CEO, Tidewater Jewish Foundation (2014-2019)
“Kaitlyn has been one of the best colleagues I’ve ever worked with. Her professionalism, dedication, and willingness to help others has made TJF a rewarding place to work. I've been very fortunate to have worked with her and I wish her the best as she prepares for the next chapter in her life.”
- Thomas Mills, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Tidewater Jewish Foundation