Business & Tech

Marc Baker named new president of Combined Jewish Philanthropies

Rabbi Marc Baker is the incoming president of Combined Jewish Philanthropies.
Combined Jewish Philanthropies
Rabbi Marc Baker is the incoming president of Combined Jewish Philanthropies.

For the first time in more than three decades, a new leader will run the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, one of the state’s largest nonprofits.

Rabbi Marc Baker, currently head of school at Waltham-based Gann Academy, has been named to take over in July as CJP’s new president, the organization said Tuesday.

Baker, 42, will succeed Barry Shrage, who announced last year he would step down in June after more than 30 years as president.

Advertisement

Baker said the mission and vision of CJP, an umbrella group for Jewish institutions in Greater Boston, is consistent with the work he’s been doing at Gann Academy, which he described as “inspiring the next generation about Judaism and building a better community that contributes to a better world.” The group is “in a position of great strength,” he added.

Get Talking Points in your inbox:
An afternoon recap of the day’s most important business news, delivered weekdays.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

“I’m humbled and honored to have this incredible opportunity to serve this community,” Baker said.

The appointment comes after a search that took more than eight months and yielded hundreds of candidates, said Shira Goodman, chief executive of Staples Inc., who co-chaired CJP’s search committee. Baker was selected from among six finalists.

“We were looking for someone with great strategic instincts and vision, who could connect with folks of all types and ages and beliefs across the community,” Goodman said. “Someone who could build a team, attract volunteers and internal talent to strengthen the organization.”

Already well-known in Boston’s Jewish community, Baker, who hails from Lynnfield, said he is looking forward to working on initiatives that would make Judaism and the community as a whole “relevant for the new generation . . . in our increasingly polarized world.”

Advertisement

Neil Wallack, chairman of CJP’s board of directors, said in a statement that Baker “understands the many ways in which the Jewish community and philanthropy are evolving and has a strong vision for CJP’s future that will engage a wide audience.”

Among Baker’s responsibilities will be to spearhead the implementation of a strategic plan for CJP, where he has been a scholar-in-residence since 2012. He will end his 11-year tenure at Gann Academy at the end of the school year.

Baker has a bachelor’s degree in religious studies from Yale University and master’s degree in Jewish education from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He was ordained a rabbi in 2004. He lives in Brookline with his wife, Jill, and their four children.

Goodman called outgoing president Shrage a “phenomenal leader” and said the reason the search was difficult and took as long as it did was because the organization “is filling such big shoes.” There are no plans for Shrage, 71, to have an ongoing role at CJP after his tenure is over, said Goodman, adding that he might partner with the organization in the future on projects that are important to the Jewish community.

CJP was criticized in 2016 over a $1.34 million one-time payment given to Shrage in 2014 after the CJP board determined, on the advice of an outside firm, that he had been undercompensated for years.

Advertisement

Shrage guided CJP through decades of change and is credited for raising more than $1 billion for the local Jewish community and fostering partnerships with other charities.

Katheleen Conti can be reached at kconti@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKConti.