Laura Linder (she/her) is currently the President & CEO of Jewish Community Partners, an organization formed in 2015 to operate two Memphis non-profit organizations, Memphis Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation of Memphis. Ms. Linder provided professional oversight to the consolidation of these two long standing Memphis non-profits each with separate goals and missions, with the shared goal of creating greater operating efficiencies and to better meet the short and long term needs of the Memphis Jewish Community. Since 2001, Ms. Linder has provided executive leadership to the Jewish Foundation of Memphis, leading endowment building efforts of the Memphis Jewish community and facilitating grants to more than 600 non-profit local and national organizations in excess of $84 million. Under her two decades of leadership, assets have grown from $12 million to more than $100 million. Her professional experience in Jewish Communal Service began in 1988, when she worked as the Midwest Consultant for the University Programs Department of United Jewish Appeal. Prior to settling in Memphis, Laura held positions at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit where she served as director of their $30 million annual campaign. Ms. Linder holds a BA in Journalism and Psychology from Indiana University and a certificate in Jewish studies. She also completed coursework toward a Master in Business Administration at the University of Memphis. She is currently a candidate for the CAP designation of the American College of Financial Services. She grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana and has an identical twin sister. She is part of Temple Israel’s Ruach singing group and plays the piano. She and her husband Jim, a native Memphian and Ophthalmologist, have two adult children, Jonah – 25 and Eliana – 23.
Sheri Gadberry (she/her) joined Memphis Jewish Foundation in 2001 and over the past 20 years has worked her way up to becoming Jewish Community Partners’ Senior Philanthropic Officer & Executive Vice-President of Foundation. Sheri oversees the financials and overall operations of the Foundation. Prior to joining Foundation, Sheri worked in the mortgage industry as an underwriter. In her free time, Sheri enjoys spending time with her college-aged daughter and playing with her dog, Prince. "Early in life, I made a connection between philanthropy and being Jewish," Sheri said. "It's a connection that deeply affected me, and made a lasting effect on the work I get to do with donors every day."
Bluma Zuckerbrot-Finkelstein (she/her) joined the Jewish Federation of Memphis in 2009, and through multiple years of dedicated work has been promoted to Executive Vice President of Memphis Jewish Federation. In addition to her responsibilities managing or overseeing community planning, community relations, engagement programming, and Federation’s Israel & global Jewry agenda, she is now also tasked with stepping up Federation’s efforts to combat antisemitism, overseeing Federation’s marketing and leadership engagement functions and taking on governance responsibilities. In her free time, she enjoys being with her family and reading a good book. “I love going to work every day charged with the responsibility of strengthening that which I and my family hold dear: our Memphis Jewish community, our beloved Israel and Jewish communities all over the world. I look forward to being able to do even more in my new, expanded role,” said Bluma.
Sophie Bloch (she/her) joined Jewish Community Partners in 2019 as the Director of Hillels of Memphis, which serves Rhodes College and University of Memphis. Sparked by her own involvement with Hillel as a student at University of California, Berkeley, where she studied Rhetoric and Dance, Sophie began pursuing a career in Jewish experiential education. She holds a master’s degree in Jewish Education with a concentration in Israel Education from Hebrew College and graduated with distinction for her thesis on Jewish Leadership on college campuses. Before moving to Memphis, she served as the Campus Director in her hometown of San Diego, CA at UC San Diego Hillel for four years where she both participated in and facilitated a variety of professional development opportunities locally as well as within the larger Hillel movement, including Birthright Israel, The Shalom Hartman Institute, and The Pardes Institute. "I am thrilled to get to work with the Jewish leaders of tomorrow in such an incredibly unique Jewish community," says Sophie. "The support that the Memphis Jewish community has to offer our young leaders is palpable and makes all the difference in supporting them as they come into their own as Jewish adults during and after college.”
Amanda Braswell (she/her) joined Jewish Community Partners in 2021 as Regional Security Advisor. Her primary responsibilities include keeping our Jewish community safe through training and education, threat vulnerability assessments, and acting as a police liaison. Prior to joining JCP, Amanda worked as a police detective for 21 years. In her free time, she enjoys being with her two children, cooking, sewing, and crocheting. “My goal is to keep Jewish Memphis safe and secure, while also keeping up to date with the latest intelligence and threat assessments from around the globe,” said Amanda.
Steven Holman (he/him), a recent graduate from The University of Georgia and new arrival to the Memphis Jewish community, joined Jewish Community Partners in the summer of 2021 as a Communications Associate. Within this position, he is tasked with writing, editing, and proofing materials for print publication, social media, and web pages. An avid film buff, the Shreveport, LA native also enjoys playing tennis and hanging out with his dog. “I’m very excited to be a part of Jewish Community Partners. Every day I’m amazed at how involved and dedicated the staff is, as well as the charitable community of donors. I’ve learned so much about Jewish Memphis already,” said Steven. “I look forward to providing our readers with fresh, interesting content to read on a weekly basis, and ensuring that everyone knows about important events going on within our area.”
Elyssa Pfeffer (she/her) joined Jewish Community Partners in 2020 as Development/CRM Operation Manager. She attended college at Emory University in Georgia before returning to Memphis and starting her professional career. She has primarily worked in the non-profit field, being employed by the National Civil Rights Museum, Friends for Life, and working as the development coordinator for Church Health before joining JCP. Elyssa is the proud owner of a cute little dog named Sassy and enjoys living in Downtown Memphis where she can walk with Sassy and enjoy the scenery. “Working at Jewish Community Partners is a rewarding experience for me, because I personally have the opportunity to see how much our amazing volunteers, donors, and staff care about their community, and the lengths that they will go to ensure that it remains vibrant and inclusive,” said Elyssa.
Carolyn Pruitt (she/her) joined Jewish Community Partners in 2010 and works in Accounts Payable. Prior to joining JCP, she worked for Fisher & Arnold Engineering/Architectural and Lingua Motor Works in their respective accounting teams for over 30 years. Carolyn has been working in accounting since she graduated college from the University of Memphis with a degree in business administration. In her free time, she enjoys being with her children and grandchildren, maintaining her home garden, and spending time with her dog, Mindy, and cat, Mia. “Jewish Community Partners has been a fantastic place to work,” said Carolyn. “I feel like I do good work here, and it feels nice knowing that I have contributed to a great cause for so long.”
Carrie Richardson (she/her) joined Jewish Community Partners in 2017 as Executive Administrative Assistant. Within this position, she is tasked with providing administrative assistance to JCP’s Chief Executive Officer, Chief Impact Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and Director of Finance and Human Resources. Carrie also manages the community calendar, assists with JCP’s governance structure, and manages our online grants portal. Prior to joining JCP, she did administrative work for an interior design company and a pest control company. In her free time, Carrie enjoys reading, and baking cakes. “I feel grateful to be a part of such a great organization,” said Carrie. “My work helps the whole operation continue to run smoothly, and it is nice to know that my skills are contributing to an impactful purpose within our organization and community.”
Hilly Safier joined Jewish Community Partners in 2017 as Jewish Activities Coordinator for Seniors. She actively engages seniors through lectures at various senior residences before Jewish holidays and throughout COVID, delivering gift bags throughout the community. Hilly regularly keeps in touch with the seniors and checks in to make sure all of their physical and spiritual needs are taken care of. In addition to her position at JCP, Hilly also serves as a licensed mental health counselor at an area clinic providing mental health services to a vulnerable population within Memphis. Hilly lives in Memphis with her husband, Rabbi Dovid Safier, a teacher of Judaics at Cooper Yeshiva High School for Boys and Goldie Margolin School for Girls, and with their 4 adorable children. Hilly finds joy in spending time with family and friends and doing creative projects with her family. "I so much enjoy working with the seniors of Memphis and giving back to a population that has laid our current foundation for a strong Jewish community", said Hilly. "It is so gratifying to see them light up when we engage Jewishly with this demographic."
Larry Schaffer (he/him) joined Jewish Community Partners as Donor Relationship Manager in the Summer of 2020. Larry is a native Memphian and alum of White Station High School and the University of Memphis. He grew up attending Beth Sholom Synagogue and enjoying summer camp locally at the JCC, as well as Henry S. Jacobs Camp. During his senior year, Larry attended a two-month program at Alexander Muss High School in Israel. In college, he spent several summers as a Senior Counselor and Swim Dock Director at Camp Sabra. Larry has a background in finance, accounting, non-profit, marketing, and sales, he has served as an Allocation Sub-Committee member of Memphis Jewish Federation. He and his family enjoy attending services at Temple Israel. He lives in Collierville with his wife, Tracy, and stepson, Parker. “I am thrilled to work with such an amazing and talented team of likeminded charitable professionals,” said Larry. “JCP makes me feel like I am at home within the Jewish community, and I cannot imagine a more worthwhile cause to be affiliated with.”
Courtney Shemper (she/her) joined Jewish Community Partners in the summer of 2015 as Executive Support and Governance Coordinator. She has a multitude of responsibilities, some of which include working reception, helping with events, and providing assistance to others when needed. Prior to joining JCP, Courtney owned Poplar Plaza Cleaners. In her free time, she loves exercising, traveling, and watching her son Jared play baseball. “I am happy coming to JCP each morning and assisting any staff member in need,” said Courtney. “Helping others makes me feel good, personally, and I am glad that my work contributes to an organization that does great things for so many great people.”
Matt Timberlake (he/him) has led the Jewish Community Partners Marketing team since 2016, becoming Director of Communications in 2019. Born in Memphis but coming of age in Eastern Kansas, Matt has been a permanent Memphian since 1997. He has dedicated his career to nonprofit marketing, beginning in the Marketing and Communications Office of the University of Memphis while still earning his bachelor’s degree. In the years since, he has worked as a staff member or consultant for countless Memphis-based organizations, including New Memphis Institute, Soulsville Foundation, Urban Child Institute, Playback Memphis, Memphis Conventions & Visitors Bureau, and the Pink Palace Family of Museums (now known as MoSH). A home chef and published songwriter, Matt is a father to two girls. “It’s been the honor of a lifetime to be warmly accepted by this amazing Jewish community and to help tell its many stories of charity and compassion.”
Lorraine Wolf (she/her) joined Jewish Community Partners in the summer of 2021 as Manager of Community Impact. Lorraine has been passionately involved as a participant and leader in numerous non-profit organizations in our community. In addition to enjoying researching family genealogy and southern Jewish history, Lorraine is the current president of the Jewish Historical Society of Memphis and the Mid-South. Lorraine and her husband, Bert, are active members of the Memphis Jewish community and participate in many of the diverse and interesting programs and events our community offers. “I am honored and excited to be creating and planning meaningful programs while representing Jewish Community Partners within our community,” said Lorraine.
Tim Wheat (he/him) joined Jewish Community Partners in 2017 as the Director of Finance and Human Resources. He is also on JCP’s Finance Committee. Before joining JCP, he worked as CPA for 35 years for the companies Dixon Hughes Goodman and Rhea & Ivy. Tim enjoys watching spectator sports, cheering on the Memphis Grizzlies, playing tennis, and horseback riding. He lives in Memphis with his wife, and has three adult children. “I have found working with Jewish Community Partners to be very rewarding and meaningful,” said Tim. “Dealing with financials is easier when you know that the money is going to worthwhile causes.”