- Domestic Violence Prevention
- Meet Our Leaders
Kerri Lehmann was a young working mother when she first walked into JFCS’ Parents Place. What she found was great parenting advice and connections with other parents while she was juggling the demands of career and family life. Fast forward two decades—Kerri is now an ardent and instrumental JFCS leader who is serving in her fourth year on the JFCS Board of Directors and she co-chaired this year’s Fammy Awards Gala along with her husband Mark. Her warmth and magnetic personality made this year’s event a wildly successful one. But it was Kerri’s drive and enthusiasm to do even more to support our community that compelled her to form a dynamic group of volunteers who make sure that women and children have everything they need to rebuild their lives after enduring domestic violence or human trafficking. She is the Co-founder of the “Dream Team” volunteers and says, “JFCS is one of the best examples of community around.”
Tell us a bit about the community where you grew up and your background.
I was raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota and my family was very active in our Jewish community. We belonged to a conservative synagogue, and I went to Jewish camp and participated in United Synagogue Youth. My parents were both pretty powerful examples for me of what it looks like to be passionate about community and they showed me first-hand the value and importance of tzedakah.
Has JFCS helped you or have you used the services in some way?
JFCS’ Parents Place program had a big impact on me. I found the services invaluable when my husband and I were raising our three young children in San Francisco. I was asked to join the Board back when my children were little, but I had my hands full with my family and running my own special events and marketing business. I’m glad that four years ago when I was asked again I knew that the time was right to say yes and join. It’s been very rewarding.
My daughter, Kate, took part in JFCS’ YouthFirst Summer Internship Program when she was in high school and it enabled her to work at a local business. It was a great experience for her. My business partner’s son is doing an internship this summer working at a local law firm—it’s a great opportunity for teens to get job skills, and much more.
What is the most rewarding part of your involvement with JFCS?
Developing the Dream Team to support JFCS’ services for victims of domestic violence has been an incredible experience. I get to work with a diverse group of women that inspire me. We all care about our community, which is why we are so involved in making sure that women and children have what they need to rebuild their lives after domestic violence. Seeing these women and their children get stronger and move on with their lives is incredibly satisfying.
How do you encourage others to become involved with JFCS?
I think the most effective way I’ve encouraged those around me is by being an example and by talking openly about the passion and excitement I feel around my own involvement. Friends of mine and my husband’s have seen how rewarding it is for me, and have then asked me about how they can get involved too. I’m always very happy to steer them in the right direction depending on their interests and goals. Since JFCS is an organization that caters to people at all stages and ages of life, there is a meaningful role for each and every person.
I believe strongly in giving back to the world and, as part of that, making sure my own community’s needs are met. JFCS is “the” Jewish based philanthropic organization in San Francisco, and everyone should be involved!
Is there anything else you would like to add?
JFCS is the organization that is here to help people get back on their feet after any kind of life setback or challenge. If I know someone who is struggling, I know that JFCS will be the place to call for help—and that the care that every client receives will be of the highest caliber. I feel really good about that.
It is very inspiring to play a part in such a great organization.