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Jewish Community Foundation Announces Chief Financial Officer Transition

Kevin Taylor & Elizabeth Peden

After nearly 24 years of exemplary service, Kevin Taylor is retiring from his position as chief financial officer of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City this fall. Kevin’s steady leadership, trusted stewardship, and strong commitment to the organization have been instrumental in shaping the Foundation’s growth over the past two decades. Beginning in July, Elizabeth Peden, former executive director of Kehilath Israel Synagogue, will succeed Kevin as the Foundation’s new CFO. Kevin and Elizabeth plan to work together for the next several weeks to ensure a smooth and successful transition.

Kevin, who was hired by former JCF executive director Susie Goldsmith, joined the Foundation in September of 2000 as assistant controller. Over the years his responsibilities and expertise steadily grew as he advanced within the organization. In his role as CFO, Kevin is an integral part of the leadership team and is responsible for the Foundation’s financial and investment operations and the administration of all fiscal functions.

“I have enjoyed the unique combination of nonprofit accounting and investment analysis that working at the Jewish Community Foundation brings,” said Kevin. “My favorite part has been the honor of being entrusted with the assets of the Foundation. I often pause and think about the years of hard work, ingenuity, and risk taking that our donors endured, manifesting finally in the form of a generous donation to the Foundation. I’ve never lost my sense of awe over what it all represents.” 

During Kevin's tenure, Foundation assets have grown from $70 million to $290 million, in large part due to his skilled fund administration and management. He has led the implementation of financial and investment policies established by the JCF Board of Trustees and has worked closely with JCF’s audit, administrative, gift acceptance and investment committees to develop and execute strategies that have strengthened the organization and supported the Foundation’s role as the central resource for philanthropy in the Jewish community. In addition to his competent leadership, Kevin has long been revered by JCF trustees, colleagues, and community partners for his patience, efficiency, and quiet, but quick sense of humor.

“Though Kevin’s primary responsibility is to make sure the requests of our clients are executed promptly and accurately, he does so much behind the scenes that most people never see,” said JCF trustee Bob Palan. “Kevin is focused on all JCF operations, not just the ‘numbers’ and our financial performance. He insures that JCF maintains a very high level of service in dealing with donors, agencies, and suppliers, and projects a calm and unemotional way of handling issues. Simply put, Kevin keeps the business of JCF running smoothly. I wish him nothing but success and happiness in the next phase of his career.”

JCF Executive Director Josh Stein agrees. “Kevin has set a standard for excellence, having played a pivotal role in the growth and professionalism of the Foundation,” said Stein. “He is admired by his colleagues, lay leadership and fundholders alike and will be missed on both a professional and personal level. Fortunately, Elizabeth comes to JCF with many strong attributes, and we are so excited for her to join the team and build upon the past success in this critical role.”

“After a comprehensive search, we’re excited to welcome Elizabeth to the JCF team,” said Brian Scharf, chair of JCF’s investment committee and the CFO search task force. “Elizabeth is extremely well regarded in the Jewish community and has an outstanding professional reputation. The task force was impressed with her accounting and resource management experience and we have the utmost confidence that she’ll excel in her new role.”

Elizabeth has worked in the Jewish community for more than 20 years and has served as executive director of Kehilath Israel Synagogue for the past 17. She has a master’s degree in accounting, as well as a CPA certificate. Elizabeth’s background in fiscal, facility and personnel management will be valuable assets in her new position at the Foundation, as will her strong relationships within the Jewish community and her enthusiasm for serving others.

“I was drawn to this position for the opportunity to assist people with their tzedakah and to work with a great group of donors, volunteers, and professionals, making a difference in this world,” said Elizabeth. “In my new role, I hope to assist in strengthening and growing the Foundation for the benefit of the community. It’s about giving people the tools and resources to fulfill their charitable goals and the joy of helping them make our world a better place.”

“Kevin has been such a valuable asset to JCF that it was difficult to imagine how we would ever replace him,” remarked Frank Lipsman, president of the JCF Board of Trustees. “Fortunately, our excellent search committee brought Elizabeth to us and we are thrilled that a seasoned professional will assume responsibility for the financial matters critical to the operation of JCF.  Kevin has graciously agreed to remain with JCF for the rest of the summer in order to ensure that Elizabeth’s transition is smooth. We are very sad that Kevin’s 24-year tenure at JCF is coming to an end, but we are excited to welcome Elizabeth to the team.”

As for Kevin’s retirement plans, he says, “I plan to stay busy. I hope to remain employed in some fashion, perhaps involved in either investments or accounting, or both. Accounting is ultimately about storytelling, and I would like to continue telling stories.”