David M. Schizer, the former dean of Columbia Law School, has served as CEO of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian organization, since January 2017.
Schizer believes that the organization’s century-plus mission of “saving Jewish lives and building Jewish life” is eternal, but that JDC must constantly reinvent the way it pursues this mission. He has redesigned JDC’s planning process to deploy resources more strategically, and also has introduced innovative new ways to care for impoverished elderly Jews in post-Soviet States. Schizer also is passionate about empowering Israel’s most vulnerable citizens with new social service models; strengthening Jewish communal life in Central and Eastern Europe; and engaging the next generation of Jewish leaders in global humanitarian work. To advance these critically important goals, Schizer has increased and diversified JDC’s base of philanthropic support. He also has raised JDC’s public profile, educating widening audiences about JDC’s unique global role.
A frequent contributor to top media outlets and academic journals, Schizer provides expert analysis on Jewish issues, Israel, the innovative role of NGOs in civil society, nonprofit governance, and tax law.
Born in Brooklyn, Schizer was thirty-five years old when he became dean, the youngest in the history of Columbia Law School. During his 10 years of service in that role, he dramatically expanded the faculty and launched a range of new initiatives, including a partnership with Columbia Business School. Schizer also led a $353 million capital campaign, doubling the school’s traditional fundraising.
Schizer has been actively engaged in leadership positions in the corporate sector and Jewish community. He serves on the Board of Directors of Seacor Holdings, Feil Properties, the 92nd Street Y, Yale Hillel, and the Ramaz School. He also has served as Co-director of Columbia’s Center for Israeli Legal Studies, President of America’s Voices in Israel, and as a senior advisor to the Tikvah Fund.
Schizer holds undergraduate, graduate, and law degrees from Yale. He clerked for Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
He and his wife, Meredith, reside in Manhattan with their three children.
Global Impact on Individuals: David M. Schizer discusses his work supporting social services for Jews around the world. From the youth to the elderly, from large to small communities, David shares stories of how this large organization’s work has far reaching impact.