For Immediate Release
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Millburn, NJ – May 15, 2019 – The Good People Fund, a grant-making organization that identifies, incubates and supports small non-profits making impact throughout the United States and Israel, has named Erin Zaikis as Associate Director.
Zaikis, a social entrepreneur with extensive experience and notable success building sustainable non-profits, is the founder and former head of Sundara, an organization advancing hygiene, health education and women’s empowerment in Africa and in South and South East Asia, and a former Good People Fund (GPF) grantee.
“Erin brings a significant set of perspectives and accomplishments as a builder and change maker,” said Naomi K. Eisenberger, Co-Founder and Executive Director of GPF.
“She is sharply attuned to challenges facing those who see problems in our world and have the desire and fortitude to forge ahead to make change. And as the organization she founded and led was a GPF grantee, Erin very much understands our culture and mission supporting visionaries and their ability to create new realities.”
In her new role as GPF Associate Director, Zaikis will work closely with existing professionals and board members to strengthen resource development and outreach, including to the young and emerging generation of givers. She will also work closely with the Director to identify new grantees and work with all of them to strengthen their capacity, imprint and sustainability.
“I’m very excited to join the GPF team and contribute to its continued growth in this critical yet often overlooked segment of the non-profit sector,” Zaikis said.
“I remember my first call with Naomi, and the ensuing relationship we developed while my organization, Sundara, was a grantee. While we received funding from many organizations, none gave us the kind of one-on-one support and mentorship that we received from GPF. After receiving so much from GPF during the past few years, it’s a tremendous honor and privilege to be a part of this family from the other side.”
Zaikis founded Sundara in 2013 in response to her observations of poor hygiene practices and their consequences in parts of Africa and South and Southeast Asia. She built an organization that through partnerships with hotels and other entities involved local communities in soap recycling and hygiene education programs that cut across multiple countries to benefit over 55,000 children monthly.
Prior to founding Sundara, Zaikis served as Director of Community Engagement for Justifi, where she worked with non-profit groups in Thailand, privately funded rescue groups and governmental agencies to prevent and eradicate child sex trafficking. In 2017, she served as CEO of IsraAID US, fundraising to support a multi-million dollar annual budget and coordinating Israeli and American relief and medical team response and engagement in disaster areas around the world.
Zaikis, who lives in New York City, earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, where she was a Gerald Ford Public Policy Fellow. She has received numerous high-profile citations, including being named to The Jewish Week’s “36 Under 36” list in 2016, and the Forbes “30 Under 30” social impact list in 2018.
“If we could have created the perfect associate director for The Good People Fund in a lab, it would be Erin,” said Rabbi Gordon Fuller, GPF Chairman. “Her vision and record of accomplishment and impact as a social entrepreneur speaks directly to our mission and to those who support us now and to those will in the future.”
Inspired by the Jewish value of tikkun olam (repairing the world), GPF was founded in 2008. Through its growing network of small grassroots organizations that it funds and mentors, GPF responds to significant community and global issues across a spectrum of program areas. These include poverty, hunger and food rescue, elder care, refugee assimilation, inclusion of those with disabilities, women’s empowerment, health, and children’s well being. GPF has raised and granted more than $13 million since its founding.