Samis Foundation Board Members

OFFICERS:

David Azose is a Seattle native and CEO of Azose Commercial Properties, a full-service property management, real estate leasing and sales company.  Dave currently serves as Board Chair. Dave is a great-nephew of Sam Israel.

David Ellenhorn grew up in Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon.  He is a partner at Ogden Murphy Wallace, specializing in corporate and real estate law. Dave currently serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees.  

Jerome Cohen Is a Seattle native and business and real estate attorney with Holmquist and Gardiner, PLLC.  Jerry is a board member and secretary of the Washington Higher Education Facilities Authority, and a member of the South Seattle College President’s Council. He is father to 2 graduates (now grown) of the Jewish Day School where he was previously on the board. Jerry is currently the Secretary of the Samis Board of Trustees, and was the former Board Chair.

Eli Genauer is a Seattle native. He served as the longtime President of Eilat Management Company, which provides property and asset management for privately held commercial retail property in the Puget Sound Area.  Eli is a member of the Jewish Funders Network Board of Trustees. He is an avid collector of antique Jewish books and has written extensively about his collection in scholarly journals.  Eli is the Treasurer, Chair of the Finance/Audit Committee, and Vice Chair of the Endowment Investment Committee of the Samis Board of Trustees.

TRUSTEES:

Victor Alhadeff is a Seattle native and retired software executive. Victor serves as the Vice Chair of the Grants Committee.

Eli J. Almo Is a Seattle native and President and CEO of Era Living, which owns and operates independent and assisted care retirement communities.  Eli and his wife Rebecca established the Aljoya Professorship, an endowment to promote gerontological research at the University of Washington School of Nursing. Eli is former Chairman of the Asset Management Committee.

Dana Behar, Chair of the Endowment Investment Committee, is a Seattle native and a founder of Discovery Bay Investments which specializes in private equity investing, consulting, and real estate brokerage.  Dana is also a Director of First Federal, a publicly traded savings and loan company, where he serves on their loan and audit committees. Dana serves on boards of Forterra (land preservation), Capitol Hill Housing (affordable housing), Seattle Sephardic Network, and Lid I-5 (civic effort to lid interstate I-5 as it passes through downtown Seattle). Dana joined the Samis board in 2012, is Chair of the Endowment Investment Committee, and is the great-nephew of Sam Israel. 

Maria Erlitz has worked in every facet of organizational development from strategic planning to facilitation to executive coaching. For the past 30 years she’s helped day schools grow and thrive, as Board President and then Head of School of the Jewish Day School of Metropolitan Seattle, and with PEJE. Maria joined the Samis Board in 2019.

Barry Ernstoff is an attorney in private practice who practiced in Seattle and now does so in Israel since he made Aliyah in 1985.  Barry was president of the Seattle Hebrew Academy and Secretary of the Seattle Jewish Federation. In Israel he is active in the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel, and his synagogue leadership. Barry was one of the founding trustees of the Foundation appointed by Sam Israel.

David Friedenberg *

Rabbi William Greenberg *

Eddie Hasson is a Seattle native.  He is a CPA and retired partner of the accounting firm Hasson Laible & Co.  Eddie was formerly the President and Treasurer of the Samis Board of Trustees.  He is a nephew of Sam Israel.  

Mike Israel *

Al Maimon, Chair of the Grants Committee, is a Seattle native who spent his professional career in operations research and management science and information systems design and implementation at Boeing.  Now retired, he is a student of Sephardic Jewry and is active in many Jewish community affairs including president of the Seattle Sephardic Network and Sephardic Adventure Camp, and was previously involved with the Federation, Jewish Family Services, Seattle Hebrew Academy (he was a graduate of the first class, and his children and grandchildren have followed), and Sephardic Bikur Cholim.  Al is the past president of the Foundation and is the chair of the Planning Committee and the Grants Committee.

Rabbi Ron-Ami Meyers was born and raised in Winnipeg, Canada. He has a degree in Political Science from the University of Winnipeg and Semicha from Rav Yaakov Moshe Poupko z”l, Rav Avraham Kopschitz z”l and Rabbi Yitzchak Kolitz z”l, late Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem.  Rabbi Meyers served as the spiritual leader of Congregation Ezra Bessaroth Sephardic in Seattle from 2011-2018, and also taught at both Seattle Hebrew Academy and Northwest Yeshiva High School between 2009 and 2018.  One of the pioneers in online Jewish education, Rabbi Meyers recently launched  www.talmid-chaver.com where he teaches both asynchronous Talmud courses and live classes around the world.  Rabbi Meyers currently fills the role of “Rabbinic Trustee” on the Samis Board.  In the summer of 2018, Rabbi Meyers, his wife Miriam and younger children returned to Israel to rejoin their older children and grandchildren; he is now the second Samis trustee in Israel.     

Judy Neuman was the CEO of the Stroum Jewish Community Center after working 3 decades as a leader in the consumer marketplace. Her dedicated lay leadership include roles at the Federation, JFS, JDS and Herzl Ner Tamid. Judy is a Wexner Fellow from the first Seattle cohort in 1997. Judy joined the Samis Board in 2019.

Lucy Pruzan was born and raised in Uruguay and has lived in Seattle for more than 60 years.  Lucy is a retired nurse who, along with her husband, Herb, invests in real estate and new and emerging companies in the Pacific Northwest.  Lucy served as president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, among her many other volunteer activities. Lucy is the former Chair of the Trusteeship Committee.

Greg Roer is a Seattle native who along with his wife, Dorothy, is the owner of Roer & Company CPA firm, specializing in tax and trusts. Greg is also the Director of Seattle Campus of Golden Gate University Graduate School of Taxation. He is the past president of Seattle Hebrew Academy, and Founder and Board Member of Minyan Ohr Chadash. Greg joined the Samis board in 2016 is the Chair of the Trusteeship and Governance Committee and the Vice Chair of the Finance/Audit Committee.  Greg is a great-nephew of Sam Israel.   

Ernie Sherman is a Seattle native and owner of Pacific Plumbing Supply Co which has branches in Washington and Alaska.  Ernie splits his time between Hawaii, Seattle, and Camano Island. He is one of the original Samis Board Members and a member of the Endowment Investment Committee.

Alex Sytman graduated from Garfield High School in 1956 and from The University of Washington Medical School in 1963. He is married to Leatrice (Lucy) Israel Sytman, a niece of Sam Israel, and they lived in New York, Fort Lewis and Los Angeles before returning to Seattle in 1970. Alex was Sam’s doctor during the last months of Sam’s life. Alex and Lucy Sytman have ten grandchildren and as of 2018 one great grandchild.

Irwin Treiger *

Louis Treiger is a Seattle native who, after graduating from Yeshiva University and Harvard Law School,  has practiced law in the Seattle area for nearly 35 years.  His career has ranged from a partner with a downtown law firm to general counsel to various private businesses in the area.  Louis currently has a solo practice focused on small business and real estate matters. Louis has been involved with the Seattle Jewish community his entire life, serving as president of two day schools and two synagogues, as well as chair of the Jewish Transcript. Louis has served on the boards of Jewish Federation, Washington State AIPAC, and Washington State Jewish Historical Society.  Louis is a Wexner Fellow, graduating with the first Seattle cohort in 1997.

*Deceased

Samis Foundation Staff Members

Connie Kanter is the Chief Executive Officer of Samis Foundation as of March 2019.  She served as a Samis Board Member from 2010 to 2019, as Grants Committee vice-chair, and on the Finance and Audit, and Planning Committees.  Prior stepping into her role as Samis CEO, she was the CFO/Sr. VP, Finance and Business Affairs at Seattle University.  She spent most of her career in finance at high technology manufacturing companies and is a business leader recognized for her skills in financial management and strategic planning.  Connie received her undergraduate degree with honors from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and her MBA from Booth School at the University of Chicago.  She is a Certified Public Accountant.  Connie has served in a variety of leadership positions in the Jewish community including the boards of Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, Kline Galland Center, and Seattle Hebrew Academy.  She was a member of the UJC Young Leadership Cabinet and Wexner Heritage Program.

Adam Hasson has been working in commercial real estate at Samis Land Co. for over 20 years.  Since 2013 as the Director of Real Estate, he has been responsible for asset management of a diverse portfolio including residential and commercial properties, timber and agricultural land.   As many of Samis’ holding are in the Pioneer Square Historic District or designated Landmarks by the City of Seattle, he is involved in historic preservation and is on the board of The Alliance for Pioneer Square and the Pioneer Square BIA. Adam is a great-nephew of Sam Israel.

Melissa Rivkin is the Director of Day School Strategy for the Samis Foundation as of August 2019. She brings over 20 years of experience working in Seattle Jewish education and philanthropy, and her deep professional and community experience will be a key anchor in fulfilling the Samis Foundation’s mission. Prior to joining the Foundation, Melissa served as the Director of Institutional Advancement at Northwest Yeshiva High School, where she led the school to unprecedented levels of fundraising success. She also spent years tirelessly fundraising on behalf of the Seattle Hebrew Academy, and over a decade as a professional educator. Her extensive international experience includes teaching roles at the American International Schools in Tel Aviv, Israel, and Leysin, Switzerland. Melissa was also the Founder and Director of the American School of English in Seattle’s University District. Melissa currently serves as a Board Member for the Rivkin Center, and on the Advisory Board for the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Washington. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from Barnard College in New York City.

Ariel Lapson is the Program Officer for informal Jewish education and digital marketing at the Samis Foundation as of August 2019. Ariel was most recently the Israel and World Jewry Program Manager at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle where she spearheaded an Israel education and engagement initiative. Before relocating to Seattle in January 2018, she served as a City Director for BBYO in Indianapolis, IN and Assistant Director for Israel Education at the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago. At JUF, she organized and led bi-annual Israel trips for 250+ teens. She also lived and worked in Israel for six years, managing marketing and operations efforts in the Israeli high tech and diamond industries. Ariel has a Bachelor in Business Administration with a double major in Jewish Studies from Emory University and a Master’s in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is a recipient of the Schusterman Israel Scholars award and a JFNA NextGen Fellow.

Linda Sullivan began working at Samis in 2000 and has served as the Chief Financial Officer since 2015. She is a CPA with over 30 years of experience. Her background includes not-for-profit, real estate, software, loan underwriting and public accounting.

Linda McClure began working at Samis in 2009 and currently serves as Administrative Assistant to the Executive Director, Senior Program Officer and Executive Administrator. She assists with operations and tasks large and small, including beneficiary correspondence, event planning and the day to day running of the foundation.  If you don’t know with whom to speak at Samis, contact Linda.

Peggy Longeway has been with Samis since 2000 as the Executive Administrator to the board of directors and executive staff.  She is also the HR Administrator and Office Manager. Prior to working at Samis, she was the Business Manager for 17 years at Friedman Properties in Chicago.

Rachel Grunbaum has been representing various foundations and private philanthropies in Israel since 2009, primarily in the areas of grant proposal evaluation, project measurement, implementation of efficient grants management, and supervision.  Rachel graduated Summa Cum Laude, Dean’s List, and Phi Beta Kappa from Barnard College, Columbia University, and first in class at Tel Aviv University, Faculty of Management.  Rachel has been the Samis Israel Consultant since 2019.