Connect to...Susan Kranberg

Engage recently hired Susan Kranberg as its new Brooklyn Community Organizer. As the scope and outreach of Engage activities have grown outside of Manhattan during this past year, it became clear that there was an opportunity to expand the Engage program to Brownstone Brooklyn, and that a dedicated staff member who knew the community and how to build strategic partnerships was needed. Reporting directly to Rabbi Brian Fink, Susan brings over 20 years of experience in strategic planning and business development in both the for-profit and non-profit world to the JCC. Susan has lived in Brooklyn for over 30 years. She has always been a very active member of the Jewish community, serving on the Board of Directors and as Membership Chair at two local synagogues, where she recruited and managed volunteers. She is also President of Simple Solutions, a consulting firm designed to help individuals and companies organize their personal and professional lives in order to realize their goals, whether they wish to be more productive or simply downsize and reduce clutter. 

These skills will be paramount in developing the Brooklyn group and helping to realize its mission. Specific goals for the first year of Brooklyn Engage are:

  • Enroll 75-100 volunteers.
  • Develop 5-7 new service projects for Brooklyn-based volunteers in partnership with community organizations and Brownstone Brooklyn synagogues.
  • Hold two special holiday events for Chanukah and Purim (currently handled by the Manhattan group).
  • Build awareness of Brooklyn Engage as a social justice group, rather than simply a cultural outlet for the Jewish community. 

So how will Susan accomplish these ambitious goals? Outreach will be the key strategy. Susan is already setting up meetings with synagogue leaders to understand their current social justice activities, gain their support for co-sponsoring Engage programs, and identify the key “movers and shakers” within their synagogues who can become volunteer leaders. She then plans to hold a series of focus groups with these key people to identify their interests, brainstorm ideas for future programs, and gauge their reactions to some program concepts that she is developing. 

Susan feels that one of the biggest challenges will be to enlighten potential Brooklyn Engage volunteers regarding the needs of three groups—the Jewish poor, elderly, and those with special needs—in accordance with the overall JCC Engage mission. Although Brownstone Brooklyn has always been a fairly affluent and politically active enclave, these three needy groups may not always be on the community’s radar. Additionally, since the cornerstone of Engage is active volunteerism, its mission will be to convince volunteers and organizations to “walk the walk” rather than just “talk the talk.” However, with Susan’s enthusiasm, skills, and dedication to the Jewish community, she can’t help but succeed. 

If you live in Brooklyn and would like to know more about upcoming programs, or suggest one yourself, please contact Susan Kranberg at skranberg@jccmanhattan.org