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JNF Names New Zone Director for Los Angeles

Contact: Donna De La Paz • JNF LA Zone Director • • 323-964-1400

Pr de la pazSeptember 15, 2006 --  Los Angeles, CA -- Looking to grow and expand the Los Angeles market, Jewish National Fund (JNF) has hired Donna De La Paz as Zone Director for the region.

Virginia-born De La Paz has worked in the Jewish communal world since 1988, most recently as the Associate Director of Development in Florida for the Anti-Defamation League. Prior to that she was Executive Director of the Miami and Houston offices of the American Jewish Committee. Her first Jewish communal job was for B’nai B’rith Youth Organization (BBYO) which is where, as a teenager, she was imbued with a love for Israel.

“Donna possesses all the qualities we look for in a leader,” said Russell F. Robinson, Chief Executive Officer of JNF of America. “She is intelligent, creative, thoughtful, innovative, but most importantly, she is passionate about Israel. For someone to convey to others -- donors and lay leaders alike -- what JNF does, its value to life in Israel and the role it plays in the growth, security and continuity of the Jewish homeland, they need to care deeply. Donna does and we are excited to welcome her aboard and look forward to what she can accomplish.”

“My devotion to Israel is 100%,” said De La Paz. “In addition to what I learned and absorbed from my childhood, it was my grandmother who had the most influence on me. She instilled in me both a sense of Zionism and of giving back to the community. She always had a Blue Box and every time my siblings and I did something well, she put in 18 cents. There was also a picture on the wall of my grandparents planting a tree in Israel back in the 60s, so JNF was part of my lexicon throughout my childhood.”

With a background in education, De La Paz began her professional career as a teacher on track to become a school principal. Somewhere along the way the track shifted, and when deciding what she wanted to do with her life, she recalled that her happiest moment was the summer she spent in Israel with BBYO. “I called BBYO for a job,” she said, “and haven’t looked back since.

“Israel is a huge part of who I am,” she said, and in fact outside of her day job she is a life member of Hadassah, and a founding member of the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. She was centrally involved in the 1994 March of the Living, in which 6,000 teens traveled to Poland and Israel to understand the issues of the Holocaust and the birth of the State of Israel. 

Due to the close relationships that De La Paz has set with numerous Consuls General, she was invited by the German government to participate in the opening of the Jewish Museum in Berlin, selected as one of 18 individuals from around the world to represent the central and southern United States.

As JNF’s LA Zone Director she hopes to build a strong board who will help her better educate the community about who JNF is and the work it does. “People just don’t know the breadth and scope of all that we do,” she said, “and we do so much.”

For more information or to set up an interview, please call 323-964-1400.

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JEWISH NATIONAL FUND (JNF) began in 1901 as a dream and vision to reestablish a homeland in Israel for Jewish people everywhere. Jews the world over collected coins in iconic JNF Blue Boxes, purchasing land and planting trees until ultimately, their dream of a Jewish homeland was a reality. JNF gives all generations of Jews a unique voice in building a prosperous future for the land of Israel and its people.

JNF embodies both heart and action; our work is varied in scope but singular in benefit. We strive to bring an enhanced quality of life to all of Israel’s residents, and translate these advancements to the world beyond. JNF is greening the desert with millions of trees, building thousands of parks, creating new communities and cities for generations of Israelis to call home, bolstering Israel’s water supply, helping develop innovative arid-agriculture techniques, and educating both young and old about the founding and importance of Israel and Zionism.

JNF is a registered 501(c)(3) organization and United Nations NGO, which continuously earns top ratings from charity overseers.

For more information on JNF, call 888-JNF-0099 or visit


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