Darrell D. Friedman, a nationally known fund-raiser who built Baltimore's federation of Jewish charities into one of the most successful in the country, announced yesterday he will leave his post as president next year.
Friedman, 59, told the board of trustees of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore that it was time to move on from the job he has held for 16 years, a period when the charity's annual fund-raising campaign grew from $18.9 million to $29.3 million.
Friedman said the decision was driven by his approaching 60th birthday, the recent birth of his fourth grandchild and a wish to make room for new blood as younger leadership takes the helm of the volunteer side of The Associated. But he said it will be difficult to leave.
"You don't invest your entire being, your soul, in this kind of endeavor without huge emotion and passion," he said.
Jewish and non-Jewish leaders alike lamented the news. Some of them -- particularly among nonprofit groups -- had depended on Friedman's counsel.
"Our community will miss him," said Morton "Sonny" Plant, The Associated's outgoing chairman. "He's done so much for us."
Stephen Solender, who was president of The Associated before Friedman and eventually led its national parent organization, United Jewish Communities, said Friedman is "one of the premier federation executives of his generation."
The Associated ranks third among major Jewish federations in per capita giving, and has the fifth-highest annual campaign, according to UJC.
Friedman's tenure included the opening in 2000 of a $3.5 million addition to The Associated's headquarters across from the Lyric Opera House on Mount Royal Avenue, a signal that the 80-year-old federation would remain in the city.
The federation, which includes nearly 40 agencies -- from Jewish Family Services to Hillel of Greater Baltimore -- distributes about two-thirds of its donations in Maryland, and the rest to Jewish causes nationally and overseas.
Last year, the board of the Baltimore Institute for Jewish Communal Service, a program to prepare young professionals for careers in the Jewish community, renamed the institute after Friedman with a $1 million grant from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.
Friedman prided himself on reaching out to other community institutions, especially those that represent different faiths. One of the first people he told about his plans to leave was Cardinal William H. Keeler, whom he advises on committees to oversee scholarships in local Catholic schools and to review allegations of sexual abuse.
Keeler called Friedman's departure "a loss to the community."
"He is a warm, sensitive, caring individual who tries phenomenally well to bring together every force for good that there is in the community," Keeler said.
Calman "Buddy" Zamoiski Jr., president of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and a past chairman of The Associated board, said Friedman excelled at fund raising with a combination of hard work -- he never missed an important event or networking opportunity -- and a straightforward approach.
"He knows how to describe what the needs are," Zamoiski said. "People trust him."
Friedman said he will stay on as president until June 27, 2003. Carole Sibel, incoming chairwoman of the board, said she will appoint a search committee.
Beyond planning to stay active in Jewish life and charitable causes, Friedman said he is not sure what he will do next, though he plans to consult for The Associated. "I'm leaving the position," he said. "I'm not leaving my passion or my connection to this community."