‘Most people want to do good in the world’

‘Most people want to do good in the world’

Liz Klibanoff is named Sharsheret’s new director of fundraising

Liz Klibanoff
Liz Klibanoff

Liz Klibanoff of West Orange has joined Sharsheret as its new director of fundraising. Sharsheret is a Teaneck-based nonprofit with a nationwide reach that addresses the needs of Jewish women and their families, as well as other women and their families, who are facing breast and
ovarian cancer.

As chief development officer, Ms. Klibanoff, 54, brings 25 years of experience in fundraising for children at risk in Israel to Sharsheret.

“So many people rely on Sharsheret, and it’s my greatest privilege to maximize development efforts to benefit more people around the country,”
Ms. Klibanoff said.

“We are thrilled to welcome Liz to the team at this pivotal point of growth in Sharsheret’s history,” CEO Elana Silber wrote in a news release. “Liz’s experience, expertise and leadership will guide and enhance our efforts to improve quality of life for women, men, and families facing breast cancer and ovarian cancer and to provide life-saving education and outreach to the broader community.”

Sharsheret, Hebrew for chain, connects clients to a peer supporter who guides them through the journey of cancer treatment. The organization has clinicians, social workers, and a genetics counselor on staff who lend support before and during treatment. All services are free to the patient and family.

The statistics on breast and ovarian cancer can be frightening, but both are very treatable if detected early. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, and one in 72 will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

One in 40 Ashkenazi Jews carries a mutation of the BRCA gene, which makes the carrier more susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer.

“Our goal is to step in and be proactive in support; let people know you need to be tested if you have a family history and be prepared to take on those challenges,” said Ms. Klibanoff, who belongs to Congregation AABJ&D in West Orange.

Services extend to the families of women undergoing the diagnosis and treatment.

Sharsheret sends out “busy boxes” to keep kids engaged with age-appropriate toys during their mother’s cancer treatment. Women get everything from makeup kits to funds for non-medical expenses during treatment if they qualify as low income.

“At every level, we’re there to provide the kind of support that is essential to get through this and thrive in the future,” Ms. Klibanoff said.

Shasheret has worked with 250,000 people in its 22-year history. The need for its services has grown recently, in part because the pandemic caused delays and disruptions in care for people with breast cancer. “In the aftermath of covid-19, many people received a late diagnosis because they couldn’t get to their mammograms in time,” Ms. Klibanoff said.

“I want people to know that this is an organization that does amazing work and that when you invest in Sharsheret, you are investing really in yourself, because we’re going to be there for you and your family and your community at every step of the way, if you need us.”

The support is customized, she said. “There’s nothing out of the box with us. We want to personalize it for you, for what you need in the right moment.”

The bulk of Ms. Klibanoff’s fundraising career was at Amit Children, where she helped promote the organization’s mission of providing education to children at risk in Israel. After that, she worked in development at ImpactIsrael, which also provides services to at-risk children in Israel.

“I had heard about Sharsheret for so many years, but I didn’t really understand the depth of what they are doing, the importance of it,” she said. “I’ve spent my whole career helping Israel, which has been wonderful and great. Now it’s time to turn my efforts and my energies to my home base, my backyard.

“When the mission was always in Israel, it’s kind of hard to touch. But here I’m in the hub of all this incredible activity and support for a mission that inspires me every single day.”

Ms. Klibanoff has three children — Maya, 22, Kayla, 18, and Ava, 15. Her husband, Benjamin, is a controller at a real estate firm.

Ms. Klibanoff is drawn to fundraising because she likes to think of herself as an optimist, she said. “I think most people want to do good in the world, and I think if I can give someone the opportunity to make an impact and to see that impact and know that there’s a ripple effect to that work, it’s the greatest thing in the world for me.

“It’s a great high to make someone know they have done something that will really change the face of someone’s future.”

To learn about Sharsheret’s services or to donate, call (866) 474-2774 or email info@sharsheret.org

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