Farewell Karen, Hello Ben!

For nearly 15 years, Karen Sallerson has led ImpactIsrael, overseeing state-side efforts to raise critical funds for Yemin Orde Youth Village and Village Way Educational Initiatives. Karen has played a crucial role in transforming the lives of countless at-risk youth in Israel. During her tenure, ImpactIsrael (formerly Friends of Yemin Orde) raised over $125 million. This was anything but an easy feat, considering her tenure coincided with the 2008 financial crisis, the devastating Mount Carmel fire just two years later, and the Covid-19 pandemic. So, while it is bittersweet that she will be retiring at the end of this year, we are grateful that her accomplishments have paved the way for incoming CEO Ben Marchette, who joined our team on November 1.

During her remarks at the recent board meeting in New York, Karen said, “This has been the most rewarding chapter of my career. Working with the amazing board members, donors, and staff — not just of Impact Israel, but of Yemin Orde and the Village Way Educational Initiatives — has been professionally and personally fulfilling. And I am fortunate to be leaving it in great hands."

Ben Marchette joins us from AIPAC, where he spent the last 15 years, most recently as deputy director of the New England region. His experience working with youth began with teaching underserved middle schoolers in the South Bronx and then as the director of Camp Tel Noar in New Hampshire. Ben brings a natural enthusiasm and deep skills to ImpactIsrael and is looking forward to growing existing markets and developing new ones.

“The ImpactIsrael mission — to transform immigrant and at-risk youth into productive members of Israeli society through value driven education and support — is very important to me,” Ben stated. "I know that Karen, her team, and the board of directors have brought our organization to a great place, and I look forward to guiding it to even greater heights.”

ImpactIsrael board chair Robert Arogeti remarked, “For all the years I’ve been involved with ImpactIsrael, Karen has never ceased to amaze me with her tireless devotion to ensuring we could raise the necessary funds for our critical work in Israel. We take comfort in knowing that her accomplishments have paved the way for Ben to lead us into the future."

Karen and Ben will spend the remainder of the year working together to ensure a smooth transition. It is emblematic of the Village Way methodology itself — keeping an anchor firmly in the past while thinking of, and planning for, the future.

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