Sokol sees bright future for Menorah Park Foundation | Local News


Brian Sokol may have just joined the Menorah Park Foundation as director of development on August 1, but the Beachwood and Township of Bainbridge long-term care facility has always been in his blood.

Growing up in Akron in the 1970s, Sokol and his family took Sunday trips to visit Sokol’s paternal grandmother, Gussie Sokol, who received dementia care at Menorah Park. Sokol repeated these frequent trips to Montefiore to visit his maternal grandmother, Frances Rosenblum, but this time with his own children decades later.

“I just got used to this institution after coming here for many years,” said Sokol, a Beachwood resident and member of the Park Synagogue in Cleveland Heights and Pepper Pike. “This, of course, was factored into my decision-making process by having this first-hand experience on campus in multiple locations and seeing the importance it has in the community. “

Sokol moved to Cleveland in 2004 after working as a talent agent in the music industry in Los Angeles. He worked at GOJO for three years, where he educated large companies on pandemic preparedness. He was then offered his first dive into the nonprofit world to be an area director for the US Israel Public Affairs Committee. Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland then recruited Sokol to become Senior Director of National Development and Associate Campaign Director.

Sokol, 11 years after working at the CWRU, said he was not looking for another job when approached by his friend, Joel Fox. Fox informed Sokol that he plans to retire as Director of Development for the Menorah Park Foundation at the end of July and that Sokol has been identified as the best successor.

“I was in a great place in college and really enjoyed being there,” Sokol said. “The only reason I continued the discussion is that I have the highest regard for the institution and for Joel.”

A discussion with Fox quickly snowballed into meetings with the search committee. It didn’t take long for Sokol to be offered and then take the job.

Sokol’s orientation process straddled Fox’s last few weeks in the post, which Sokol said he was very grateful for.

“As I learned more about the position, I learned more about the foundation itself and the opportunity to make an impact at Menorah Park in the years to come,” said Sokol. “The Jewish community is so important to me, I was brought up in a home where being involved in the Jewish community and supporting the Jewish community was paramount.”

In office for about two months now, Sokol described his professional transition as “comfortable”. He attributed this ease to his roots in the Jewish community and to the Jewish values ​​and mission of Menorah Park.

As the Foundation’s Development Director, Sokol is responsible for securing the necessary resources to meet the facility’s needs, which range from new medical equipment and new mats to continuing education for nurses. He also oversees the approximately 500 donor funds endowed at Menorah Park.

“We continue to fundraise for things that are coming in the short term as well as for things that we know we will need constantly,” Sokol said. “This oversees all fundraising for each of the facilities we have here and is a good steward of donor intent.”

Regarding his goals for his tenure at the Menorah Park Foundation, he expressed a desire to continue to forge a prosperous and sustainable future for the establishment. This includes growing fundraising activities like the Home Run / Walk and Shining Star CLE Singing Contest; expand programming and outdoor spaces to allow better management of security precautions related to COVID-19; renovations to maintain the campus; and the increase in technology, telemedicine and other advances in health care and living environments. The Cleveland Jewish News is a media sponsor of the Menorah Park and Shining Star CLE Home Run Virtual Walk / Run.

“I recognize Menorah Park’s vital purpose of serving the community with excellence and caring, meeting the most diverse needs of people as they age, and also providing support to the generations who love them,” said Sokol at CJN. “Developing these necessary resources will be essential to support the strategic growth of Menorah Park, which in turn provides the most effective resources for our community.

Sokol, 53, has two children, Ari, a sophomore at Ohio State University in Columbus, and Lea, a student at Beachwood High School. He said he is very involved in Park Synagogue, where he recently served as treasurer.

When not working, Sokol enjoys exploring Cleveland’s artistic and cultural opportunities, as well as its outdoor offerings. He plays for the Beachwood Men’s Softball League.

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