Martin S. Kraar Associates
Marty Kraar has been one of the Top Ten influential leaders in Jewish life for the past 40 years, and he shows no sign of slowing down. He has been central to the “Alphabet Soup” of organizational life. He has reengineered agencies, renewed relationships, consulted with top philanthropists globally, Jewish and Israeli organizations, individuals, foundations, and has even built buildings. Marty and his wife and partner, Lynda, pioneered in creating Kraar Associates, a boutique consulting firm serving Israel-based organizations and and global philanthropists in creating programs and services that would be transform Israel and Israel-Diaspora relationship. The Kraars were listed on the The Forward Fifty as a “power couple” in communal life.
Before venturing out on his own to form Kraar Associates with Lynda, Marty’s last appointment was as Executive Vice President of the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science (ACWIS), where, under his leadership, fundraising increased fourfold, topping the unprecedented $125 million mark, and relations with the Israel-based Institute were never closer or clearer. This prompted Kraar to build unique relationships with philanthropists in order to make things happen that would change the human condition and improve Israel and her standing in the world.
Prior to his position at ACWIS, Marty headed the Council of Jewish Federations for a decade where he managed Jewish service organizations in 200 communities throughout Canada and the United States, serving millions of Jews in North America, Israel and abroad.
Born in Atlanta and raised in Chattanooga, Marty cut his teeth in the Jewish communal world of the South as a social worker in Jackson, Mississippi, where he ran a treatment facility for troubled teenagers. From there he became director of the Memphis Jewish Community Centre before moving on to head Nashville’s JCC, where he succeeded in the process of moving the facility to the newly constructed building of their dreams. He would do this over and over again, in communities such as St. Louis and Detroit, which ultimately catapulted him to New York City and the lead national position at CJF.
Marty’s love of Israel is profound and proactive. As a student at the Hebrew University, Marty learned to speak, read and write fluent Hebrew. He was involved in the immigration of Moroccan Jews, whom he would meet on the tarmac and help transfer to absorption centers. He has the distinction of being the first Director General of the Israel Office of the Council of Jewish Federations in the mid-1980s, where his experience with new immigrants served him well as he facilitated the airlift of tens of thousands of Ethiopian Jews – Beta Israel – to Israel. Israel has had a profound impact on his life choices and the last forty years has been spent in activities that build bridges between Jews around the world and Israel.
The relationship with philanthropy and foundations for the past four decades prompted Kraar to design approaches to funding that were client and donor centered. His philosophy has always been that his major job as a consultant is to help donors feel connected and realizing their goals and dreams. Doing that, he says, will certainly make a difference to them and their life and to Israel.
Being a social worker, psychologist and trained in non-profit management has provided him with the tools to look at situations from a variety of points of view and focus on the issues in a real way. In addition to his numerous professional involvements, affiliations and recognitions, Marty has taught management personnel administration and supervision courses and has served as a lecturer, instructor and trainer for various Jewish federations, national Jewish agencies, and other organizations on such topics as leadership development, facilitation training, board/staff relationships and non-profit management and Israel-Diaspora relationships.
Kraar Associates' clients are transformational organizations and philanthropists who start with dreams and build them to reality. Marty believes that consultation at Kraar Associates must be value-added or it will be another voice in the wilderness!