CJE SeniorLife Welcomes New Vice President of Resource Development Stephanie M. Smerling

CHICAGO, October 25, 2018 – CJE SeniorLife is pleased to welcome Stephanie Millman Smerling as the agency’s new Vice President of Resource Development. In this role, Smerling will be responsible for managing the Development and Grants Departments which raise critical restricted and unrestricted funding via annual giving, major gifts, grants (foundations, corporations, government sources), and endowment/legacy gifts. She will also take the lead on events such as the annual gala, Celebrate CJE. Smerling, a Deerfield resident, has significant experience in the fundraising arena demonstrated by leadership positions over the past 30 years at several local, regional and national nonprofit organizations. Smerling earned her BA in Sociology from University of IL, Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Public Health from the University of Illinois, Chicago.


Most recently, as a social entrepreneur, Smerling partnered with the 9-month gap year program in Israel, Nativ (under the auspices of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism), to launch Yozma (Initiative). Yozma is a special track of Nativ for young adults 18-21 with cognitive and social challenges to prepare them to successfully transition to college and participate fully as members of the Jewish community. Prior to 2013, Smerling was the Director of Institutional Advancement for Rochelle Zell Jewish High School (Deerfield, IL) where she managed the annual fund and developed an endowment campaign. In addition, Smerling’s career includes fundraising leadership at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (Associate Midwest Director), Cancer Wellness Center, Palliative CareCenter and Hospice of the Northshore, and Jewish Theological Seminary. In the mid-1990s, Smerling was also the Development Director for Council for Jewish Elderly (now CJE SeniorLife).

Smerling has been Trustee for Jewish Women’s Foundation since 2014 and is currently Health Committee Chair (2016 to present). For the past three years, she has also been a member of the Academic Scholarship Committee for Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.

Commenting on her appointment, Smerling said, “I look forward to re-joining an organization that is near and dear to my heart. The agency has grown exponentially over the past 20 years and this is an incredible opportunity for me to bring my extensive knowledge back to CJE to support CJE’s next phase of growth. I know firsthand how CJE positively impacts the lives of older adults and their families throughout metropolitan Chicago. We have an unparalleled mission and it will be an honor to share our success stories with the Jewish and larger community.”

“Her passion and compassion for CJE’s mission and the people we serve are clearly evident,” said Dan Fagin, CJE’s President and CEO who joined CJE in August 2018. “Of course I did not know Stephanie when she was here two decades ago. But many people at CJE remember her well and were delighted to hear that she is coming full circle. Her significant experience as a Jewish communal leader, along with a deep understanding of the fundraising world, will be a strong complement to our executive team and will be invaluable as we continue to explore even more ways to develop and sustain vital programs that benefit our seniors.”


Since 1972, CJE SeniorLife has enhanced the lives of older adults and their families through an innovative, comprehensive network that includes life enrichment programs, supportive resources, healthcare, research and education. CJE is a partner with the Jewish United Fund in serving our community. For more information about CJE services, call 773.508.1000 or visit www.cje.net.

Contact: Nicole Bruce
Phone: 773.508.1026
E-Mail: Nicole.Bruce@cje.net