Rachel Lappen


Rachel Lappen will become chief development officer at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, effective March 1.

Lappen, 41, brings nearly 20 years of integrated development experience in both the Jewish community and the arts to this role at Federation. She succeeds Hedy Milgrom, who retired July 1, 2018.

“We are thrilled to welcome Rachel to the Federation team,” board chair J. David Heller stated in a news release. “Her proven track record as a development professional and leader make her ideally suited for this position.”

Lappen comes to the Federation from The Cleveland Orchestra, where she was senior director of development and, for a period of time, its interim chief development officer. Among her duties at the orchestra were managing all aspects of the development function that raises more than $30 million annually.

From 2013 to 2017, Lappen was the director of institutional advancement at Gross Schechter Day School in Pepper Pike. Prior to that, she was the executive director of Chagrin Arts in Chagrin Falls for two years. She began her career in New York City as the executive assistant to composer and pianist Philip Glass. Over the years, she’s also held positions with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Children’s Choir.

“I had the pleasure of meeting with numerous, highly qualified individuals through our national search for this position,” Federation President Erika B. Rudin-Luria, said in the release. “Rachel’s breadth of experience, combined with her deep knowledge of Cleveland and the Jewish community, made it an easy decision. I have no doubt that she is the right person to lead the Federation’s development efforts.”

Lappen said in the release, “I am so honored and humbled for the opportunity to serve the Jewish community in this capacity. I look forward to working with Federation leadership and the talented professional staff to help ensure we have the resources needed to address the community’s immediate needs, as well as appropriately plan for its future.”

Lappen received her Bachelor of Arts degree in biblical studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City and in music from Barnard College in New York City in 2000 and earned her Master of Arts in arts administration from Columbia University in New York City in 2005. She and her husband, Dr. Justin Lappen, live in Beachwood with their two sons. They belong to Congregation Shaarey Tikvah in Beachwood.

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