Katherine Haynes Elected as Chair of the Board of Trustees at American Jewish World Service

American Jewish World Service (AJWS), the leading global Jewish human rights organization, has elected Katherine Haynes as Chair of AJWS’s Board of Trustees. A seasoned strategist and researcher, Ms. Haynes brings deep knowledge and experience in advancing equity to her new role.   

“Katherine becomes Board Chair at a time when formidable obstacles throughout the world push the boundaries of our courage and imagination,” said AJWS President and CEO Robert Bank. “Our partners in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean are facing monumental challenges – from authoritarianism to climate crises to entrenched discrimination against women, migrants, and LGBTQI+ people. Katherine’s expertise in creating sustained systems of equity, strategic planning for the future, and her indelible respect for humanity will guide our support of frontline human rights activists in the years ahead.”   

“I’m delighted to be passing the baton to Katherine Haynes. We’ve worked closely on AJWS’s plans for the next five years and I admire her strategic mind, integrity, and leadership skills,” said outgoing Chair Brad Abelow, who will continue serving on the Board. “It has been gratifying to serve with such a dedicated community of Jewish global citizens fighting for a better world. And I am looking forward to fulfilling AJWS’s mission alongside Katherine and the entire team.”   

A longtime AJWS supporter, Ms. Haynes said she first engaged with the organization in 2003 because “as a Black Jew and mother, it gave me and my children an avenue to express our Jewish values while supporting people in the Global South — people of color, like us.”  

“Over time, I’ve learned how AJWS’s unique model of making change takes into account the robust menu of support that grassroots organizations need to advance human rights in their communities,” she added. “Contributing to a Board that is so fully invested in this model resonates with my professional work to advance health equity for Black Californians.”   

Ms. Haynes has traveled with AJWS to meet grantee partners, first in Mexico in 2015, then in Kenya in 2023. The latter proved to be particularly illuminating for her vision of human rights change.  

“Spending time with grantees in Kenya was a learning experience for me,” she said. “It helped me to understand our accompaniment model more deeply. I could see the role that AJWS’s In-Country Colleagues played — the connective tissue they offer to grassroots activists. The way AJWS connects and supports organizations is powerful.”    

Ms. Haynes works as a senior program officer at the California Health Care Foundation, where her strategic leadership has been instrumental in advancing systemic approaches to addressing Black health equity.   

Prior to her tenure at the California Health Care Foundation, she has held key roles at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, CA, where she engaged executives of public and private firms in systematic thinking about health and health care, and at Kaiser Permanente Northern California, where she built a groundbreaking diversity department dedicated to advancing language access and health equity.   

Ms. Haynes has also served as the founding director of the Technology and Information Exchange Core at the University of California San Francisco Center for AIDS Prevention Studies. There, she spearheaded a community collaborative research initiative to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic later adopted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state of California.   

Ms. Haynes, who joined the AJWS Board in 2021, plans to lean into her expertise in future thinking and strategic planning to tackle the challenges ahead, from engaging new supporters to diversifying the Board to implementing AJWS’s five-year strategic plan.  

She has long been dedicated to serving her community, as evidenced by her extensive Board leadership responsibilities, including positions at Congregation Beth El Berkeley, Jewish Family & Community Services East Bay, Project Open Hand, and Coro Center for Civic Leadership. She has also served on review committees for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Tides Foundation.  

Ms. Haynes holds a bachelor’s degree in humanities from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in business administration from the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles.  

For More Information

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