Passing the Torch
Dory Zatuchni Retiring after 20 Years as CEO;
Board Names Basha Silverman as New Executive
After twenty years at the helm of Jewish Family Services of Delaware (JFS), Dory Zatuchni will retire from her position as Chief Executive Officer at the end of the year. After a nationwide search, the JFS Board of Directors has named Basha Silverman, a native Delawarean, as the agency’s new executive.
Over the course of her tenure, Dory took JFS from a six person staff working from the basement of Albert Einstein Academy to a staff of 38 with three (above ground) offices, and a statewide presence. She developed programs to meet the changing needs of Delaware’s families while guaranteeing a constant safety net of support for the community.
“The growth and wide array of services at Jewish Family Services of Delaware under Dory’s outstanding leadership has been extraordinary,” said Regina Kerr Alonzo, JFS Board President. “Her commitment to creating a positive and professional experience for clients is unparalleled. Dory has ensured that the staff and Board are ready for the future of JFS Delaware.”
Dory first joined JFS as a social worker for older adults living in subsidized housing in 1990. “The residents of B’nai B’rith House were thrilled with the idea that someone would help them access services,” she recalled. “I was thrilled with the opportunity to advocate for them.” In connecting with clients and helping them overcome challenges, Dory was in her element.
Throughout her career, Dory continued to prioritize the wellbeing of Delaware’s aging population. In 2005, she helped to found the Delaware Aging Network, and in 2012, JFS opened Delaware’s first Village Network to help older adults age safely and securely in their own homes. The Brandywine Village Networks of New Castle and Sussex Counties now mobilize more than 180 volunteers to support older adults living in their communities.
“For more than 20 years, Dory has been a strong community leader with an unwavering commitment to serving vulnerable populations,” said Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf. “She is a leader of the highest integrity and is dedicated to improving the lives of all that she and her agency touches.”
Dory transformed JFS into a true family services agency. In 2004, she won JFS’s first state contract to provide counseling to children and adolescents. Today, JFS’ therapists provide thousands of counseling sessions a year to help children, teens, adults, and seniors better manage their mental health. Additional partnerships with the state allows JFS to develop workplace readiness among youth, stabilize families, and connect refugees with employment opportunities.
“We’ve seen tremendous growth over the last twenty years,” said Dory, “but our values have always stayed constant: we care for older adults, we help youth become more self-sufficient, and we build the resiliency of families.”
A true collaborator, Dory brings people and organizations together to make change and protect vulnerable people. JFS has a long history of helping refugees integrate into American life, starting with Jewish refugees from Europe and the former Soviet Union. In her final year as CEO, Dory has established a framework for a faith-based coalition of synagogues, churches, mosques, and temples to support Delaware’s only resettlement program for refugees from around the world.
Always striving to deliver the highest standard of care, Dory is proud of the multiple state and national awards that JFS has achieved over her tenure. Honors like the Community Impact Award, the Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award, Top Workplace in Delaware, and Superstar in Business recognize the agency’s programs, staff, and volunteers for their high quality of service and professionalism.
Good happens when leaders have empathy for others; change happens when leaders serve their communities. At the helm of Jewish Family Services of Delaware, Dory does both – and her impact extends well beyond JFS. She has served on the national board of the Association for Jewish Family and Children Agencies, represented Delaware’s Jewish community on FEMA’s Emergency Food & Shelter committee, and participated in numerous state advisory councils, and taskforces dedicated to building healthier communities and serving vulnerable populations.
“It has been my great honor and privilege to serve an agency that is so deeply committed to the values of tikkun olam (repairing the world) and tzedakah (justice). JFS has a talented and compassionate staff who work every day to build a healthier, stronger Delaware,” said Dory. “In Basha, the Board has chosen a leader who embraces our values and will take JFS to new heights.”
Continuous Growth, Constant Values
Strengthening Our Neighbors
In 1996, six JFS staff worked out of the basement of Albert Einstein Academy.
Today, JFS has offices in Wilmington, Newark, and Lewes, and staff deliver services in schools, centers, and homes across the state – creating a statewide footprint of Jewish health and human services.
Welcoming the Stranger
In 1998, JFS received its first state contract to provide job placement and transitional services to refugees.
Today, JFS has established Delaware’s only refugee resettlement program, in partnership with the refugee protection agency HIAS.
Creating Community Spaces
In 1999, JFS opened the Kimmel-Spiller Jewish Healing Center.
Today, the Dory Zatuchni Village Garden is a place of respite and relaxation for older adults, clients, and volunteers.
Repairing the World
In 2000, twenty-five volunteers formed the agency’s first Jewish Volunteer Network.
Today, a corps of 180+ volunteers contribute a combined 3,474 hours of service to assist older adults and stock the Bag Hunger Food Pantry.
In 2001, JFS developed the Media Matters program to teach technological skills and promote prevention topics among youth and young adults.
Today, JFS has expanded its youth workforce development and Media Matters programs into alternative schools throughout the state.
In 2004, JFS was awarded its first state contract to provide counseling to children and adolescents.
Today, JFS provides thousands of counseling sessions to help children, adults, and families better manage their mental health.
Forming a Safety Net of Support
In 2005, JFS was selected as administrator of FEMA’s Emergency Food & Shelter Program.
Today, JFS continues to represent the Jewish community to the program and serve as administrator.
Caring for Our Elders
In 2005, JFS became the lead agency of the Delaware Aging Network, a consortium of agencies serving older adults.
Today, JFS operates the Brandywine Village Networks of New Castle and Sussex Counties to assist older adults age safely in their homes.
- Top Workplace in Delaware
presented by the News Journal (2015 & 2016)
- Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Group Award
presented by Delaware State Office of Volunteerism (2016)
- Superstars in Business Award of Excellence
presented by the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce (2013)
- Community Impact Award
presented by the United Way of Delaware (2005)
- 10 national awards for marketing materials, website design and programs
National & State Leadership
National Board of the Association for Jewish Family and Children’s Agencies
Advisory Council for the Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health
Advisory Council for the Division of Family Services
Advisory Council for the Division of Youth Rehabilitative Services
Delaware Education Taskforce
Founder of Delaware Aging Network
Peer Reviewer for the Council on Accreditation
National Leadership Award from Association of Jewish Family and Children’s Services (2012)
Women in Business Feature by Delaware Today (2016)