Sam Grundwerg: Diplomat, fundraiser and Zionist leader

No. 45 on The Jerusalem Post's Top 50 Most Influential Jews of 2022: Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal chair Sam Grundwerg.

 Sam Grundwerg, chairman of Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal. (photo credit: HADAS PARUSH/FLASH90)
Sam Grundwerg, chairman of Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal.
(photo credit: HADAS PARUSH/FLASH90)

For the past few years, Sam Grundwerg, world chairman of Keren Hayesod-UIA (United Israel Appeal), has worked under the radar. External forces had tried to oust Grudwerg from leading the legacy Zionistic fundraising arm, but the heads of the organization fought on his behalf and won.

Now that the battle is over, Grundwerg is more visible than ever. He led the huge $22 million (NIS 75.3 m) fundraising efforts of Keren Hayesod for the emergency aliyah from Ukraine campaign and has brought many philanthropic leaders to join this cause. All together, Keren Hayesod hopes to return to the days when they fund raise more than $200 million (NIS 684.7 m) a year. And this year, it appears to be the case.

Prior to this role, he served as consul general of Israel in Los Angeles. Grundwerg was appointed by former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and from 2016 to 2018, he was the senior representative of Israel to the Southwestern United States. Immediately before becoming consul general, Grundwerg served as director general in Israel for the World Jewish Congress (WJC), an international organization representing Jewish communities in over 100 countries to governments, parliaments and other international organizations. As the head of WJC’s operations in Israel, Grundwerg advanced the overall mission of the WJC to strengthen and support Jewish communities around the world, as well as Israel and the Jewish people.

Before joining the World Jewish Congress, Grundwerg worked as an attorney at a major international law firm in the US and held positions in the fields of law and finance in the US and Israel.

Name: Sam Grundwerg ID: World Chairmain of Keren Hayesod- United Israel Appeal (credit: Courtesy)Name: Sam Grundwerg ID: World Chairmain of Keren Hayesod- United Israel Appeal (credit: Courtesy)

A serial oleh to Israel

He sees himself as a serial oleh, since he has lived in the US three times as an adult and returned to Israel.

Born and raised in Miami Beach, Florida, Grundwerg fulfilled a lifelong dream and moved to Israel in 1990 and made aliyah soon afterward. Once in Israel, he served as a lone combat soldier in the IDF armored corps and later in the IDF reserves as a casualty officer.

Grundwerg is married to Julia, a nurse. The couple has three children – Elisha, Felicia and Sarita.