Jewish Family Service executive director stepping down, stepping out at Silver Soiree

PARK CITY, Utah — Jewish Family Service (JFS) has announced that Ellen Silver, executive director, is stepping down after 19 years of service, a timeframe in which the Park City office was created.

On Sunday, August 20, the community will come together in tribute to Ellen, to celebrate her many contributions to JFS and to wish her well in retirement with the Silver Soiree fundraising event. It will be held at the Sundance Terrace on Downtown Salt Lake City’s Hyatt Regency Hotel at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $200 each.

The evening will include heavy hors d’oeuvres, dessert, cocktails, music and more. Tickets for the Silver Soiree, which is being sponsored by, among others, more than a dozen Park City families, may be purchased by clicking here. If you’re interested in becoming a sponsor, click here. View the event sponsorship options here.

“To say that Ellen will be missed does not do justice to the impact she’s had on the organization,” David Dowsett, JFS president, said in a statement.

Silver joined JFS in 2004 in a part-time role after moving to Utah with her late husband, Barry, earlier that year. Her experience in human services soon proved invaluable to the small but growing organization, and she became the full-time assistant executive director in 2006, then executive director in 2008.

Building on the foundation created by the agency’s long time historical roots in Utah, Silver’s leadership transformed JFS; the initiatives she created and nurtured are many. JFS is a well-respected older adult programming service provider because of Silver’s efforts. She served on the Governor’s Commission on Aging under Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., the Summit County Aging Alliance, the Salt Lake County Partnership Aging Initiative, and the Utah Alzheimer’s Association Board of Directors.

Silver’s keen eye for creative new programming led to JFS becoming the second community-based organization in the United States to offer the acclaimed Music and Memory Program to home-based dementia patients. Under her leadership, a small food pantry was put in place years ago. Now the Alex & Sally Lebwohl Food Pantry serves thousands every year.

JFS is the leader in providing affordable mental health counseling to individuals and families, based on an innovative sliding fee scale ensuring therapy is available to those in financial distress. Silver has served in leadership roles on the Summit County Mental Wellness Alliance, the Summit County Suicide Prevention Task force, and other organizations building awareness around mental health issues.

Silver’s leadership in times of crisis has been exemplary. In response to the severe economic downturn in 2009, she co-facilitated the Park City Career Network to address the needs of the unemployed. During the COVID-19 pandemic, JFS facilitated extensive relief efforts in Salt Lake and Summit Counties, administering funding provided by Salt Lake County and the Park City Community Foundation.

“Ellen’s empathy and her commitment to collaboration both within JFS and among other human service agencies has resulted in better access to services and programs for those JFS serves, ” Dowsett said. He continued, “The Board and staff would like to express its sincere gratitude to Ellen for all she has done to ensure that Jewish Family Service has such a valued reputation in the human service community and throughout Utah.”

JFS is a nondenominational, nonprofit organization that supports all Utahns as they navigate life’s challenges. Their mission is to strengthen individuals and families of all backgrounds through counseling, advocacy, care management, and community education.

No successor for Silver has been announced. 


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