Merle Cohen has been a leader in the Chicago Jewish community for over 40 years. After joining the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago Young Women’s Board in 1978, she served as campaign chair followed by her tenure as president. She was an active member of the board and served on the executive committee and several other major committees. In 1984, she received the Young Leadership Award.
Twenty-two years ago, Dr. Steven B. Nasatir asked Merle to become the first director of development for the newly founded Jewish Women’s Foundation. When the Jewish Women’s Foundation was firmly established in Chicago, she moved on to become a donor officer and a vice president of the annual campaign.
Nationally, she served as a member of the UJA Young Leadership Cabinet and UJA Women’s Division. Through the years, Merle and Larry have made countless trips to Israel and around the world chairing missions. They were involved in the Soviet Jewry movement and Solomon Schechter Day School and were also in the first cohort of the Wexner Foundation’s Leadership Development Program. She, as well as her husband Larry, chaired a leadership development program for their peers called Dialogues.
Merle and Larry live in Highland Park, IL and have three married children and eight grandchildren.