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Rebecca will lead the expansion of JED’s programs to protect the mental health of millions of high school and higher education students.
Rebecca Benghiat, a leader in nonprofit, philanthropy, and organizational management, has joined The Jed Foundation (JED) as president and chief operating officer, effective November 8, 2021. She has dedicated her career to working in service of the mental health and well-being of children and young adults. Rebecca will lead efforts to expand JED’s work in higher education, rooted in JED’s Comprehensive Approach to Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention for Colleges and Universities, to create a national tipping point for mental health and suicide prevention systems change across higher education. She will also work to scale JED’s High School program, while creating broad awareness across secondary education that emotional preparation for life after high school is an essential undertaking during the high school years and lead efforts to strengthen the mental health attitudes and behaviors of young adults, their families, and community members.
“We are excited to welcome Rebecca to The Jed Foundation. Her leadership in organizational and growth management will be invaluable during this critical time when JED’s work in colleges, universities, and high schools is needed more than ever,” said JED CEO John MacPhee. “She brings decades of experience in the nonprofit sector and a proven commitment to supporting the mental health of our nation’s young people.”
Throughout her career, Rebecca has played a fundamental role in the protection of adolescent and young adult mental health and emotional wellness. She has served as the chief operating and advancement officer at The Quad Preparatory School, a nationally recognized K-12 independent school in New York City that integrates an academically rigorous curriculum with evidence-based social emotional learning, specifically designed to support gifted children with learning differences.
Previously, Rebecca served as COO of citiesRISE, a multi-million-dollar international youth mental health organization. Rebecca has also spearheaded the launch of several multi-million-dollar philanthropic organizations, including the Child Mind Institute, the Seleni Institute, and the New Space for Women’s Health.
Benghiat holds a juris doctor from the Cardozo School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in public policy, with a focus on organizational analysis, from The University of Chicago.
We spoke with Rebecca about her new role at JED.
What excites you about the mission of The Jed Foundation and your new role?
The Jed Foundation has a stellar reputation for excellence and a long history of effectively embracing and addressing the deeply complex landscape of protecting emotional health and preventing suicide in teens and young adults. I have long admired that JED’s Comprehensive Approach champions that complexity and acknowledges that solutions lie in the coordination of matrixed best practices. Most importantly, this proven model is implemented through deep and intentional collaboration, with equitable implementation at its core.
Today, through the incredible dedication of JED’s staff, the deep commitment of the board, and the tremendous generosity of visionary funders, JED is poised to serve millions more teens and young adults. I am honored to join and work in partnership with the entire JED community to realize this next phase of JED’s growth.
What inspired you to step into the mental health space?
I believe that, for those who can, we have a responsibility to be in service to each other. Put simply, we should all look to be helpers—for me, that has taken shape in the mental health space. This is work that, done equitably and with a tailored evidence base, eases suffering. That resonates with me deeply, especially when it eases suffering for teens and young adults, particularly those experiencing disparities. I’ve found that mental health work brings together those who value curiosity, best practices, and connection, and infuse deep optimism in their work. I’m grateful to continue to be in a community with such incredible, like-minded individuals at JED.
What is one thing you look forward to leading at JED?
Fundamentally, there are millions of teens and young adults who need exactly the proven approach and established programming that JED provides. Our charge is to meet that need with the same commitment, excellence, and focus as always. It’s an exciting, adventurous, and energetic path ahead, and I am looking forward to supporting the entire JED community as we embark!
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