HFNJ Announces Leadership Transition


The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey Appoints Michael Schmidt to Serve as Executive Director/CEO to Succeed Marsha Atkind

The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey (HFNJ) is pleased to announce that Michael Schmidt will assume the role of Executive Director/CEO effective July 1, 2021, following the retirement of Marsha Atkind.

Most recently, Schmidt served 10 years as the Director of the American Jewish Committee (AJC), New York Regional Office, where he developed award-winning programs that strengthened ties with key civic and faith leaders throughout the Asian, Black, Latinx and Muslim communities.  He has a master’s degree in social work from Fordham University’s School of Social Service and a master’s degree from Columbia University in organizational psychology.

“I am very honored to join HFNJ at this critical time in our history as we emerge from the worst public health crisis in a century. I look forward to working in partnership with the HFNJ Board of Trustees and staff to support vulnerable populations in Newark and Greater MetroWest,” Schmidt noted.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we are delighted to welcome Michael to HFNJ,” says Amy Schechner, HFNJ Chair. “He brings tremendous experience and understanding on how to translate into action creative solutions that help underserved populations.”

Outgoing Executive Director/CEO Marsha Atkind is retiring after almost 13 years at HFNJ. Throughout her tenure, Atkind worked closely with three board chairs to establish a strong presence in Essex County’s healthcare and philanthropic communities, distributing on average $8 million a year to agencies focused on improving the physical and mental health of the most vulnerable, underserved residents in both Greater Newark and the Greater MetroWest Jewish community.

The most recent highlight of Atkind’s tenure is the approval of a $5 million grant to Newark Beth Israel Medical Center to expand and modernize the hospital’s emergency department, which will be renamed The Healthcare Foundation of NJ Emergency Services Pavilion. Other significant initiatives aimed at solving systemic issues and inequities include a hospital-acquired delirium prevention and treatment program, pediatric integrated care projects, Census 2020 Complete Count support, and the Foundation’s ACA Education and Enrollment Initiative.

“We have come to realize that physical and mental health are both vital components of well-being,” Atkind says “and both are significantly impacted by where one lives, works, and plays. I am proud that Healthcare Foundation board and staff understand the role of these elements of well-being and use their knowledge to support improved wellness in underserved communities.”

“I am also proud of the extraordinary way in which HFNJ staff and board worked together during the pandemic,” says Atkind. “They have been flexible and able to pivot to find ways to help our grantees meet the challenges of Covid-19 and care for the vulnerable people they serve.”

“While it is hard to say good-by to Marsha,” says Schechner, “we anticipate that the transition to our new ED/CEO will be a smooth one and we wish Marsha only the very best in the next part of her life’s journey.”


Last modified: August 25, 2021