"All great leaders start somewhere and for those living in the Tampa Bay area, they can start with the Hope Cohen Barnett Leadership Institute. The program's main thrust is developing and mentoring young adults to become the Jewish community leaders of tomorrow." - Jonathan Ellis, Past President of the Tampa JCCs & Federation.
In January 2019, the Tampa JCCs & Federation announced the creation of the Hope Cohen Barnett Leadership Institute funded by community member Leslie J. Barnett in honor and memory of his beloved wife and mother of his children, Hope Cohen Barnett (z”l).
An endowment fund has been created at the TOP Jewish Foundation to support, in perpetuity, this prestigious program that is an outgrowth of the previously named Jewish Leadership Training Institute.
Hope, who passed away in June 2018, was truly a force of nature and a devoted member of the Tampa Jewish community, serving as the first and youngest woman president of the Tampa Jewish Federation in 1980 at the age of 30. She rose through the ranks by serving on many committees and holding leadership positions, including campaign chair, board secretary and Tampa’s representative to the National Women’s board of the North American Federation system. Her active leadership inspired the founding of the “Hope Cohen Barnett Young Leadership Award” in 1983, an honor that recognizes and supports an outstanding young leader in the Jewish community annually. She also served on the boards of the Tampa Jewish Community Center (before it merged with the Federation), her synagogue, Congregation Rodeph Sholom, and the State of Israel Bonds Young Leadership Committee. In 2008, Barnett received the Jewish Federations of North America’s Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Lion of Judah Award for outstanding communal leadership.
In 1995, Hope was quoted as saying, “Being Jewish is fun. We laugh, sing, dance, and even in our period of mourning, the object is to offer comfort. We need our young people to feel the positive force that surrounds them and involves them, enriches their lives and commits them to carry out our legacy.”
“A critical piece of HBCLI is that it introduced me to key leaders in the community, people who have been at the table a long time and gave me some insight into how decisions are made. It’s enabled me to create relationships with successful people who have been willing to be a sounding board as I’ve gotten more deeply involved and invested in the community.”
– Joe Probasco (2007 HCBLI Graduate, President of the Tampa JCCs & Federation)
“HCBLI helped make Federation more tangible. I gained more exposure to the community and better understood how Federation helps and supports people in here in Tampa and around the world. I was also connected to other like-minded people who want to heal the world. Everyone who participates has the passion, drive and will to dedicate themselves to making the world a better place.”– Carlyn Neuman (2007 HCBLI Graduate, Hillel of the Florida Suncoast Board Member, Weinberg Village Board Member, National Young Leadership Cabinet Member)
“As a board member and past president of Weinberg Village Living Residences, it was very meaningful to lead an organization that has a goal of caring for and enhancing the lives of the elderly, which is one of the biggest mitzvahs we can do. HCBLI introduced me to the variety of local Jewish organization and sparked my passion for Jewish involvement.”– Aaron Silberman (2009-2010 HCBLI Graduate, Weinberg Village Past President and Board Member, Tampa Jewish Federation Board Member)
“I felt it was my duty to give back to the Jewish community and bring a fresh approach to the local Jewish boards. We were encouraged to get involved and take the bull by the horns.”
– David Delrahim (2011-2012 HCBLI Graduate, Menorah Manor Trustee and Treasurer)
“HCBLI gave me a broad picture and greater understanding of Jewish activity in the Tampa Bay area. HCBLI laid a foundation for me to grow within the Jewish community and my interest and involvement in the community has grown exponentially each year.”- Ashley Simon (2013-2014 HCBLI Graduate, Board Member of the Tampa Jewish Federation)
“HCBLI created an educational and inclusive environment that gave me a greater appreciation for the Jewish community. I really enjoyed the variety of perspectives and diverse opinions from within the group, which helped foster thought-provoking discussions. I also loved our sessions about the federation’s various agencies, the allocations process, fundraising strategies, and opportunities for future involvement. The program did an exemplary job of integrating Jewish learning with leadership skills, and I graduated with a network of friends and the tools to become a more effective leader in the Jewish community.” – Andrea Cohen (2018-2019 HCBLI Graduate, Volunteer with IMPACT Advisory Committee)