Children's Museum of Manhattan names Dava Schub as its Chief Executive Officer and Director
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Children's Museum of Manhattan names Dava Schub as its Chief Executive Officer and Director
Dava Schub. Photo by Deborah Copaken.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Children’s Museum of Manhattan announced today the appointment of Dava Schub as its Chief Executive Officer and Director. A visionary leader, strategic fundraiser, and community advocate, Schub brings more than 25 years of experience leading and growing cultural organizations and nonprofits that serve as cornerstones for family and community life. She will assume her new role at CMOM on January 2, 2023.

Currently the Chief Executive Officer at the Edlavitch Jewish Community Center of Washington, DC, Schub previously led the programmatic vision and direction of the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan for more than 15 years, helping to expand the nonprofit’s physical footprint and strengthen its impact. At CMOM, Schub will work together with the Board of Directors and the executive leadership team to advance CMOM’s mission as the museum moves forward with its plans for its expanded future home at 361 Central Park West.

“The vision and values that have guided Dava’s career to date—a passion for fostering an inclusive, supportive community and a belief in the limitless potential of children—matches perfectly with CMOM’s mission. Dava is a strategic thinker and fundraiser, with deep experience managing large-scale initiatives that embrace the arts, education, and culture. On behalf of the Board of Directors, we welcome Dava as our new CEO and Director and know that her dynamism and expertise will serve CMOM well as we move into our next exciting chapter,” stated Matt Messinger, Chair of CMOM’s Board of Directors.

Schub joins CMOM during a transformational moment in the museum’s institutional trajectory. A steward of early childhood development since its founding in 1973, CMOM creates immersive, hands-on opportunities for children to learn through play alongside their peers and caregivers. With programs extending beyond the museum's walls into New York City public schools and learning hubs at temporary housing facilities throughout the five boroughs, CMOM has experienced an increasing demand for its resources and offerings. Over the course of the past two years in response to the pandemic, the museum launched new initiatives focused on rebuilding community, supporting social-emotional development, and mitigating learning loss.

“For nearly 50 years, CMOM has been a much beloved space where children come to grow, learn, and play. And, what drew me to this opportunity, is the amazing moment ahead to catapult the work of the museum to new heights as ‘the new CMOM’ comes to life in its future home on 96th Street,” said Schub. “90% of a child's brain development happens in the first five years of life, which presents us not only the opportunity, but a compelling responsibility to care for our youngest citizens regardless of race, zip code, or resources in creative, innovative, impactful ways. I am excited to begin working alongside CMOM’s board and staff to expand and deepen the museum’s impact for the benefit of all New Yorkers. This is an important moment to reinvest in our city and there is no more important an investment than in our city’s children!”

Schub comes to CMOM following a two-year tenure as the CEO of Edlavitch DCJCC, a growing community organization in the nation’s capital valued for its excellence in arts and education. As CEO, Schub has successfully navigated the organization through the financial challenges of COVID and continued to grow their strong base of philanthropic support. Working together with the board and staff, she helped reimagine ways to impact to the lives of people in Washington throughout the pandemic, including the creation of a Vaccine Volunteer Match in partnership with students and alumni from George Washington University, which was taken national by Repair the World, and Vaccine Pop Up Parties to inoculate over 500 children in and around Washington, DC. The EDCJCC’s Board President Daniel Hirsch noted, “Dava put the community in our JCC and the JCC into our community!”

Prior to joining the DCJCC, Schub served as the Chief Program Officer at Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, where she was responsible for overseeing a $12-million portfolio of the organization’s $34 million operating budget. During her 15 years at JCC, Schub worked closely with a team of 11 senior staff as well as with community and civic leaders on the development and implementation of over 2,000 innovative programs focused on the arts, social responsibility, special needs and family life, as well as Jewish life. Key initiatives include spearheading the $10-million campaign for the acquisition, development, and opening of Camp Settoga as well as the launches of the JCC Harlem, The Gottesman Center for Jewish Life & Learning, The Stern Center for Social Responsibility, The Wasserman Center for Family Life, The Silver Center for Special Needs, and The Lambert Center for Arts and Ideas.

“Throughout her career, Dava has advanced strategic growth of cultural institutions with community-based missions and child-centered programming. She brings an unmatched energy and acumen for building engagement and advancing institutional impact. On behalf of the board, I am thrilled to be partnering with Dava as CMOM continues its ever-more critical work of inspiring and supporting our youngest learners and their caregivers,” said Laurie Tisch, CMOM’s Founding Board Chair.

Schub previously served as Associate Director at Stamford JCC, Assistant Executive Director of JCC of South Hampton Roads in Virginia, and Associate Director of Camps at the 92nd Street Y. She received her bachelor’s degree from University of Wisconsin, and master’s degree from Yeshiva University School, Wurzweiler School of Social Work, with a focus on community organizing. She served for more than a decade as the co-chair of the BJ/SPSA shelter on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

Schub’s appointment at CMOM follows a comprehensive national search overseen by a special committee appointed by the Board and led by PBR Executive Search. Schub succeeds Aileen Hefferren, who stepped down as CMOM’s CEO and Director in June 2022.

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