Michelle Wachtel has been involved with HIAS Young Leaders since moving to Washington, D.C. in 2008. She was inspired to get involved because HIAS assisted her mother’s family to come to the U.S. in 1956; they were on the first plane transporting Hungarian refugees fleeing that country’s revolution.
Michelle currently is a Development Executive for Principal Gifts at Hillel. Before that, she was Mid-Atlantic Area Director for Israel Advocacy and Education at Jewish National Fund (JNF). She holds degrees from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
Michelle served as Fundraising Co-Chair for the DC Young Leaders Steering Committee for 2009-2010. Under her leadership, HYL-DC hosted a successful fundraising and trivia event in March 2010 to benefit local Central American immigrants studying for their U.S. Citizenship exams. She also led the group in raising a 2009 HIAS Scholarship for an immigrant in Israel through that year’s Chill & Grill Annual Rooftop BBQ.
In July 2010, Michelle participated in the HIAS East Africa Board Mission to Kenya and Uganda; upon her return she helped to coordinate a happy hour event to raise money for the HIAS Refugee Trust of Kenya (HRTK). She also has been a reader for the HIAS Scholarship Program for the last few years.