James Kaufman Retires as President and CEO of Abbott House

After more than 11 years of leading Abbott House as President and CEO and 42 years of serving in social services, James Kaufman has announced his retirement. Kaufman has been a passionate advocate for the children, families, and adults served by Abbott House.

Kaufman has been instrumental in strengthening Abbott House’s financial sustainability, increasing its annual revenue from $40 million to $70 million, securing major grants, and navigating the agency through the uncertain times and challenges of the COVID pandemic. In addition, Kaufman has fostered a culture of excellence, diversity, and collaboration among the staff, board, and stakeholders of Abbott House, earning recognition and awards from various local and state organizations, plus an international CARF accreditation.

“This has been one of the hardest decisions I have ever made, as I have always found joy and meaning in devoting my life to serving others,” Kaufman said. “From an early age, my family instilled in me the values of justice, compassion, and service, which led me to pursue a career that has taken me from the frontlines, where I provided direct support, to leadership roles, where I have had the opportunity to influence policies, programs, and practices that affect the lives of others.”

Kaufman notes a special connection to this past year when Abbott House celebrated its 60th anniversary and ties to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who attended the agency’s inaugural dinner in 1965 and whose words grace the pages of its history. “Dr. King was my childhood hero, and I have been privileged to serve a cause that he championed so passionately,” Kaufman said.

“James Kaufman is a visionary leader who has committed his entire career to improving the lives of people in need,” said Board Chair Walter Montgomery. “Throughout the past 11 years, he has guided Abbott House with wisdom, compassion, and conviction, strengthening its position as one of the most esteemed human services agencies in the New York Metropolitan and Hudson Valley Region.”

“On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, I am grateful for his leadership and proud of his achievements that will long be remembered and celebrated as this organization continues to carry on its noble mission.”

The Board of Directors has formed a search committee to find Kaufman’s successor, who will be announced in the coming months. Kaufman will work closely with the board and the new CEO to ensure a smooth and seamless transition.


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