By: Mike May, for Around Wellington
Longtime sports industry executive and former professional athlete Karin Buchholz is now doing a job that she never knew existed and one that she never thought she would undertake, but, it’s an opportunity which she is uniquely qualified to do. Buchholz is the new Global Executive Director of the Israel Tennis and Education Centers (ITEC) Foundation.
Founded in 1976, the Israel Tennis and Education Centers (ITEC) – featuring 17 centers and five satellites in cities and towns throughout Israel — create hope, build friendships and inspire dreams by providing opportunities to support every child who lives in Israel regardless of geography, religion, ethnicity, physical ability or socioeconomic status. Through its programs, ITEC helps to build a stronger and more peaceful state of Israel. And, with ITEC, tennis is at the core of what ITEC offers.
When Buchholz was notified about this opportunity with ITEC by an executive search firm, she knew that it was a perfect job for her.
“Wow! This job is made for me,” recalled Buchholz. “I was moved by its mission. At this point in my life, I only want to do things that move me. And, I get to use the great power of sports to change the lives of others.”
Buchholz is excited about this new challenge in her professional life.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead the ITEC Foundation,” said Buchholz. “In many ways, I feel that everything I have done up to this point has led me to this moment. It is a privilege to join an organization that is doing the hard work of bringing peace, cross-cultural understanding and a brighter future to a part of the world that has known so much conflict. I look forward to being a part of the effort to make a positive difference in the lives of all Israeli children.”
Buchholz knows first-hand about the power of sports, based on her past roles with the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, New York Liberty, U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, the NBA, and the United States Tennis Association (USTA).
As a former professional tennis player, she is used to dealing with people from diverse backgrounds.
“I played three years of professional tennis,” said Buchholz. “I traveled around the world.”
She can relate to people from all nations because of the power of tennis.
“The sport of tennis is in my DNA,” said Buchholz. “I relate to others through sports, specifically tennis.”
Buchholz will work closely with ITEC’s global board of directors and professional staff in North America and Israel to implement best-in-class fund development strategies, strengthen community outreach, and enhance donor engagement. She will also take a leadership role in steering the organization’s continuing evolution as it communicates its mission to the world.
ITEC’s unique system and approach to tennis education have helped transform Israel, the Middle East and beyond, engendering partnership and enhancing peace between its peoples, communities and cultures.
Buchholz will play a big role in ITEC’s future growth.
“Karin has a proven ability to lead non-profits in their fundraising initiatives,” said ITEC CEO Erez Vider. “She has experience working with at risk and marginalized youth. And, look at her background in sports, both as an executive and a premiere athlete. Add this to her collegial style of problem solving and Karin’s unique skill set makes her ideally positioned to spearhead the ITEC Foundation.”
Buchholz comes to ITEC after serving as Head of Development for GLSEN, an organization fighting for the rights of marginalized young people in schools across the United States.
The ITEC Foundation, the development arm of ITEC, is based in New York City, Florida and Toronto.
For more information, visit https://itecenters.org/ or call the Florida office: (954) 480-6333.