Jessica Schaffer

Executive Director

Jessica Schaffer (she/her) joins JCUA after 12 years at JCFS Chicago, including more than 8 as Director of HIAS Immigration & Citizenship. Jessica led and scaled HIAS through the ups and downs of several federal administrations, ultimately tripling the budget, staff team, and number of clients served since 2021. She partnered often with JCUA to pursue immigrant justice, co-convening Jewish Action Days in Springfield and organizing the Jewish community to advocate on behalf of refugees and asylum seekers through the Chicago Jewish Coalition for Refugees. Prior to joining JCFS, Jessica worked in development and program implementation at Heartland Alliance’s International Children’s Center and the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago and led short-term service-learning programs with American Jewish World Service.

Jessica has been recognized for her work as a recipient of JCFS Chicago’s Ken Jacobson Award for Professional Excellence (2022), an Avodah Partner in Justice (2019), and a recipient of JUF’s prestigious Samuel A. Goldsmith Young Leadership Award (2014).

Originally from Montreal, Jessica holds a bachelor’s degree from McGill University and an MSW from the University of Illinois at Chicago. An alumna of Avodah’s service corps program, she lives in Chicago with her husband, Addisu, and their children, Benjamin and Sofia.