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Board of Directors

Dr. Ariella Riva Ritvo-Slifka, Chairwoman

Riva Ariella Ritvo-Slifka, PhD


Dr. Riva Ariella Ritvo-Slifka is a philanthropist and an autism expert. She is Alan Slifka’s widow. Alan was her life partner, mentor, closest friend and beloved husband. Their visions aligned closely and they complemented one another as they worked, alongside their board and staff, to heal the world.

Dr. Ritvo-Slifka has been the president of the Alan B. Slifka Foundation since 2007 and its chairwoman since 2011. She has been active in biomedical, coexistence and Jewish philanthropic organizations for over 20 years. Dr. Ritvo-Slifka’s professional background is in autism research, clinical practice and teaching. She is an assistant clinical professor at the Child Study Center at Yale University School of Medicine.

Her rigorous scientific background and emphasis on data-oriented results, coupled with Mr. Slifka’s vision, were instrumental in fostering the Foundation’s strategic approach to its mission. 

More about the President and Chairwoman 

  Rachelle Markowitz


Rachelle Markowitz is the Chief Financial Officer of the Alan B. Slifka Foundation and serves as its treasurer. A dear friend of the Slifka family, Rachelle has worked in the Slifka Family Office for 15 years. She oversees the finance, accounting, banking and investment function and is also in charge of human resources, benefits and facilities. Rachelle feels fortunate to work for a private charitable foundation where she is able to partner her financial skills with her desire to do Tikkun Olam– trying to make the world we live in a better place.


Frank Dato, Board Member
Frank Dato

Board Member

Frank Dato is the newest member of the Alan B. Slifka Foundation.

Born and raised in Santa Barbara California, Frank was raised from a young age to have an open mind and care about human rights. Mr. Dato is a strong advocate for shared societies work and its values. He has been a member of the American Center for Law and Justice since 2000

Mr. Dato has been a senior communications engineer for the past 30 years in both the private sector and hospitals throughout Southern California.

Frank has been a friend of the Slifkas since 2006. He met Alan and Ari in Montecito, where he designed their communications network. During multiple conversations with Alan and Ari it was apparent that Mr. Dato shared many of the Ritvo and Slifka family values. Though a Christian, Mr. Dato believes whole heartedly in Israel’s right to exist as a democratic and a Jewish state and is encouraged that there is an organization like ABSF which promotes dialogue, interfaith and a shared space for all religions.

In 2010, Mr. Dato lost his wife to breast cancer after a long battle. He became a cancer advocate supporting various organizations whose focus is cancer research and patient advocacy.

Frank was grateful, his wife Desiree left him with two children. He is now a proud father and grandfather.
Gary Gladstein, Board Member Gary Gladstein

Board Member

Gary Gladstein is currently Chairman of the Board of Mueller Industries, Inc., a New York Stock Exchange listed company, and is a retired Partner and Managing Director of Soros Fund Management LLC where he was Chief Operating Officer from 1985-2000. Mr. Gladstein has been active in philanthropy for many years. He is the founder and sponsor of the Human Rights Institute at the University of Connecticut (UCONN). He also endowed the Gladstein Chair in Human Rights at the University and the annual Marsha Lilien Gladstein Visiting Professor in Human Rights. He has also endowed the Gladstein Professorship of Information Technology and Innovation and the Gladstein Endowment for the MIS Research Laboratory at UCONN. He served on the Board of Trustees of the UCONN Foundation for over 10 years and now is Director Emeritus. The social hall at Hillel at UCONN is dedicated to Gary and Phyllis Gladstein and the social hall at Temple Beth El in Stamford is dedicated to his late wife, Judi Gladstein.

Mr. Gladstein also serves on the Board of many non-profit organizations. In addition to the Alan. B. Slifka Foundation he has served as a Director of the Hebrew Free Loan Association for over 20 years, The Abraham Fund Initiatives, the Biblelands Museum of Jerusalem, where he sponsors the Children of Abraham Program, the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation and the American Israel Friendship League. He is also active in AIPAC. Until recently, he was also a director of BBYO and is a past President of Ararat Lodge of B'nai B'rith. Additionally, he serves on the Advisory Committees for OneVoice and the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding.

Gary is blessed to have 2 children, 6 step children, 4 grandchildren and 14 step grandchildren. He and his wife, Phyllis, reside in Naples, FL and Greenwich, CT.

Shira Nadich Levin, Board Member
Shira Nadich Levin

Board Member

Shira Nadich Levin is a real estate partner at Cooley LLP, chair of its leasing committee and the founder and chair of its Women’s Initiatives. She regarded Alan as one of her closest friends and as her mentor in philanthropy. They worked together on the Foundation board for many years, and on the Abraham Heschel Board for over twenty years. Ms. Levin served as president of the Heschel Board and remains its pro bono counsel and a member of its executive committee. Ms. Levin feels fortunate to be able to use her professional skills to act as pro bono counsel for other non-profits, including The Abraham Fund Initiatives and the Jewish Funders Network.

In addition to chairing the Cooley Women’s Initiatives, in her focus on women’s issues, she serves on the east coast board of WILEF (Women in Law Empowerment Forum) and is active in other related organizations, such as NAWL (National Association of Women Lawyers).

A graduate of a Jewish day school who attended a Jewish (Hebrew speaking) camp for many years, and the daughter of a rabbi, Ms. Levin is committed to working on Jewish continuity, Jewish education and promoting and strengthening the Land of Israel. In addition to the Heschel School, she is active in Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, AIPAC (as a member of the Real Estate Committee), and has been active in the Anti-Defamation League (having served on the New York board) and the American Friends of Rambam Medical Center (having served on its board). She credits Alan with broadening her horizons, and Alan’s passions became her passions—promoting shared societies and the co-existence of Israel’s Jewish and Arab citizens, as well as among Jews of differing observance and backgrounds, both in the United States and Israel. She will always be grateful to him for these life-long gifts, and to both Alan and Riva for giving her the opportunity to work with them and the board toward realizing the critical goals that make up the mission of the Foundation.

Victoria Ritvo Slikfa

Victoria Ritvo Black

Board Member

Victoria Ritvo Black is Alan Slifka’s stepdaughter and has been an active philanthropist for many years. While still in high school, Victoria won both a community service award and a scholarship to university. This was because of her involvement with several community-based outreach programs, including United Friends of the Children, an organization in Los Angeles that works with foster children and underprivileged youth.

In college she worked for several years developing and supervising the Joint Education Project whose purpose was to educate and foster relationships between the students at USC and the inner city youth of South Central Los Angeles.

With all of these areas of interest, passion and awareness it is Victoria’s hope to educate, serve and be a part of making the world a better place. She is happy and proud to continue her stepfather’s legacy with the board and staff of the Alan B. Slifka Foundation.

Alan was very close to Victoria and served as her mentor and guide, encouraging her to participate in Jewish-based philanthropy under his guidance. Victoria accompanied Alan to many philanthropic events where she grew interested and passionate about coexistence, especially the Abraham Fund Initiatives and other Jewish organizations that helped to serve the greater community.

Victoria is an occupational therapist who currently works in private practice focusing on research, treatment and evaluation of children with autism and special needs. Given her medical background and work within the medical field, Victoria volunteers and supports autism and sarcoma organizations. Her focus is on novel research and programming with the intention of bringing awareness of disability and cancer, specifically sarcoma, to the general public. She became interested in sarcoma when her brother Max was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma in 2007, and in 2008 a dear friend, Wendy Landes, was diagnosed with liposarcoma to which she succumbed.

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