Marcia Cohodes became an advocate for children with special needs following her older son’s diagnosis of cognitive disability on the autism spectrum. Her incentive to take a leadership role was fueled by the desire to give her son an equal opportunity to participate in the Jewish community.
In 2000, The Minneapolis Jewish Community Inclusion Program for People with Disabilities was founded, with Marcia chairing the Inclusion Advisory Committee. From 2003-2004, Marcia co-chaired a task force resolving equitable funding for inclusive Jewish education, out of which the Special Education Funding Pool was created. In 2004, Marcia began meeting with community capital campaign chairs to discuss resources for special education funding. In 2006, a “Special Needs and Collaborative Education” endowment was established at the Minneapolis Jewish Community Foundation, which Marcia chaired. In 2007, Marcia served on the inclusion subcommittee of the Human Services Planning Commission. In recent years, Marcia and her husband have been working with higher education institutions and the state legislature to develop a pilot program offering a college curriculum, with degree, for post-Transition young adults.
Marcia has served on the boards of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation, Jewish Family & Children’s Service, Women’s Endowment Fund, Community Housing and Adath Jeshurun Synagogue. She was a Federation Campaign Chair (B&P Division), member of the Women’s Young Leadership Cabinet and recipient of the Tychman Young Leadership Award. Marcia is a graduate fellow (1986-88) of the Wexner Heritage Foundation and currently serves on the Wexner Alumni Delegates Council. She is co-chair of the Jewish Federations of North America (“JFNA”) Disability Workgroup and an Ambassador for the Human Services and Public Policy Division of JFNA.
Prior to retiring, Marcia was an investment banker in the municipal securities industry. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband, David Goldsteen, and their three children.
Disability Inclusion and the Federation Movement: Why, How, and the Time Is NowSee full schedule