Backofen named executive director of Foundation for University Hospital

Jess Backofen was named executive director of the Foundation for University Hospital, the hospital’s not-for-profit organization that serves as its primary charitable fundraising arm, on Tuesday.

The appointment begins immediately.

Backofen, an accomplished leader in the health care nonprofit industry, will work alongside hospital administration and the foundation’s board of directors to raise the quality of care for clinical programs and services at University Hospital.

Board of trustees member Shané Harris, who also serves as president of the Prudential Foundation, said Backofen is a perfect fit for the organization.

“We are pleased to welcome such an accomplished fundraising leader to the Foundation for University Hospital,” she said. “Jess’ depth of experience will translate perfectly into our short- and long-range plans to grow our fundraising.

“We look forward to her leadership as the foundation makes an even larger contribution to the success of University Hospital and the communities we serve.”

Backofen joins the Foundation for University Hospital from the JDRF (formerly the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation), the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes research, where she served as the associate vice president of corporate development.

While there, she worked on six- and seven-figure partnership agreements aimed at accelerating the organization’s mission. Before that, Backofen worked with JDRF’s New Jersey chapter, where, under her guidance, the New Jersey chapter realized unprecedented financial growth — more than 600% over five years. This significant level of success involved optimizing patient support, enhancing health care provider collaboration and creating mutually beneficial corporate partnerships.

Backofen said she is eager to begin.

“I am honored to join the team at the Foundation for University Hospital, and I look forward to working closely to build on the success and quality of care for our patients and the community,” she said. “I am excited about working closely with the foundation’s board and hospital administration, especially as the institution enters an enthusiastic new era with a clear vision for the future.”

University CEO Shereef Elnahal said Backofen’s role will grow in importance in the coming months and years.

“As University Hospital emerges from the pandemic and moves fully into realizing its long-term vision, the role of the Foundation for University Hospital will be very important to helping the hospital realize its potential,” he said.

“With the appointment of Jess as its new executive director, the foundation is in the hands of a health care nonprofit visionary who will help increase the impact of the organization on the hospital, and our community, as a whole.”