Harvey Sloan, former chief operating officer and senior vice president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, died overnight, Tuesday, Jan. 15 in Florida. He was 68.
Sloan was the financial wizard behind the Federation, the man who dealt with accountants and attorneys to get the best bond rates for Federation projects, not the least of which was the $50 million Renaissance Campaign of the 1990s, which paid for many capital projects in the community, including construction of the Jewish Community Center annex, Weinberg Terrace and the Charles Morris Center, renovations and expansion at Hillel Academy and Yeshiva Schools and the acquisition of the property that would become Community Day School.
Sloan spent 34 years working for the Federation when it was still known as the United Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. He forged a 24-year partnership with the previous federation president CEO, Howard Rieger.
Recalling his friend, Rieger said Sloan;’s background was not only in finance, but in people.
“He may be the only financial and accounting guy I know — COO for a large part of his career — who had not only the financial credentials but was a certified social worker,” Rieger recalled. “He went back to school to get his master’s degree in social work at the urging of my predecessor — and he did it while he was working full-time.”
A consummate professional, Sloan ran the finances of the Federation “with complete integrity and fiscal responsibility in an era where we see time and time again that this not the case,” Rieger said.
As computer and database technology changed — rapidly — Rieger said Sloan was the Federation’s man who interfaced with the computer specialists, helping to apply the technology to the organization “when at other places people didn’t know how to plug the darn thing in and make it work.”
But he didn’t live his work.
Jeffrey Finkelstein, the current president and CEO of the Federation, said Sloan took a personal interest in his co-workers, wandering the hallways of Federation office in Oakland in the mornings, a big cup of coffee in his hand, popping into offices and asking how individuals and their families were doing.
Away from work, Sloan was an avid golfer, tennis and handball ballplayer. He played these sports even after surviving open-heart surgery.
“He was a fierce competitor,” Rieger said. “He was a great golfer. He had commemorative plaques on the walls of his office for all the holes in one he was able to strike in his career. And he was a completely in your face competitor when it came to handball.”
Sloan is survived by his wife Carol and his brothers Jimmy and Alan. The funeral was Friday in Florida.
(Lee Chottiner can be reached at email@example.com.)