PODCAST: S5:EP1–Arnie Fielkow, The Starting Block

Join us for S4:EP44 of the Sports Philanthropy Podcast as Arnie Fielkow, Chief Operating Officer of Jewish Federation of New Orleans sits down with our host Roy Kessel to discuss his personal experience as an athlete, his path working with sports, and the new initiatives The Starting Block is working on.

Before coming to the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, Arnie Fielkow served as President and CEO of the National Basketball Retired Players Association. Twice elected to the New Orleans City Council, he helped rebuild New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. He also served as Executive Vice President of the New Orleans Saints from 2000-2005.

In 2017, he became CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans. He has focused on building and strengthening of relationships with synagogues and other community partners, as well as expanding the big tent under which the Federation operates, by creating: JNEXT, a program for Gen-X Jewish New Orleanians; LGBTQ outreach through JP NOLA; a professional mentoring program designed to retain top talent in New Orleans; and two landmark external relations centers: the Goldring Family Foundation Center for Jewish-Multicultural Affairs, and the Sherry and Alan Leventhal Center for Interfaith Families.

Launching in 2021, The Starting Block: A Fielkow-Chase Youth Education Initiative is designed to build impactful relationships between multicultural and multifaith communities in Greater New Orleans through the lens of practical learning and career-building for high school students interested in pursuing professions within the sports industry.

This innovative program was jointly created by the Arnie D. Fielkow Family and the Edgar “Dooky” Jr. & Leah Chase Family Foundation. Those in New Orleans know these names well – this initiative combines the primary passions of Arnie Fielkow’s nearly 30-year professional career: sports, Judaism, and fostering relationship-building among the diverse subsets of diverse communities. The iconic Leah Chase devoted her entire life to social justice and change, and education, and utilized her unprecedented culinary talents to bring diverse New Orleanians together.

Arnie Fielkow joins our host Roy Kessel on S5:EP1 of the Sports Philanthropy Podcast


  • 00:00 Introduction
  • 01:02 Arnie’s Childhood Passion for Sports
  • 02:33 Arnie’s Tennis Career
  • 04:10 College Tennis Experience
  • 06:34 Getting Back into Sports in his Professional Life
  • 9:30 How Experience Matters in Sports Industry
  • 13:35 Arnie’s Journey in Sports
  • 24:10 Favorite New Orlean’s Memories
  • 29:40 Political Career v. Sports Involvement
  • 32:28 Moving from Football to Basketball
  • 35:30 New Initiatives in New Orleans
  • 43:25 SPN Bonus Question
  • 46:10 Closing


Taylor Hipp

Taylor Hipp

Sports Philanthropy Network

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