Tatiana and Jeff Hoff: From Students to Donors to Advocates

Ginny Nieuwsma

"Saint Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary has impacted the life of nearly every Orthodox Christian in North America," say Jeffrey and Tatiana Hoff. "We give out of gratitude for what the Seminary has given us." The Hoffs' spiritual mentors have all been seminary alums.

A thirty-something couple that call Jersey City home, Tatiana and Jeff are members of a much sought after group in the nonprofit world.

"We represent the younger generation in the Church," Jeff noted in a recent interview with SVOTS staff member Ginny Nieuwsma.

Both are unique in their age group as donors and doers. Not only does their story with St. Vladimir's go back over two decades —Jeff as a part-time seminarian, Tatiana as a participant in youth retreats while in high school and college — but they are also devoting a number of volunteer hours at St. Vladimir's Seminary.

Tatiana, a senior manager with PepsiCo, was elected to the Board of Trustees in 2012, and her husband, Jeff, a SVP at an investment firm, became the board Treasurer and Chair of its Finance and Investment Committee in 2016. Both are currently working on a number of board projects.

"A solid theological education provides an excellent foundation for life and pastoral ministry, even for laypeople who work and live 'in the world'," Jeffrey notes, reflecting on his two years as a seminarian. "SVOTS does its best to offer each student this foundation via an accessible, debt-free education."

"We have always been impressed by SVOTS's world class faculty and the programs they have so thoughtfully developed," says Tatiana. "They engage in dialogue and outreach at every opportunity." The couple also explained that SVS Press books have been critical in their spiritual journeys, saying, "We are amazed at the evangelistic reach of the Press."

Since joining the Board, the Hoffs have a new appreciation for what it takes behind the scenes to keep the Seminary stable and solvent.

"Despite the tremendous complexity of working in a non-profit organization with limited resources, the staff manages to always deliver," Jeff marvels. "It is a labor of love, and it shows."

"We are impressed by how those in SVOTS's governance have been able to adapt to our shifting landscape," adds Tatiana, "while staying true to our Orthodox Christian heritage. In spite of many challenges, St. Vladimir's remains both faithful and relevant as we focus on our mission to form leaders for the Church."

"More than ever," concludes Jeff, "we need trained and grounded priests to baptize our kids, take care of our families, and provide sound spiritual guidance. The students at St. Vladimir's are answering a unique and sacrificial call. We the supporters are called to bring our time, treasure, and talent to the table, to enable them to answer God's plan for their vocation."