CAT Fight and Giving Children

It is amazing to think that it is already December. This is a time of year when we think about the holidays, vacations, and, I hope, charitable giving. We have only 30 days left in our 100 Days of Impact and I am excited that our campaign is currently over $2.4 million! We continue at an incredible pace with wonderful increases. But we need your support – in two ways. 

  1.  Make a commitment to the 2017 Annual Campaign (not payable until December 2017). The earlier you do the sooner we can begin planning our allocations.
  2.  Pay your pledge from last year (2016 Campaign). Although we ask for pledges, our partner agencies require the actual dollars to do their work. I am proud to say that we have one of the highest payment rates in the country.

On Sunday, we are holding our annual Super Sunday at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center. Please “answer the call” and make your commitment to our community’s campaign. Or, be a hero and volunteer for an hour or two between 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and help reach out to our community.

I also want to thank those of you who gave to our Israel Fire Emergency Campaign. 100% of all dollars received are being sent to Israel during this critical time. Here is an update from the Jewish Federations of North America.

Wednesday was very difficult. Representatives from our Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), community rabbis, community members and I attended the Portland City Council meeting where the recommendations from the Socially Responsible Investments Committee (SRIC) were discussed. Over 200 people were present for this hearing.

A quick recap:

In December 2014, the Portland City Council passed a resolution creating a seven-member Socially Responsible Investments Committee. City Council members appointed community members with expertise in environmental and conservation issues, labor practices, corporate ethics and governance, corporate taxation, public health and safety, and business to serve on the committee. The Committee has been meeting since September 2015. The Office of Management and Finance and the Office of Commissioner Steve Novick provide staff support and technical advice to the committee.

The Council-established criteria for a corporation to be considered includes: concerns about the environment, corporate ethics, weapons production, abusive labor practices, and human rights.

Based on the above, twenty companies were presented to the SRIC from the Human Rights Commission. Ten of those corporations were then recommended to the City Council to be included on the City’s Corporate Securities Do-Not-Buy List:

  • Walmart
  • Wells Fargo Bank
  • Caterpillar
  • Bank of New York Mellon
  • HSBC Bank USA
  • JP Morgan Chase Bank NA
  • Nestlé Holdings
  • Credit Suisse
  • Societe Generale

The report (an interesting read) details the SRIC rationale behind each recommendation.

The Jewish community’s concern was over the inclusion of Caterpillar. This is a company targeted by the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for years due to alleged human rights violations towards the Palestinians. BDS supporters were there in large numbers, as were members of the mainstream Jewish community. Our speakers provided excellent testimony about why Caterpillar should not be listed, especially since it was singled out solely for its work in Israel.

During the three hours of public comments, I was surprised that only three of the companies on the list were ever mentioned – Caterpillar, Wells Fargo Bank, and J.P. Morgan Chase Bank NA.

As of now, a final vote by the City Council on the SRIC's recommendations is scheduled for December 15. Our JCRC will continue to monitor the situation and be in touch with members of the City Council.

Finally, with the end-of the-year, many of us think about our charitable giving. I recently read an article in Moneymagazine about how to raise charitable children. Here are three recommended steps that may help your children understand that this time of year is about more than the presents they may receive.

  • Give out loud. Parents often give silently by mailing a check or clicking a button online, so our children may not know our values and the causes we support. Make your actions obvious each time you make a gift by telling your children about the nonprofits you contribute to, the reasons why, and the impact those funds will have. (A study by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy found that young children whose parents talk with them about donating are 20% more likely to give to charity than children who do not have such conversations with their parents.)
  • Delegate generosity. Set aside a portion of your charitable dollars for your children to give. Allow them to suggest a cause or pick the charities they wish to support. Perhaps you even match their contributions?
  • Get their hands dirty. To get children hooked on giving their time as well as money, find volunteer opportunities or charitable projects that play to your children’s interests and talents. The more you let them direct the process, the more they will appreciate the experience. (I believe we see this over and over again with bar and bat mitzvah projects.)

Speaking of volunteer opportunities, I am proud that the Jewish Federation offered an evening at the Oregon Food Bank on #GivingTuesday earlier this week. Feeding the hungry is a moral imperative steeped in Jewish tradition, and the Jewish Federation is pleased to facilitate opportunities like these to actualize these values. Tuesday night 60 people packed 13,451 pounds of frozen corn providing 11,209 meals – an awesome average of 172 meals packed per volunteer.


#GivingTuesday 2016

Thank you to everyone who participated. Be on the lookout for two upcoming volunteer activities in 2017:

Chanukah will soon be upon us -- click here for a current listing of Chanukah activities for you and your family.

Shabbat shalom.



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