Celebrating What WE Can Do

This is a proud time of the year for the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland. Earlier this week we held our 96th Annual Meeting and had the opportunity to thank David Forman for his leadership as Chair of the Board for the past two years (he will continue on the board as the Immediate Past Chair). We also celebrated our fundraising successes with Lauren Goldstein who ended her two-year term as Campaign Chair. I hope everyone appreciates the time, effort and commitment it takes to lead any Jewish (or non-Jewish) organization. Our community is grateful for your service and your efforts to strengthen Jewish life.

I am delighted to welcome Ed Tonkin as Federation’s new Chair of the Board and Mindy and Mark Zeitzer as our new Campaign Co-Chairs. Jeff Robinson will continue to serve as Allocations Chair and Jack Birnbach is our new Treasurer. We also welcome Charles Levy andCheryl Tonkin to our governing board. Our board members all bring energy, passion and new ideas to our community. We are honored to have their leadership.

This week the Federation also made its final allocations decisions for next fiscal year. This is always one of the most difficult challenges – allocating finite resources for a myriad of worthy programs and services. This funding comes from your generosity to our Annual Campaign, which we are most appreciative of.

It is important to note that our Allocations Committee begins its process by focusing on the priority needs of our community – not prior year funding. Without providing a total laundry list of over $2.5 million in grants (to be shared in our Annual Report later this summer), I am pleased to announce our local core allocations to our agency partners (these allocations do not include community programs and other initiatives). The bulk of these allocations go to general operating support, yet some funding is earmarked for specific initiatives like summer camp scholarships, tuition assistance, cultural programming and assistance to children with special needs. Notably, almost every organization received more base funding than last year (and in total, each will receive even more than listed below). We are proud to provide 6% more in funding to our local community – all thanks to you and the success of our Annual Campaign.

Jewish Education $229,100

  • Maayan Torah Day School $29,100

  • Maimonides Jewish Day School $15,000

  • Portland Jewish Academy $185,000

Jewish Identity Building $149,500

  • Birthright Israel $7,500

  • B'nai B'rith Camp $30,000

  • Chabad at Reed College $6,000

  • Greater Portland Hillel $25,000

  • Oregon Hillel $50,000

  • Moishe House $8,500

  • Jewish Teen Youth Groups $22,500

Jewish Social and Cultural $137,500

  • Mittleman JCC $110,000

  • Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocuast Education $27,500

Social Services $370,000

  • Cedar Sinai Park $155,000

  • Jewish Family & Child Service $215,000          

Beyond our typical allocations process, this year the Jewish Federation focused on two new priority areas via our new “life stages” model we are implementing – school-aged children/teens and young adults. Local and national organizations were invited to submit proposals to make an impact and/or to address unmet needs in these priority areas. The proposals were evaluated based on: collaboration with other community organizations, relative significance in terms of increasing or enhancing Jewish engagement of the target population, and the feasibility of the proposal being implemented and impactful. We received 25 proposals and in the end selected three initial projects for a total of $69,100 in funding. These include:

  • Portland Jewish Academy/Maimonides Jewish Day School/Maayan Torah Day School($20,000) – Our three Jewish day schools will hire an educational consultant(s) to assist classroom teachers, administrators, and families in meeting the growing range of learning and behavioral needs of students. By expanding their ability to meet the needs of these children it will allow for more of them to be served by our three Jewish day schools.

  • StandwithUs ($32,000) – In partnership with several synagogues and the local Jewish youth organizations, we will bring a shaliach(emissary) from Israel to support Portland-area Jewish teens in connecting with Israel, Israeli-culture, Israeli history, and to develop greater awareness of life in Israel today. Our goal is to better inform these young people about Israel, especially prior to going to college where there seem to be so many challenges. (Our community has supported ashaliach for the past five years, yet this is the first time his/her energy will be focused on the teen population.)

  • Moishe House Without Walls ($17,100) – This program, in conjunction with multiple Jewish organizations, expands the young adult engagement work of our current Moishe House, which has a physical house on the eastside. This initiative will provide an additional 60 programs for young adults throughout the Greater Portland area.

Of course, beyond these local allocations, we make significant grants overseas. I will detail those initiatives next week.

As mentioned earlier, our Annual Report will be made available late this summer and showcase ALL our efforts to enhance Jewish life. It is quite an impressive array of programs and services totaling over $2.5 million. If you have any questions or would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact me by replying to this email.

Once again -- THANK YOU – your generositymade this possible!

A quick update on last week’s email about Portland State University. Greater Portland Hillel put on a wonderful Israel celebration attended by some 200 students and community members, including PSU president, Wim Wiewel. He could not have been more supportive of the students. At the same time, the Student Senate vote on a BDS resolution scheduled to take place was tabled until the fall semester. Let’s hope the summer months provide learning and education about what is actually being proposed.

Finally, do not miss the 24th Portland Jewish Film Festival which begins on Wednesday, June 15. There are three types of admission (individual movie tickets, festival pass, or a ten-coupon “scrip book”) to screenings available here. Take advantage of seeing many excellent films.

Shabbat shalom and have a wonderful Shavuot (our office will be closed on Monday).

Shabbat shalom.



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