End of Our (fiscal) Year Success

I hope you are enjoying the summer thus far.
I am proud to share that the Jewish Federation has completed its 2019 Annual Campaign and our community had another very successful year. We were delighted to have another increased annual campaign. This, despite a drop of $54 billion in giving across the United States and a national trend of non-profits raising 1.7% less. This is only possible due to the thousands of generous donors in our community – THANK YOU .
The success of our campaign made an impact in our allocations. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, over a six-month period, a group of dedicated community volunteers met to review twenty local Jewish organizations to learn more about their past successes, future plans, and their impact on our Jewish community. They listen to each organization’s current services and want to hear about new initiatives going forward. Plus, they review each organization’s budget and financials. To be frank, this is tedious and deliberate work – yet, each committee member will tell you it is inspiring. 
It is important to note that our allocations decisions are made in late May, prior to the conclusion of our Annual Campaign. That means we have to reach certain fundraising targets to match those allocations. I was delighted that we not only met our allocations goal -- we exceeded the approved allocations total and Federation was able to provide an additional $30,000 to several local and overseas agencies after the process.
One thing that I am most excited about in regard to our allocations process and that of Board funding decisions, is our ability to “spread our resources” to new and different initiatives. Here are some examples you may not know much about:
We are providing funding for 70 local Jewish educators to attend the national NewCAJE Conference , which our community is excited to host at Reed College in two weeks. We have funded the pro-Israel advocacy group StandWithUsfor the first time as a partner agency. We will continue our funding of a shaliach (emissary from Israel) for Greater Portland Hillel . More dollars are going to our three Jewish day schools ( Maayan Torah Day School , Maimonides Jewish Day School , and Portland Jewish Academy ). We are continuing our partnerships with Moishe House and OneTable to enhance young adult programming and engagement in our community. We continue to fund important incentive grant programs like One Happy Camper (grants to first-time campers at Jewish overnight camp), Jewish Right Start (Jewish pre-school enrollment), and our Chai Israelprogram (grants for teens to participate in Israel programs). We provide scholarship assistance for our local Jewish youth groups (BBYO, NCSY, NFTY, and USY). We help support several Jewish outreach organizations like Chabad of NEand the Portland Kollel . Of course, we continue to support long-time partners like Jewish Family and Child Service , Cedar Sinai Park , Mittleman Jewish Community Center , Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education , Oregon Hillel , and others. And this year, for the first time, we are funding a new Director of Community Security. We support all of this and so much more!
There is an old adage in the fundraising world – “You cannot do tomorrow’s work with yesterday’s dollars.” Basically, if we do not raise more money, then we will be required to do less the next year. That is why your increased support of our annual campaign means so much. The Jewish Federation’s ability to allocate millions of dollars would not be possible without the generosity of YOU and our Jewish community. THANK YOU! 
You can learn more when we publish our Annual Report late this summer.
To close out the fiscal year, I want to share information about one of the last major initiatives Ed Tonkin spearheaded as Federation’s Chair of the Board. Ed, in coordination with Lauren Goldstein, our new Chair, and I, took time to meet with every Jewish agency in town, as well as the Oregon Board of Rabbis, executive directors of the largest synagogues, and Chabad rabbis from across the area. The goal of the meetings was for Federation leadership to listen and learn from two very simple questions:
1.     Beyond funding, how can the Jewish Federation better assist your organization?
2.     What does success look like for the Jewish community?
We received invaluable feedback from each and every conversation. The following is a short summary of key general learnings (there were many more excellent specific and tangible suggestions):
  • Federation should continue to play a central role as convener on critical issues impacting this Jewish community
  • Discuss/share best practices and national trends with communal organizations
  • Assist organizations with Board training, leadership development, and succession planning
  • Work to introduce and connect board members and executive directors from across the community since many do not know one another
  • Provide more development opportunities, trainings, and “conversations” for Jewish communal professionals
  • More meetings between Federation leadership and synagogue leadership (clergy, executive directors, volunteers) – not just with agency partners
  • Hire full-time community social media managers with expertise to enhance our efforts. Everyone understands the importance of social media in today’s age, but none of us are doing it well.
This list may sound very much like “motherhood and apple pie,” but the feedback, interest, and potential for stronger partnerships is evident. These conversations were worth every minute. They were important learning opportunities for Federation leadership, and I believe the exchange of ideas was fruitful for everyone. We look forward to moving ahead on the initiatives mentioned above, and many more, in the upcoming months.
Thank you again for making Campaign 2019 such a joy and we look forward to an even more successful Campaign 2020!
On a final note, for the past many years the Jewish Federation has sponsored a Hood to Coast team. We are in need of one more runner and a volunteer for Exchange 12. If interested in either role, please email our team leader, Glen Coblens 
Shabbat shalom,


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