Why Federation?

It is amazing to me that we are already in December. It feels like 2011 has flown by. And now, in the final month of the year, many thoughts turn to extraordinary shopping deals as well as year-end charitable giving. If you are like me, your mailbox is already inundated with catalogs and solicitation materials from a multitude of charitable organizations.

I know that the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland is one of those non-profits. And, I believe, for good reason. I would not be doing my job if I did not share “Why Federation?”:

For over 90 years, the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland has been raising funds to meet the ongoing needs of our Jewish community with an innovative approach and a record of achievement. In fact, Federation’s Annual Campaign has raised over $110 million for our Jewish community since its inception.

Our approach is becoming even more strategic and, I believe, our results will inspire. Federation continues to be the single largest annual fundraising arm for our Jewish community with thousands of people providing support to a community-wide network of organizations that care for people in need and nurture and sustain the Jewish community today and for future generations.

Federation truly supports the fabric of Jewish life in our community. By working with a broad cross-section of community members, we ensure that the programs, institutions, and values that enrich our Jewish community remain vibrant and strong. From feeding the hungry to helping the unemployed...from supporting families with needs to funding Jewish education and Israel experiences…the Jewish Federation is focused on addressing the most pressing issues facing our community every day.

Federation provides an effective and meaningful way for you to give Jewishly. With each gift, leveraged with thousands of others, we address causes and issues of importance to our community. If you or someone you know receives financial or scholarship assistance, enjoys PJ Library books, or has been a participant on Birthright Israel, then you know how important the Jewish Federation is to our community. And this is just a small sampling of services we help fund.

During times of crisis and natural disasters, Federation responds. The Jewish Federation system has a long track record of carrying out big bold initiatives and mobilizing great resources during times of crisis. We helped airlift thousands of Ethiopian Jews to safety in Israel during Operations Moses and Solomon. We helped rescue and resettle more than one million Soviet Jews in Israel and North America during Operation Exodus. And we provided lifesaving humanitarian relief during the recent natural disasters in New Orleans, Haiti and Japan.

The extraordinary impact of the Jewish Federation can be felt around the community and around the world. In Portland, via Federation funding, we enable financial assistance and counseling, eldercare services, adult Jewish education, and college services to campuses throughout the area. We provide opportunities for Jewish culture to flourish and are working toward reaching our broad, diverse, and growing community.

In Israel, Federation provides funds for training and educational programs to break the cycle of poverty, enrichment programs for children at risk, provides support for new immigrants to integrate successfully, and Arab-Israeli co-existence projects.

And Federation is active in over 70 countries around the world. In Russia and other Eastern European countries, home to the world’s poorest Jews, Federation-funded programs offer relief to 168,000 Jewish elderly while helping over 10,000 children receive a Jewish education. In Latin America, we help over 50,000 Jews with financial assistance and identity and renewal programs.

Through our broad network of partners and agencies, we actively seek out and support innovative solutions in order to provide basic necessities in life, rescue people in need, and educate, inspire, and connect people to their Jewish identity.

This is “why federation!”

As we look to the future, Federation is leading our community in a new direction with a bold and innovative agenda, including our Community Impact Grants. Our agenda encourages inclusiveness and an understanding that innovative models and strategies for Jewish life must be explored and created. You are our partner in that process –we need your support.

Help us become the model Jewish community of the 21st century! We are fast approaching the end of the calendar year, and now is the perfect time to make your commitment to Federation’s Annual Campaign. Please click here to provide your support. Your gift truly touches Jewish lives in Portland, Israel, and around the world – in fact -- it does a world of good.

Shabbat shalom.


PS -- This Sunday is our community’s 30th annual Super Sunday! This is a day when hundreds of volunteers reach out to our community to ask people, like you, to support our community’s campaign. Please answer the call! Your participation matters! Your charitable dollars make an impact!


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