“Together we can.” These are powerful words, reminding us that we are stronger together than separately.
One of the core values of Federation is promoting a strong and vibrant Jewish community. We have two significant programs coming up that reinforce this power of community. First, our Purim Palooza on March 17 will bring our community religious schools together for a shared learning program and then the greater community together for an exciting Purim carnival. The Palooza, a long-standing tradition in Howard County, will feature carnival games, food, and prizes, as well as a first-ever Israel Escape Room. Then on April 7, we will participate in the international Good Deeds Day, which offers a range of “hands-on” volunteer activities to help those within our community. These two large scale events demonstrate the impact of productive professional-lay partnerships.
Community engagement looks different today than it did 10 years ago, and we, like other Federations across North America, are employing new methods to create meaningful engagement opportunities. Our staff recently attended the annual Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) Professional Institute, where they shared with and learned from professionals from other Federations. Our staff brought back new ideas and insights into how other Federations are facing challenges similar to ours. They also received reaffirmation that much of what we have been focused on for the past year aligns with other Federations’ priorities.
At the Professional Institute, a JFNA senior executive shared that “JFNA is at an inflection point.” Like other organizations, it finds itself in the midst of internal and external changes, but it will work through these changes within a Jewish context and from a Jewish lens. Our Federation is also at an inflection point. Despite the positive changes we have implemented and the increased impact we are able to demonstrate, we are facing challenges as we plan for 2020.
As with most Jewish organizations, our fiscal year runs July 1 through June 30. We set our annual operating budget by May of each calendar year based on pledges (promises to donate) from you. Without confirmed pledges, we will be forced to reduce or eliminate services and programs. Most of you donate every year and wait for proactive outreach from us to confirm your continued support. While we are always happy to talk with you and provide personalized updates on what’s happening at Federation, it’s not an efficient use of time to try and call hundreds of donors each year. And, with the increase in “robo calls,” it’s becoming more difficult to reach donors by phone.
If you want to discuss your pledge or have questions, please reach out. If you have every intention of donating to the Federation, please confirm your pledge, either online, via email, or via phone. And if you pay monthly via credit card, please contact the office to confirm your autopay option. Even for multi-year pledges, we re-confirm the credit card authorization annually.
We are entering the last few months of our Campaign which is raising funds for our activities July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020. Please be generous, either with an outright gift or with your pledge. And, remember, together we can help those in need and support a vibrant Jewish Howard County.