13 December 2019
I often meet with potential donors as part of my capacity as CEO. During both informal and formal meetings, I do my best to communicate the unique role Federation plays in the Greater Washington Jewish community and the value we add to people’s lives…and there is a lot to say!
Perhaps my elevator pitch would be shorter if Federation had only one function or focus. But Federation’s agenda is truly comprehensive—we aim to serve as an instigator of vibrant and caring Jewish life in a decentralized, diverse, and evolving community.
Indeed, Federation operates as something more than a single organization. As board member and past president Gary Berman likes to say, when someone donates to Federation, it is as if they are donating to several Jewish agencies, six Jewish day schools, multiple synagogues, Jewish summer camps, 11 Hillels, and more. When someone gives to Federation, they are contributing to the very infrastructure of Jewish life in Greater Washington. Crucial agencies like JSSA, JCRC, JCADA, and others rely on Federation to help keep the lights on, pay their staff, and deliver the programs and services that directly affect our lives as Jews and as people. These same funds also enable them to innovate and test new ideas to strengthen themselves and the community.
Simultaneously, Federation helps bring together the people and resources our community needs to tackle common goals. We focus on strategic priorities that no single organization could achieve alone, including engaging the next generation of Jews with Jewish life, helping people of all ages and backgrounds to engage in Jewish learning and explore their Jewish identity, and strengthening Jewish life in Northern Virginia.
One of our greatest assets, therefore, is our unique vantage point. We do not have all the answers. What we do have is the ability to cultivate connections among the many moving parts of our community and invest in the forward-thinking ideas that will help usher forth the Jewish future we all envision.
In a recent letter, Gary wrote that in order to achieve our goals, we need both dollars and smarts. I know we have the latter in spades—our dedicated volunteers, professional partners, Federation team, community leaders, supporters, and cheerleaders are some of the most insightful and visionary people I know. It is clear to me that our community is rich in passion, intellect, and commitment.
Where I am asking for your help is in raising more dollars. While our goal is not simply to raise more funds, we are acutely aware that without additional resources, we cannot expand the work of the community in critical areas. We are committed to strengthening communal security (an increasingly important priority), caring for the vulnerable, expanding educational opportunities, and building organizational capacity, among many other needs.
We are also committed to pushing forward on the less tangible goals. We want to help ensure ours is a community where people feel cared for and supported on their quest for purpose and belonging. Where people can deepen their connection to Jewish tradition and Israel. Where people can come to ask complicated and important questions about how to lead a meaningful and responsible life—and begin to find meaningful answers.
With your support, I have no doubt that all of this is possible.
Please donate to our Annual Campaign today at shalomdc.org/donate.
Thank you and Shabbat Shalom,