19 August 2022
When I joined Federation nearly five years ago, it was with incredible excitement. I knew Greater Washington was home to incomparable leaders and organizations, and that this community was already charting new paths for a vibrant Jewish future and building a Jewish community of meaning and purpose. Almost four years ago, Federation approved a strategic plan envisioning an open, connected, and vibrant Jewish community that cares for each other, fosters Jewish learning and journeys, embraces Jewish peoplehood and Israel, and acts as a force for good in the world. Though none of us could have foreseen the challenges that would mark the years to come, together we have actively worked to achieve this vision.
When COVID-19 exacerbated local and global challenges for those in need, you stepped up with generosity and compassion and asked how you could do more. When Russia invaded Ukraine, you ensured that we could support the needs of refugees around the world. As the world continues to change and the philanthropic landscape and communal needs evolve, Federation is seeking to expand opportunities for local, national, and global investments and impact.
In this historic moment, and as we continue to pursue our broad communal vision, it is essential for Federation to evolve and enhance our offerings as our community’s partner in philanthropy. Through our newly renamed and expanded Jewish Community Foundation, formerly Federation’s United Jewish Endowment Fund, Federation will continue to be at the forefront of these efforts, and at the intersection of our donors’ passions and the community’s greatest needs.
Through the Jewish Community Foundation, Federation is broadening our capacity to partner with our community’s donors and nonprofits to advance a world in which all people can thrive, reach their full potential, and feel that they belong. Grounded in Jewish values, we will help donors engage more deeply in community change and learning, and realize the power of collaborative giving. We will deepen the pool of nonprofits with whom we partner to advance their impact and support them in building their capacity to make lasting change. And by inspiring generosity within and beyond the Jewish community, focusing on new funding and learning opportunities, and collaborating with others, we will empower donors to achieve their philanthropic visions, individually and collectively, locally and around the world.
This week, Federation welcomed Sara Brenner as the first Executive Director of the Jewish Community Foundation. Sara will lead our efforts to broaden the reach of Jewish philanthropy in Greater Washington in new ways and to address new challenges. Sara joins us after sixteen years as President of Community Wealth Partners. There, she guided the organization in developing a strategy for greater impact, helping hundreds of philanthropic and nonprofit organizations make demonstrable progress on pressing issues. Sara’s experience and expertise, particularly in philanthropic advising, creating and running collaborative funding projects, and guiding community foundations, has already been an enormous asset to our work.
As Sara notes, “I am humbled to have the opportunity to lead this new philanthropic entity for our community. This role is a homecoming for me, and I am thrilled to apply my Jewish values to important philanthropic work that will make a demonstrable impact in our region and well beyond.”
Sara and I look forward to sharing much more about the Jewish Community Foundation in the weeks and months to come. With this newest step for Federation and our community in pursuing our shared vision, Jewish Greater Washington will continue to make significant and lasting change, locally, nationally, and globally.
Thank you for all that you do to strengthen and sustain our community and the world around us.
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