Perspectives by Deborah Corber, CEO

Edition 7,  May 7, 2015

A gift to the collective: What it means and what I should have said

Deborah CorberOn a canvass in the fall of 2011 a donor asked me, “Why should I give to Federation CJA, when I can make a gift directly to the agencies or causes that matter most to me?” I answered by asking what she thought would happen if everyone gave in this way. “I suppose some causes would be really popular and others would suffer”, she replied.

The donor’s response was pretty good, but my explanation to her was incomplete. 

I should have explained that while our agencies know how to design and deliver specialized programs and services, we know how to read the broader community landscape, identify current and future needs, and ensure that we are prepared to address those needs effectively.  When it comes to serving the community, our agencies have niche expertise, whereas we are expert generalists.

I should have explained that every year we undergo a rigorous allocations process to determine the most impactful and responsible use of our annual campaign proceeds. That we work with our agencies throughout the year to understand their realities and perspectives, and to strengthen their capacity to deliver for our community. And that we are therefore well-positioned to allocate in a smart, strategic and targeted way for maximum impact in the areas of greatest need.

I should have explained that we allocate funds to have impact that is as broad as it is deep. That every dollar raised helps to care for the Jewish vulnerable, build and nurture Jewish identity, advance our communal interests and contribute to a vibrant Israel – and to do all this in a myriad of ways.

I should have explained how we deliberate to balance today’s needs against tomorrow’s contingencies.  That we invest in our community (as we did by taking funds from capital to subsidize last year’s Mega Mission), while also saving for the proverbial rainy day (as we did by repaying the Mega Mission funds back into capital in our very next budget cycle). That we allocate yearly and on multiple fronts to strengthen Jewish identity today, while partnering with visionary donors through our Generations Fund to build the institutional excellence and innovation that will strengthen Jewish identity tomorrow.

I should have told the donor about Federation CJA’s extensive network of local, national, continental and international partnerships that allows us to optimize the value of a single campaign gift. So when Jews are in distress anywhere in the world (as in Ukraine), when Israel is under siege (as during the recent war in Gaza) or when disaster hits in an instant (as in Nepal), we can raise and allocate funds and harness that network to deliver real solutions quickly and effectively.  And that because of our existing infrastructure we can do all of this in real time, and flow 100% of funds raised directly to those in need.

I should have explained that planning and allocating for the collective – the exercise by which we evaluate needs, capacities and impact and then make our funding decisions accordingly – is core to our organizational DNA. That over the course of nearly a century we have built a legacy of trust, investing in our community and raising and distributing funds with full transparency, accountability and integrity.

I should have told the donor that a gift to Federation CJA is unlike any other. That our agencies and other Jewish organizations do wonderful and important work that deserves our support, and that we respect their right and capacity to fundraise on their own.  But that a gift to Federation CJA – a gift to the collective – is unique because it’s the only one with the power to impact so many Jewish lives here at home, in Israel and throughout the Jewish world.  And I should have told her that Federation CJA was the only organization with the experience, resources and relationships to make that happen.

Well, I’m telling her now.


  Of Note

Jewish groups raise money for Nepal quake reliefJewish groups raise money for Nepal quake relief
Although they’re halfway across the world, Canadian Jewish organizations are collecting money to help the hundreds of thousands of people suffering in Nepal due to the worst natural disaster the region has seen in 80 years.
http://bit.ly/Jewishgroups

Des Québécois se sentent «abandonnés» par le CanadaDes Québécois se sentent «abandonnés» par le Canada (In French)
Israël a réagi très promptement à la catastrophe en envoyant une équipe sur place dès samedi soir. Près de 260 personnes ont suivi, dont des médecins et des infirmiers militaires. L’État hébreu a également entrepris de rapatrier les 26 bébés israéliens nés au Népal de mères porteuses et leurs parents.
http://bit.ly/Quebecoisabandonnes

IDF Constructing Field Hospital in NepalIDF Constructing Field Hospital in Nepal
With IDF search and rescue operations underway in Nepal, a field hospital - Israel's largest - is set to open today.
http://bit.ly/IDFfieldhospital

Promoting from Within or Hiring from Outside: What is Best for the Nonprofit? Promoting from Within or Hiring from Outside: What is Best for the Nonprofit?
Organizations in the process of engaging new management or supervisory staff members often face a dilemma as whether to promote from within the organization or to bring in someone new from the outside. This is not a simple issue.
http://bit.ly/Nonprofitpromotion

Ezekiel Hart - Juifs canadiens Canadian JewsLes Juifs canadiens : un long combat pour l'égalité (In French)
Lorsque Ezekiel Hart, fils d'un immigrant juif prospère de Trois-Rivières, remporte les élections au Parlement du Bas-Canada en 1807, le scandale éclate. C'est le début d'une longue lutte pour faire reconnaître les droits des Juifs au Canada.
http://bit.ly/juifscanadien

The new Jewish exodus: Canada seen as safe haven for French Jews in wake of anti-Semitic attacksThe new Jewish exodus: Canada seen as safe haven for French Jews in wake of anti-Semitic attacks
Federation CJA has recently created a task force in response to a steep increase in requests for information from French Jews interested in moving to Canada.
http://bit.ly/jewishexodus

Manny BatshawRevered community leader Batshaw turns 100
The years from 1968 to ’80, when Batshaw was at the helm of AJCS, were a transformative period for the Montreal community. Nine agencies were gathered under one umbrella, Cummings House was built, Jewish Family Services was created, the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre opened, women took on leadership roles and the funds raised through Combined Jewish Appeal tripled.
http://bit.ly/batshaw100

24 Jews who are changing the world CanadaClip spotlights 101 Israelis, 101 ages
A pair of Dutch filmmakers released a Israeli man-on-the-street clip with a twist: rather than interviews, the video features 101 Israelis, from babes to a centenarian, simply reciting their ages in front of the camera — and offering a portrait of Israeli society in all of its diversity.
http://bit.ly/101israelis

 

Jewish groups raise money for Nepal quake reliefJewish groups raise money for Nepal quake relief
Although they’re halfway across the world, Canadian Jewish organizations are collecting money to help the hundreds of thousands of people suffering in Nepal due to the worst natural disaster the region has seen in 80 years.
http://bit.ly/Jewishgroups
Des Québécois se sentent «abandonnés» par le CanadaDes Québécois se sentent «abandonnés» par le Canada (In French)
Israël a réagi très promptement à la catastrophe en envoyant une équipe sur place dès samedi soir. Près de 260 personnes ont suivi, dont des médecins et des infirmiers militaires. L’État hébreu a également entrepris de rapatrier les 26 bébés israéliens nés au Népal de mères porteuses et leurs parents.
http://bit.ly/Quebecoisabandonnes
IDF Constructing Field Hospital in NepalIDF Constructing Field Hospital in Nepal
With IDF search and rescue operations underway in Nepal, a field hospital - Israel's largest - is set to open today.
http://bit.ly/IDFfieldhospital
Promoting from Within or Hiring from Outside: What is Best for the Nonprofit? Promoting from Within or Hiring from Outside: What is Best for the Nonprofit?
Organizations in the process of engaging new management or supervisory staff members often face a dilemma as whether to promote from within the organization or to bring in someone new from the outside. This is not a simple issue.
http://bit.ly/Nonprofitpromotion
Ezekiel Hart - Juifs canadiens Canadian JewsLes Juifs canadiens : un long combat pour l'égalité (In French)
Lorsque Ezekiel Hart, fils d'un immigrant juif prospère de Trois-Rivières, remporte les élections au Parlement du Bas-Canada en 1807, le scandale éclate. C'est le début d'une longue lutte pour faire reconnaître les droits des Juifs au Canada.
http://bit.ly/juifscanadien
The new Jewish exodus: Canada seen as safe haven for French Jews in wake of anti-Semitic attacksThe new Jewish exodus: Canada seen as safe haven for French Jews in wake of anti-Semitic attacks
Federation CJA has recently created a task force in response to a steep increase in requests for information from French Jews interested in moving to Canada.
http://bit.ly/jewishexodus
Manny BatshawRevered community leader Batshaw turns 100
The years from 1968 to ’80, when Batshaw was at the helm of AJCS, were a transformative period for the Montreal community. Nine agencies were gathered under one umbrella, Cummings House was built, Jewish Family Services was created, the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre opened, women took on leadership roles and the funds raised through Combined Jewish Appeal tripled.
http://bit.ly/batshaw100
24 Jews who are changing the world CanadaClip spotlights 101 Israelis, 101 ages
A pair of Dutch filmmakers released a Israeli man-on-the-street clip with a twist: rather than interviews, the video features 101 Israelis, from babes to a centenarian, simply reciting their ages in front of the camera — and offering a portrait of Israeli society in all of its diversity.
http://bit.ly/101israelis

 

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