Perspectives by Deborah Corber, CEO

Edition 3, January 7, 2015

With Campaign Over, What’s a Girl (or Federation) To Do?

Deborah CorberThe Montreal Jewish Community is renowned throughout the Jewish world as one of the most engaged and generous communities.  Federation’s Combined Jewish Appeal ranks consistently among the top 3 communities in North America in per capita giving.

Our engagement rates are equally impressive.  Out of a population of 90,000 Jews, roughly 16,500 make an annual gift to Combined Jewish Appeal, giving us a “penetration rate” that is the envy of most federations.  To say nothing of the over 1,000 active volunteers and lay leaders who annually contribute countless hours to fundraising, committee and advisory work, leadership development and hands-on volunteering through Tikun Olam Volunteers!

These facts are, rightfully, a source of great pride for our community.

Every fall we focus all our energies, and the considerable efforts of our volunteers, on our annual campaign to raise the funds on which our community depends.  After the campaign draws to a close in November, I am often asked whether things will “quiet down” for us.  I like to turn the question around by asking, have you ever wondered what happens to the funds after they’re raised?

Throughout the year, our planning professionals, supported by volunteer leadership, are busy planning for the future of our community.  They assess our community’s short and long-term needs, analyze continental communal trends, dialogue with our family of agencies to understand their particular objectives, and develop a finely-tuned sense of how the dollars raised can best be allocated for maximum impact.

When the annual campaign closes we know the resources that we have to work with.  Then come the tough decisions about how to use those resources responsibly and responsively.  How do we satisfy the competing demands and expectations of our agencies and other recipient organizations?    How should our allocations be divided among caring for the vulnerable, strengthening Jewish identity, or advocating for our community and for Israel?  How much money should we set aside for contingencies and to cover the wear and tear on our facilities?  What amount do we invest in capacity building and human resource development so that our organizations can stay competitive in an evolving landscape?

Over the next three months Federation CJA professionals and lay leaders will be grappling with these and many other important questions as we develop budget and allocation recommendations for our next fiscal year.  The challenges are big, but the opportunities to do good and meaningful things are even bigger.  And frankly, I can’t think of a better way to enjoy winter in Montreal than to hunker down and plan for brighter (and warmer) days ahead.

I wish you the very best for 2015: may you go from strength to strength and may you continue to remain connected to our amazing Jewish community!


  Of Note

Harper ChanukahPrime Minister Harper in Montreal for Chanukah candle lighting
Prime Minister Stephen Harper came to the Gelber Centre in Snowdon to light the first candle of the festival at an event co-hosted by Federation CJA and Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA).The Prime Minister was accompanied by his wife Laureen and more than 300 members of Montreal’s Jewish community attended.

Birthright Israel FoundationThe Foundation for Success
The core driver to success is having the right people in the right jobs, fueling their passions, giving them the room and resources to do their job, all the while holding them accountable.

Generations FundMontreal Takes Communal Day School Capacity Building to the Next Level
The Montreal community’s Federation CJA Generations Fund has been very successful at augmenting communal capacity building.

Israel - 2014 in photos2014 in photos: The pictures worth 1000 words in Israel
The photographs that captured the essence of 2014 in Israel.

Canada Israel EducationLes 10 pays les plus instruits du monde, Israël en seconde position après le Canada
Voici le classement des pays affichant le plus haut niveau d’éducation supérieur. Il est établi à partir de la plus forte proportion des résidents ayant fait des études universitaires. (Article in French)

AliyahAliyah Figures at Highest in a Decade; France Leads the Way
26,500 new immigrants in 2014 with France leading for first time ever, and Ukraine immigration up by 190%, as aliyah continues to flourish.

BDSThe year BDS became the number one concern for North American Jews
Last academic year, Jewish groups faced the 'most organized campaign to demonize Israel,' says Hillel CEO. In response, Jewish organizations have shifted their strategy.


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