2015-10-28 / Columns

We can build our future together—turning dreams into reality

FEDERATION PRESIDENT’S CORNER
VICKI ZELL
Federation President

We are building our future. That is how we began our Federation journey together just one year ago. As I often say, I believe when all of us work together our vision becomes reality. And what a reality we have created together this past year!

We gave. We revived The Event for Men and had a series of Women’s Philanthropy events, engaging donors at all giving levels and creating a welcoming pathway to give Jewishly. We met with our donors at the Florida Reunion in collaboration with the Jewish Community Foundation. And, we broke the Super Sunday record this year, raising over $1-million!

We convened. We celebrated the grand opening of our new building at 1721 Springdale Road. We collaborated with the member organizations of our Presidents Council; resulting in savings across the community through shared contracts for landscaping, snow removal, parking lot repairs, and more. We established the Day School Task Force to promote Jewish day school education, sharing ideas and best practices. We coordinated a Special Needs Coalition. And just this month, we hosted our first community-wide Marketing Boot Camp for synagogue leaders and staff.

We planned for the future. We completed our strategic plan, immediately acting on the recommendations. We started a new initiative, in partnership with JEVS and JFCS and with funding from the Saltzman Foundation, to provide college preparatory services to high school students and job search resources to the unemployed, underemployed, and those seeking a career change. We convened our Agency Presidents and Executive Directors, sharing new approaches and opportunities to plan and work together as one functional system. We established the Burlington County Task Force—comprised solely of Burlington County residents— resulting in new programs and collaboration throughout our Federation system.

We supported Israel and Jews around the world. We convened members of the Israel and Overseas Committees from Delaware and Atlantic County, discussing potential synergies. We brought in expert speakers from our partner agencies— JAFI and JDC—to further educate our community.

We developed leaders. We hosted the first-ever Young Adult Division Yad b’Yad Volunteer Award Celebration, recognizing young leaders throughout all of the Jewish organizations in our community. We made sure graduates from our Federation Leadership Institute were placed on boards throughout our family of agencies.

And this year, our board took a momentous, historic vote to proceed with the next steps in our vision for the property at 1721 Springdale Road.

This is just a taste of what can be accomplished when Federation takes the leadership role and dreams of new approaches to engaging and building our community. This— and so much more—was achieved by an army of volunteers, lay leaders, and staff.

And we still have more to achieve in the coming year: Taking the next steps for our property at 1721 Springdale Road, initiating the Gloucester County Task Force, continuing our work with the day schools, stewarding our generous donors more effectively, going live with our new donor database in the next month, developing a continuum of training for lay leaders throughout the Jewish Federation and our community, welcoming and engaging even more members of our community— people of all ages and interests— and inspiring them to be part of Jewish life, and our most critical goal of all—exploring and implementing creative new approaches to raising the necessary funds to accomplish our mission.

We are one Jewish community and we are stronger when we work together. Thank you to our volunteers, lay leaders, and staff for their tireless efforts in all that we do. Welcome to our new board members and congratulations to Glenn Fuhrman on becoming President-Elect for the Jewish Federation. We are all Federation, and together we are building our future.  jfedpres@jfedsnj.org

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