2016-06-08 / Columns

Federation allocates your generous gifts with prudence and care

Federation President

This coming weekend, we will celebrate the holiday of Shavuot, the time of the giving of the Torah. It is interesting that we focus on “giving” rather than “receiving” the Torah. Scholars note that while we receive the Torah every day, it was first given at this time—and every year, God “regifts” the Torah to us and we renew our acceptance.

At the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey, we have the privilege and responsibility of both giving and receiving each year. In receiving, we take in the generous gifts of our community members. These funds are then allocated— or gifted—to many organizations, including our own agencies: Jewish Community Center (JCC), Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), Jewish Community Voice (JCV), Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JFCS), and Jewish Community Properties (JCP). The largest allocation of funds is to our Israel and overseas partner agencies to support Jewish populations around the world, as well as the emergency needs of non-Jews, providing food, shelter, health-care, Jewish identity, and, ultimately, dignity.

We have established many processes over the years so that we best steward the dollars with which we have been entrusted. During the current fiscal year, the Federation Finance Committee reviews the ongoing financial activity of the entire system, including at the agency level, to be proactive regarding any potential issues that may be on the horizon. In preparing the budget for the next fiscal year, the Federation and our agency boards determine our priorities for the coming year and determine what funds are needed to achieve our mission. The Federation Planning and Visioning Committee reviews these priorities as well as coordinates requests for funding by our system to the Saltzman Foundation. This year, we added an extra preliminary step of bringing together all of the agency Executive Directors and Presidents to discuss how our priorities intersect and where we can leverage our resources to be fiscally responsible, as well as collaborative in achieving our overall mission.

After detailed budgets are prepared by each agency, the Federation’s Budget and Allocations Committee analyzes the plans, fundraising goals, and vision of the entire system. Again, an additional step will be added this year as we look at every cost category across the entire system to analyze and discuss potential savings and opportunities for working together.

As members of our community, both your directed gifts to the agencies, as well as your donations to the Federation, help determine how we can achieve the individual and unified missions of our family of agencies. And, our support of our family of agencies doesn’t stop at our annual financial allocations. Each agency of the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey receives the benefit of shared staff and services, such as human resources and IT, which support the entire system and eliminate redundancy throughout our system.

Every one of us receives something by being a member of our community. Maybe it was an incredible camp experience, or a parent who lived with dignity in our senior housing, or job coaching for an adult with special needs. Through the services and programs provided by the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey and our family of agencies, may we all continue to give and receive to the best of our ability, and doing the mitzvot given to us in the Torah on Shavuot that make our Jewish community so strong.

Chag sameach!  Jfedpres@jfedsnj.org

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