2017-05-10 / Voice at the Shore

Caring about community is main focus for Federation’s new Campaign chairs

By ELLEN WEISMAN STRENGER
Voice shore editor


New Federation Campaign chairs Sondra Dublinsky and Isadore May. New Federation Campaign chairs Sondra Dublinsky and Isadore May. “Connect for Community” is the theme for the local Jewish Federation’s Annual campaign this year. What, exactly, does that mean?

“It means establishing relationships that are not just based on financial contribution, reaching out to people all through the year,” said Sondra Dublinsky, a co-chair for this year’s Annual Campaign.

She and Campaign co-chair Isadore May hope to transform the way people think of Federation and their relationship with it. The two campaign chairs, as well as Federation Executive Director Kirk Wisemayer, would like people to become involved in Federation by attending community events and—yes— making contributions— of any size. Why?

Mainly to connect. “People have a need for connection—with their partner, their families, and also with the community, nation and world,” said Wisemayer.

Federation offers this. It holds programs that give Jewish community members meaningful opportunities to connect with one another, such as community-wide celebrations for Yom Ha’atzmaut, Purim, Hanukah, and other Jewish holidays, as well as missions to Israel and elsewhere that create friendships that last a lifetime.

Yet most importantly, Federation connects people with their Jewish values and to the larger Jewish community through its mission of chesed (loving kindness), tzedakah (charity), and tikkun olam (repairing the world). The Federation’s annual campaign amasses community dollars that are then distributed where they are most needed.

“It’s important to be part of this,” said Dublinsky, a social worker who has served on the Federation’s board for the past 5 years. “I see where the funds are going, to affiliate agencies that deserve them [like Jewish Family Service, the JCC, the Board of Jewish Education and Beron-Jewish Older Adult Services], and to Israel.”

The new campaign chairs, who are long-time friends, are both passionate in their commitment to Federation’s mission and eager to find creative ways to both reach out to people and raise funds. “They have great energy, think outside of the box and are willing to take risks—and they’re fun to hang out with!” said Wisemayer. “If they bring the same energy to the campaign as they do to everything else they do, Federation will benefit.”

The two are already working on some unique approaches to fundraising, such as reaching out to businesses for donations. That idea has already been successfully put to the test with Federation’s “Celebrate Community Initiative,” which they spearheaded, in which Federation has begun to seek out local businesses to sponsor Federation events such as the Purim and Yom Ha’atzmaut celebrations. Likewise, May and Dublinsky plan to look outside of the Jewish community for individuals and institutions looking to support Israel as well as Federations’ charitable efforts.

Campaign events will likely reflect the “Connect for Community” theme as well. “Stay tuned,” said May. “We are planning some exciting new events.” 

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