2018-03-14 / Columns

Learn how our community innovates way beyond its size

Federation President

As Federation president, I am so proud that our Jewish Federation continues to pave the way with innovative programming and funding mechanisms. What we are achieving here in South Jersey is groundbreaking for any Federation, let alone one of our size. In the Federation “world,” we are considered a midsize Federation, but our level of programming, fundraising, and community engagement is on par with those in the large-size category. This accomplishment is no small feat and we should all take great pride in that fact.

On Tuesday, May 1, our Jewish community will dive back into the water as we present our second “Community Shark Tank.” This year will see five new proposed projects— each and every one an innovative idea presented by local community members. We are delighted that these proposals came from our day schools, early childhood centers, synagogues, and our Federation family of agencies. The Sharks are all local community members who once more have committed their philanthropic dollars to this program and who will ultimately decide which projects merit funding. New this year is the addition of “Junior Shark Tank.” We are very excited to have local teens join in this initiative. These teens will be presenting projects that they are passionate about, many of which started as B’nai Mitzvah tzedakah projects. The Sharks will be other teens who get to decide which projects to fund.

If you want to join the fun, there is still an opportunity to be a Shark for either the adult or junior program. If you wish to be part of this transformative process, please email Ronit Boyd at rboyd@jfedsnj.org. Remember to save the date for our live voting event on May 1. Join us at the presentation and watch the Sharks select those projects that they believe provide the most innovative and collaborative new programming for our community. More details coming soon!

In addition to funding via Community Shark Tank and Junior Shark Tank, we have grant programs in place thanks to the Jewish Community Foundation, Inc. and the Jewish Women’s Foundation, as well as financial aid for those in need of assistance in Jewish early childhood, Jewish overnight camp, and/or teen Israel experiences. Visit jewishsouthjersey.org for more information on those programs.

We also launched a brand-new web series this month through the Jewish Abilities Alliance. This is an interactive video series with live Q&A in the comment section. Local experts will be providing important and timely information about navigating special needs resources. We are excited to offer members of our community the opportunity to learn from the experts in this field, all from the comfort of their own home. If you missed the first video, you can still watch it by joining the Special Needs Coalition of Southern NJ Facebook group.

I truly believe that our Jewish Federation is the epicenter of our South Jersey Jewish community, bringing the services and programs demanded and needed so that ours remains a vibrant and thriving community. Learn more at jewishsouthjersey.org and take advantage of all we provide.


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