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Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver

June 24, 2016 | 18 Sivan 5776 | Shabbat Candlelighting at 9:03 p.m.

This message has 928 words and will take about 4 minutes to read.

In a busy week that began with the joyful bris of Ezra and Rachel’s twin sons, Elie and Matan, and continued with our AGM and some exciting news about our Federation, I’m happy to be bringing you the highlights of what is happening at Federation in place of Ezra’s usual Shabbat message.

Our Federation is committed to providing the planning and financial resources required to address the needs of our community for the long term. To that end, we have developed a set of strategic priorities that will guide our work through the year 2020 and beyond. This is one of the most important undertakings in our Federation’s history. It is the culmination of almost two years of work by our board and staff and includes the input of dozens of community members. I am proud to share it with you today.

I invite you to review our 2020 Strategic Priorities online or visit our office for hard copies of the documents.

Here is an overview of our 2020 Strategic Priorities and the financial resources that are needed to begin to address the challenges facing our community today and those that are just around the corner.

Strategic Investments
Investing in the solutions for areas of need with very broad reach is an important way we will ensure that we continue to have a strong and vibrant community for generations to come. Improving the safety and security of vulnerable Jewish institutions, educating our children and helping our partners address the cost of maintaining stand-alone buildings affects us all and requires the planning resources and stable funding that our partners rely on Federation to provide. Read more.

Closing the Funding Gap
Federation already funds many of the ongoing programs and services provided by our partner agencies on which thousands of community members rely. However, the amount that Federation has been able to provide isn’t enough to meet the actual level of need. On top of that, in a typical year, we receive almost $1.5 million in funding requests for additional programs and services that are needed, but there just isn’t enough to go around. We need to close the gap between what we currently fund and what the needs really are. Read more.

New and Evolving Community Needs
With 46% of community members living outside of Vancouver, a big shift needs to take place in terms of the types of programs and services that are available and how they are delivered. That’s what our new Regional Communities Task Force, co-chaired by Shelley Ail and Marnie Goldberg, has begun to examine. We know that if we can reach out to these community members, we can engage them in community. Read more.

Engaging the Next Generation
The future success of our community depends in large part upon our ability to engage young Jewish adults and help them develop their leadership skills and philanthropic interests. Whether they’re on campus, on the career track, or starting their families, we’re focused on engaging Millennials in ways that are created and led by them. We and our partners are doing great work in this area, but there is so much more that needs to be done if we are to have a long term impact on community continuity. Read more.

Israel and our Partnership Region
We are focused on improving the overall quality of life in our partnership region of the Upper Galilee, and helping residents leapfrog the socioeconomic challenges they face. The keys to success are supporting educational and social services projects that assist at-risk populations to reach their potential, by investing in major economic drivers and through innovative cost-sharing partnerships. We are also committed to bringing Israel to more of our Vancouver community through cultural events. Read more.

Global Jewish Communities in Need
We are a lifeline to many of the 165,000 destitute elderly Jews in the Former Soviet Union (FSU), providing them with medicine, food subsidies and even coal to heat their homes in winter. Many of them are Holocaust survivors hoping to live out their remaining years in some measure of comfort. There are rays of hope in the FSU, too, including young leaders who are committed to building vibrant Jewish communities there, but this requires our support. Read more.

All of this brings me to the increased resources we need to generate if we are to truly move the needle for our community, for our partners and for the thousands of people who rely on the programs and services we support. Our 2020 goals are:

Federation Annual Campaign
Increase the campaign from the 2015 record of $8.3 million to $10 million.

Jewish Community Foundation
Increase assets under management from $46 million to $60 million. The Foundation’s Board of Trustees is deep into the development of a strategic plan to ensure that the Foundation is positioned to meet this goal.

Special Giving Opportunities
In addition to increasing their campaign gifts, some donors wish to invest in areas of special importance and in new and innovative programs. Our 2020 goal is to generate $2 million in special gifts.

We have already taken significant steps to operationalize these priorities, with much more to come in the near future.

Finally, as we embark on our ambitious 2020 Strategic Priorities, we recognize the importance of strong, stable leadership in order to achieve our goals. So, it gives me great pleasure to announce that Ezra Shanken will continue to provide that leadership, as the Federation and Ezra have just concluded a new contract through to the year 2022. We are truly fortunate to have Ezra as our CEO. Please join me in saying kol hakavod to him.

If you have any questions about our 2020 Strategic Priorities, please feel free to contact Ezra or me directly.

Shabbat shalom,

Stephen Gaerber
Board Chair, Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver