Board Chair and CEO’s Message
As we look around the world today, there is plenty of evidence of countries, regions and communities suffering from severe economic distress. Looking at our own situation, four and a half years into a period of serious economic upheaval, it would be easy to rationalize a downward spiral of our Jewish communal enterprise. Thankfully, our story here has been one of stability. That is not to say that our community and its institutions haven’t been under significant pressure – they all have. But on balance, our overall picture is one of stable health, and even significant progress on some fronts.
Increasingly, we hear from our beneficiary agencies that stable funding from Jewish Federation has become the one constant they have been able to count on in this challenging period. The fact that we’ve been able to maintain that stability in the face of major community capital campaigns that have raised more than $34 million in the past 18 months is an extraordinary testament to the generosity of our community, and our donors’ understanding of the importance of continuing to stay the course with our most basic communal responsibilities.
Stability hasn’t meant stagnation. Even in a period of scarce resources we have found ways to bring new initiatives forward, including resources to address the needs of youth-at-risk, and the launch of a new young adult program – Axis – that is making its presence known just now.
In the weeks and months to come we will have more data from the Canadian national census that will tell us more about who comprises our community today. We will be working with our partner agencies and other organizations to analyze that data to guide the picture of our needs and responses into the future. And, our new education task force is currently undertaking the first comprehensive study of formal and informal Jewish education in 15 years, with a goal of developing a new framework for Jewish education in approximately one year.
Balancing stability and continuity with change and growth is core to the community leadership role of Jewish Federation. With your support, we look forward to continuing that balancing act for many years to come.
Chief Executive Officer