Federation annual campaign raises nearly $12 million

By James Russell
Special to the TJP

The Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas recently announced the results of the 2018 Annual Campaign, which raised almost $12 million for Jewish organizations.
Campaign leaders also celebrated the second year of a record-breaking $10 million in unrestricted gifts. Of that, $8 million was spread among 74 partner agencies and initiatives benefiting the Dallas Jewish community, as well as Israeli and overseas partner agencies, said Sarah Golman, the Jewish Federation’s director of global and local impact and allocations.
A total of 5,362 donors raised $11,425,762. Of that, $388,000 came from 970 new donors, giving campaign and Federation leadership a lot more dollars to allocate. The increase in unrestricted gifts means more dollars for core allocations to partner agencies, and funding opportunities for new programs and initiatives.
This year also marked a change in the Jewish Federation’s grant-making program. Instead of multiple pathways with various restrictions as in years past, organizations applied for long- and short-term grants. The new structure replaced the grants formerly divided as Community Impact and Outreach and Engagement grants.
Restructuring the grant program was a goal of outgoing Planning and Allocations Committee Chair Stefani Eisenstat.
“We went to the community and asked about their unmet needs,” she said. “The two grants were a compromise between the demanding needs of partner agencies, and opportunities for external agencies to apply for funds.”
The short-term grants are seed funding for new programs for any partner agency, as well as any nonprofit Jewish organization serving Dallas. Organizations can request up to $20,000 per grant. The long-term grants help partner agencies expand programs and meet existing needs for up to three years.
Any nonprofit Jewish organization benefiting the Dallas Jewish community may apply for these grants, even if it is housed outside city boundaries. For instance, Chabad at University of Texas at Austin applied for and received $10,000 toward its JGrads and JTribe programs. It qualifies because Dallas residents attend the state university 200 miles away.
Other short-term grant recipients include the statewide, Dallas-based Texas Jewish Arts Association. Founded in 2013 and run by artists, it received a $15,000 grant for The Sukkah Project: Dwell in Design, a design competition exploring various interpretations of the sukkah.
The annual campaign disperses funds primarily to its core support partner agencies, which help agencies meet operational and programming needs.
The Aaron Family Jewish Community Center was this year’s largest recipient, with combined allocations of $933,000. Other allocations include $866,000 to Jewish Family Service; a combined $1,107,000 to the six area Jewish day and high schools: Akiba Academy, Ann & Nate Levine Academy, Mesorah High School for Girls, Texas Torah Institute, Torah Day School of Dallas and Yavneh Academy; and $349,999 to Legacy Senior Communities.
Overseas recipients include $980,000 to the Jewish Agency for Israel and $513,000 to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Overseas donations totaled $2 million.
A.J. Rosmarin, who chaired the campaign and is the Jewish Federation’s chair-elect, explained the breakdown of donors.
Donors to the campaign include the Pacesetters or those who give $12,000 or more each year; the general campaign donors who give $500-$11,999 each year; and the community donors, who give $499 or less each year.
He is especially excited about the new short-term grants.
“We wanted to spread beyond partner agencies because we have more of an impact,” he said. “And the organizations were excited.”
The Jewish Federation was also proud of the Jewish Federations of North America’s nationwide effort of raising $27 million for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Locally, the Jewish Federation collaborated with the American Jewish Committee of Dallas, the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center, Jewish Family Service and Dallas Kosher, among others, to collect supplies to send to the region impacted by the hurricane, which devastated the Texas coast more than a year ago.
Young donors were a key part of the Hurricane Harvey effort and spearheaded by Dallas’ contingent of the Jewish Federation of North America’s Young Leadership Cabinet. Like other nonprofits dependent upon donations, the Jewish Federation wants to inspire young donors to give.
According to the Case Foundation’s annual Millennial Impact Report, more than half of young people born from 1980-2000 are interested in giving to organizations. And another study from the fundraising firm Blackbaud revealed millennials are less likely to give cash donations than older generations. But the report also concluded the giving gap is because they are less financially secure.
“Everybody is focused on cultivating under-40 donors to put them on the path to giving,” Rosmarin said.
He has another year to cultivate them. Along with serving as the organization’s incoming board chair, he is chairing this year’s fundraising campaign too.
“Everyone should feel good,” Jewish Federation Board Chair Mark Kreditor said. “Thanks to the campaign, we are so joyously excited to allocate funds, including to organizations who have never received funds before.”

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