Federation holds safely distanced drive-in fundraiser
The Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas (JFGD) held its annual Pacesetter Event Thursday, Oct. 29. It was an event like no other in a year like no other — when the needs of our community have never been greater. Though the Federation’s top donors typically gather in a ballroom or museum downtown, the ongoing pandemic required something different this year. Thanks to real ingenuity and tenacity, the Federation, in partnership with creative leaders, pulled off the organization’s first-ever “drive-in fundraiser in the parking lot” on the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center Campus at 7900 Northaven Road in Dallas.
Opening with a live performance from the popular Windy City Chicago Tribute Band, including major donors David Judson, Jim Rosenthal and Bob Rosen, the evening’s program streamed on two giant LED screens towering over the west end of the parking lot. The show featured moving stories of giving, followed by an insightful exploration of the impact of the Abraham Accords on Jewish life in the Middle East with Eric Fingerhut, JFNA president & CEO, and Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, chief rabbi of the UAE.
“As the convener of the Jewish community for more than a century, the Federation has weathered many challenges, including an EF3 tornado a year ago and the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mariam Shpeen Feist, Federation president and CEO. “But we are still here, and I am in awe of the unwavering commitment, curiosity and creativity of our generous donors and dedicated staff members who made this event such a success.”
Co-chairs Patricia and Howard Kraines, Ray Ann and Mark Leman, and Tracey and Shane Stein concocted the COVID-conscious idea after conferring with several Federations in other states who were considering alternatives to the ubiquitous Zoom meeting. The event thoroughly entertained about 75 attendees as the rain clouds parted just in time for an evening of generosity and joy in being together — but apart. The unique extravaganza also generated results, helping the Federation raise more than $1 million toward its $10.5 million annual community campaign goal.
“I was thrilled to be with so many people who consider their giving to the Federation as essential to who they are — and to what we can accomplish in our Jewish community,” said Cindy Sweet Moskowitz, board member, Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) chair and Pacesetter. “It was a wonderful evening outside together in an environment that was safe, fun, and beautifully orchestrated.”
The Pacesetter Event is Federation’s annual fundraiser for donors who give $12,000 or more annually in support of the essential organizations that touch the lives of countless members of our Jewish community in Dallas, Israel and around the world. As philanthropic leaders and visionaries, the Pacesetters provide more than 65% of the Federation’s annual funding, which fuels approximately 75 local, national and global agencies that are changing and saving lives — around the corner and across the globe.