Supporting JFS’ support to the community
By Deb Silverthorn
Jewish Family Service’s Woman to Woman Event, always a person-to-person connection, is more so this year as the biennial fundraiser moves online. Beginning at noon, Friday, April 24, the Woman to Woman virtual luncheon hopes to raise $850,000, of JFS’ $7.6 million annual budget, to ensure its history of serving continues.
“Now, more than ever, our community needs us, and we are here to serve in a way that keeps everyone safe and healthy,” said JFS CEO Cathy Barker, who — like the rest of the JFS team — is working from home. Barker is working on grants and other fundraising leads, recouping lost funds such as those from JFS’ Resale Shop, which likely would have raised $120,000 between February and May, but remains closed.
COVID-19 may have JFS’ staff, volunteers and clients indoors and apart, but only in body because the work, support, friendships and concern go on by phone, video-conferencing and other means. Food Pantry clients are receiving gift cards, redirection to other pantries, and other deliveries.
The promotion and provision of lifelong self-sufficiency and well-being for anyone in need, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or ability to pay, is at JFS’ core. Natural crises don’t close the doors of JFS, it has just moved where those doors are and how they are accessed.
Woman to Woman is chaired by Julie Gothard, Nicole Post and Melanie Rubin; honorary chairs are Linda Garner and Ethel Silvergold Zale. With Julianna Margulies, originally set as its guest speaker no longer appearing, the planning team flipped the switch in this season of social distancing.
“I’m in awe, but not surprised, at the help for our regular clients and those now finding themselves in need,” said JFS Lifetime Trustee Zale, who founded the event, holding its premiere in her backyard in 2004. “The need for fundraising is even more critical today and the silver lining is that anyone, at any level, can now participate. Every dollar matters.”
“We miss being together in person and connecting that way,” said Barker “but we have accepted the challenge and I believe people will answer the call.”
Turning the event, originally set for the Omni Hotel, in the past with 1000-plus guests, into an online program was a quick, but necessary, turnabout. The team is in full swing to ensure a successful afternoon.
“We’re hoping now that everyone will stop and lunch with us, virtually. Working women and men, teens and seniors – many who might not have joined us in person, to come together for all the good that JFS does every day,” said Gothard. “Raindrops fill barrels and the breadth of services that JFS provides means there’s many barrels we need to fill. We’re hoping for lots of raindrops.”
On JFS’ Facebook page, Jewish Family Service, Dallas, a welcome and agency video will be followed by Barker’s
state-of-the-organization report. At 12:30 p.m. there will be a live raffle drawing. For those unable to view on Facebook, upon request the videos can be emailed and raffle winners do not need to be online.
The raffle tickets are on sale now for $36 each, or five for $150. Prizes include vacations, shopping, sports, relaxation and family experiences. Rather than tickets going into a broad registry, participants can choose which prize grouping they want to share.
The event is also hosting a digital wine pull, with every participant a winner. Virtual corks are for sale, $36 each, with prize bottles valued at between $25 and $250.
Because the event is now online, with no hotel, catering or celebrity costs, 100-percent of all donations are tax-deductible, the full amounts going directly to JFS. Organizers are hoping because the “door” is now open wider, via the online event, that those wanting to give any amount at all will do so.
“This is our largest opportunity as an agency to raise the most critical, unrestricted, funds,” said Barker. “Our team, defines us and despite the additional odds, we will, we can, succeed.”
JFS — here for anyone in need, be it online, virtual, tele-this or tele-that — always #someonetoleanon.
For additional information visit jfsdallas.givesmart.com, or call 469-206-1690.