December challenge grant adds $350k to 2010 Community Campaign

JFed Assistant Executive V.P., Director of Development. Photograph by Kristi Foster.

In just under one month, Jewish Federation’s Challenge Grant has resulted in $350,000 in new and increased donations to the 2010 Jewish Community Campaign.  More than 400 donors have responded to the challenge posed by 21 St. Louis families, all of whom had already made increased annual campaign commitments.  Their $150,000 grant matched donations from new donors – dollar for dollar – and matched any increase in donations from current donors who are willing to do more for our community in these difficult times.

With only days left to raise funds, the 2010 Community Campaign is at $9.2 million.  In 2009, the campaign raised $10.24 million.  Despite the drop, Federation is still hopeful. “At this point, we are focused on attaining at least a $10 million campaign. That means there is little more than a week left to bring in critical funds needed to support dozens of critical Jewish community agencies, programs and services,” said Barry Rosenberg, Federation executive vice president.  “We know this is possible, because the last week of the year always brings in a large volume of activity. But to reach $10 million will still require many additional and increased gifts.”

Federation Community Campaign donations support a local and worldwide family of human and social service agencies, programs and services. Rosenberg says the economy continues to impact on both campaign giving and current needs.   “There are three compelling issues that demand our community’s response: a shaky economy and high employment mean more people are turning to our agencies for help; we must invest in our next generation with more formal and informal Jewish education and activities such as camping, Israel travel and youth groups that promote Jewish identity and a vibrant Jewish community, and growing threats against Israel and Jews worldwide require us to maintain a high level of advocacy and public education.”

Ruth Lederman, Jewish Federation assistant executive vice president and development director, is grateful that “People have been so responsive to the matching gift Challenge Grant fund. This is definitely a tribute to our caring and compassionate community during these tough times.” But she stressed the importance of exceeding $10 million mark in making a profound difference in the number of people the community can serve. Jewish Federation’s Annual Community Campaign provides funding to more than 40 local, national and international Jewish agencies, programs and services.

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“It’s Jewish Federation, working behind the scenes to raise donations, that helps fund your child’s day care or camp program at the JCC, your mother’s low-income housing at Covenant/CHAI, your teen’s counseling at JF&CS and your college student’s Israel trips. We don’t want to be in a position of asking: ‘Who do we help?’ That’s the kind of choice we know our community does not want to face. That’s why we still need everyone’s help,” said Lederman.

In an effort to reach the $10 million mark, Jewish Federation is asking the community for additional support.  Says Lederman, “We ask current donors to consider making an additional last-minute 2010 gift.”  If you have not yet donated, please consider increasing your gift by at least ten-percent. And if you know someone who hasn’t contributed to the campaign, please consider asking them to help.”

To support the 2010 campaign, 
make donations by midnight, Dec. 31.  

Donate online at or call 314-432-0020 and ask for the Development Department.

Information provided by Jewish Federation of St. Louis.