Federation campaign hits $11M


The Jewish Federation of St. Louis announced last month that it raised a record $11.03 million during its 2007 annual campaign. Overall fundraising, including the annual campaign, endowments and other gifts totaled $26.3 million.

In 2002, the Federation’s campaign brought in $10,032,00. By 2006, the annual campaign raised $10,815,000, and the 2007 annual campaign had an increase of $218,000, according to figures from Ruth Lederman, Jewish Federation’s assistant executive vice president and director of development.

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This is the fifth year in a row that the annual campaign has hit record numbers. However, the $11,033,935 was just short of the campaign’s goal of raising $11.15 million.

Lederman said that while the Federation will be conducting “an in-depth analysis” of the reasons the campaign did not meet its goal, she stressed that this year’s tally shows that the consistent growth of the annual campaign is continuing.

“I think it is no small achievement that we exceeded $11 million, and that it has been the fifth year of consecutive growth for the annual campaign,” Lederman said.

The $26.3 million total is made up of the $11.03 million from the annual campaign, close to $14 million in additions to existing endowments and new endowments, and $1 million in fundraising for special projects, Lederman said.

In overall fundraising, Lederman said the $26.3 million was a decline from last year’s $31 million taken in, but she noted that close to $5 million of the 2006 total was raised for the Israel Emergency Campaign. Taking away the emergency campaign total, the Federation raised $25.9 million in 2006, Lederman said.

Lederman praised “the outstanding campaign leadership for 2007, which included Bill Miller, who served his second consecutive year as vice president/campaign; Sherri Frank Weintrop, assistant campaign chair and Ken Kranzberg, who chaired the Jewish Community Foundation. Our leadership and the many volunteers who worked on the campaign stayed consistently on message, effectively highlighting the needs of the Jewish community.”

Barry Rosenberg, executive vice president of the Jewish Federation wrote in “The Update,” his regular message to the community, that the annual campaign’s increase this year was a welcome sign of support for the Federation’s mission.

“We believe this reflects community confidence in the Federation mission and appreciation for the incredible impact and importance of the work achieved by Federation’s agencies,” he said.

Rosenberg thanked the “campaign closing team” that included Heschel Raskas, Sheila Greenbaum, Lynne Palan and Harvey Wallace, and noted that with “one big boost came from a well-attended phoning session, chaired and hosted by Ian and Heidi Silberman with the extra incentive of a generous dollar-for-dollar matching gift from Michael Staenberg, the team raised $61,000 that evening.”

Rosenberg and Lederman both stressed that the campaign total was just one part of the overall fundraising strategy. Rosenberg pointed out, “2007 was our strongest year in new endowment growth, with 29 new gifts made to the Jewish Community Foundation,” he said, adding, “Our endowment efforts, including the launch of JCF were led by Ken Kranzberg. As a result of our strategic plan, the Foundation is positioned to work with donors and all local Jewish organizations to structure planned and deferred gifts. Many agencies have already pooled their endowments with JCF and other organizations, including congregations, and are inquiring about working with us.”

Lederman said the Jewish Community Foundation, working with agencies “can help match an individual donors interests or passions and their willingness to donate with projects that reflect those passions or interests. We have made a good start on this approach and look forward to growing this concept in the future.”

Lederman said that the Jewish Federation “has made every possible effort to thank each and every one of our donors. A gift of $18 is just as respected and valued as a gift of $360,000.”

Volunteers from the Naturally Occurring Retirement Community neighborhood made follow-up calls to each donor, thanking them for their gifts, along with a letter of appreciation, she said.

“We were also pleased by the turnouts at our various events during the campaign, including the 400 who attended our Young Professionals Division Kickoff; 350 who attended the Women’s Connection event, and the creation of a new Montefiore Society to involve accountants and financial professionals, along with the doctors involved in our Maimonides Society and attorneys in our Cardozo Society.”

A communitywide thank-you event has been planned for Oct. 12, 2008 at the Blanche Touhill Performing Arts Center on the campus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis, featuring entertainer Neil Sedaka.

Lederman said that the campaign leadership hopes to “develop new models of engagement for younger members of the community who have not been attracted by the traditonal models of activity. We are looking to create new ways of involvement that recognize and respect the desire on the part of many younger members of the community for a more individualistic and targeted approach to involvement.”