“Live Generously” was the theme of the evening at the Jewish Federation’s 105th Annual Meeting, held May 24 at the Federation’s Kopolow Building.
Barry Rosenberg, executive vice president of the Federation, presided over the meeting. In his opening remarks, Rosenberg unveiled the Federation’s new strategic plan.
“To address the future effectively, we will have to focus. We will have to insist on efficient outcomes. We will have to challenge our community to raise more funds,” Rosenberg said. “And we have started down this road.”
Rabbi Mark Fasman of Congregation Shaare Zedek led the invocation. Past Federation President Harvey Harris conducted the elections for the 2006-2007 board. While Heschel Raskas will continue to serve the second year of his two-year term as president, 11 other officers and 16 at-large directors were voted in.
In his presidential address, Raskas described how the Federation has made noteworthy strides towards realizing three major objectives: fundraising, Federation governance and a restructuring of planning and allocations. In a year full of change, Raskas noted that while such adjustment can be difficult, it is a necessary step in ensuring the efficacy of the Federation.
“We know it will take a while for people to get used to the new structure and process, but we believe the transition will be worth it for all of us,” Raskas said. “At the same time, we remain sensitive to the stability and capability of our outstanding agencies while we implement these changes. In all that we do, building trust in the community is an imperative.”
In terms of fundraising, 2005 proved to be a breakthrough year. Total Federation fund raising totaled approximately $23 million, $10.6 million of which came directly from the annual campaign. More than 8,000 donors contributed to these funds.
Chancellor Mark Wrighton of Washington University delivered the evening’s keynote address. Wrighton previously held positions as provost and professor of chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before coming to Washington University in 1995. Holder of 14 patents and author of over 300 scholarly articles, he is also a presidential appointee to the National Science Board and a member of the primary advisory board of the National Science Foundation.
This past January, Wrighton conducted a seven-day fact-finding mission in Israel. St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, Washington University School of Arts and Sciences Dean Edward Macias and the Federation’s own Barry Rosenberg were part of the 25-member delegation. In Israel, Wrighton and his team visited Israel’s top academic establishments in an effort to learn more about Israel’s higher education system and to begin to forge key partnerships with institutions such as the Technion and Hebrew University. Wrighton will return to Israel next month, continuing his quest to develop “strategic relationships rewarding to Wash. U., St. Louis and Israel.”
In the closing of his introductory remarks, Rosenberg reflected on the past year and on the group’s goals.
“We at the Federation are proud to be an integral part of the amazing story of American Jewish service,” Rosenberg said. “It’s been a good year — one of transition to a new plan, building momentum and solid accomplishment.”