Week of July 22, 2009

Federation allocations

Thank you for your comprehensive article on the Federation allocation process. I commend you for taking on such a complex subject, one of great import to our community.

New Mt. Sinai Cemetery advertisement

As you report, several of our sister Federations are moving to project based allocations, rather than providing the core, unrestricted support which we (and most other Federations) do. During our strategic planning several years ago, we examined that option carefully.

Our decision to retain core allocations was based on a careful assessment of the needs of our community. Project based systems are much more expensive to manage, requiring more Federation overhead. They force agencies to be constantly developing proposals and subject them to the risk of rapid loss in funding as Federation interests shift. But the central reason for our decision was a belief that, in the long run, great programs and quality services come out of strong, stable, well-managed organizations.

Therefore we want to work with and invest in building the governance, management, planning and operational capacity of our agencies. First we provide training and request compliance with a comprehensive set of best practice standards. Then we provide on-going core funding with a three-year window so (in most years) there is predictability. Finally, our development department works collaboratively with agencies on their own annual, project and endowment fundraising, to help them achieve long range funding stability.

However, our model is actually a hybrid. A significant percentage of our funds are distributed in targeted allocations, aligned with the community’s major priorities. These enable us to also focus funding on the most pressing needs, and support new innovative organizations and services that arise. Many of our agencies receive both core and targeted funds.

Finally, in our model, allocations are intimately linked to planning. With a vision of a inspiring, caring and united Jewish community, we assess and monitor community needs, make core allocations to agencies that effectively and efficiently meet those needs and then target additional funds to programs developed or approved by our three planning commissions. A shining example is the new Elderlink St. Louis, centralized information and referral source, which fills a need identified by our Commission on Senior Service Integration.

Readers who would like additional information are encouraged to contact us.

Barry Rosenberg

Executive Vice President

Jewish Federation of St. Louis

Citygarden’s Jewish roots

In Lois Caplan’s column last week, she talked about the beautiful new Citygarden downtown and the Fischers, who established the Gateway Foundation.

Many individuals and institutions have benefitted from the major civic contributions of Aaron and Teresa (Terry) Fischer, including the Community College District, League of Women Voters, and Missouri Botanical Garden. My association with them was through Citizenship Education Clearing House (CECH), now part of the College of Education, University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Teresa was one of its founders in 1967 and remained an active Board member and force until her passing in 1995. CECH continues to serve Missouri’s youth by promoting their informed involvement in government and community affairs.

The Fischers have had a great impact on my life, personally and professionally. I know that many other St. Louisians feel the same way.

Marvin Beckerman

St. Louis County