Campaign concludes on hopeful note, but work remains

For as the days of a tree shall be the days of my people. – Isaiah 65:22

Stacy Gordon-Funk

There are many trees being planted in our community with the assistance of the Philanthropy Department and JCL leadership. With nurturing, these trees will bloom, digging roots of permanence and deepening our community’s commitment to a vibrant Jewish life today and tomorrow.

Much of this commitment starts when you make your pledge to the Federation’s Annual Campaign. Thanks to the dedicated leadership of Campaign Chairs, Jane Goldstein and Jon Fleischaker, the Annual 2017 Federation Campaign is coming to a close, translating into over $2 million in financial distributions to organizations here and around the world that need our help.

The campaign held its own this year, thanks, in part, to a generous matching grant from the Jewish Heritage Fund of Excellence, but it has not seen the growth needed to allow us to meet the ever-increasing needs of our organizations. If you have not made your 2017 pledge, please do so soon by contacting Kristy Benefield at (502) 238-2739 or

In the spirit of tikkun olam, the Jewish people are defined by acts of kindness performed to mend the world. This is what we stand for and it’s what I love best about us.

Our community-wide initiative, LIFE & LEGACY, is in full swing, ensuring a sustainable Jewish future (see story, page 7). I just returned from a LIFE & LEGACY conference with our coordinator, Jennifer Tuvlin. We were fortunate to learn and network with over 150 Jewish professionals. The highlight of our visit was a private meeting with Harold Grinspoon and his daughter-in-law, Winnie Sandler Grinspoon. What an honor it was to meet with Harold and to hear his wisdom. He insisted on making us feel like the heroes. Harold is a truemensch, a man of humility and grace. We are grateful for his support. Thanks go to Shelly Gilman and Chris Brice for leading this endeavor locally. We are fortunate that JHFE matched the funds granted by the Grinspoon Foundation.

Funding for a new J is being identified and plans are underway for the campus. If you were not able to attend one of the three recent charrettes, please reach out to me or JCL President & CEO Sara Wagner to share your thoughts.

We have much to be proud of as our community knows the value of what we can accomplish when we unite. We’ve done it before, and today is no different. Now is a time for rebuilding and renewal for us, a time for the strongest of commitments and a deepening of our own roots. We must consider where our Jewish values and financial support will intersect.

Melinda Gates said, “Our friend and co-trustee Warren Buffett once gave us some great advice about philanthropy: ‘Don’t just go for safe projects,’ he said, ‘take on the really tough problems.’”

Thank you for giving your time, treasure and talent. In partnership with you, I look forward to wonderful things ahead for our Jewish community.

(Stacy Gordon-Funk is vice president of philanthropy for the Jewish Federation of Louisville.)

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