[by Stew Bromberg, Vice President and CDO, Jewish Federation of Louisville]
Fall is my favorite season of the year. Being from New England this always signaled the beginning of painted mountainsides best viewed during long weekend drives throughout New England, stopping along the way to pick fresh apples and sip on mulled apple cider at the many roadside farms, orchards and country stores along the way. Louisville may not be in New England, but my heart is here as I view the beauty around me and feel the crisp fall air as I watch the seasons change.
This is also the beginning our annual Federation campaign season. The 2014 Campaign has begun and promises to be strong. Our first event, Happy Days are Here Again, was held at the JCC on October 6. The event was a time to reminisce, renew old friendships, tell stories and jokes and find pictures of each other from years ago. The event was a success, not only because everyone had a wonderful time, but we also raised $163,175 for the 2014 Federation Campaign. Wow! What an incredible way to start the campaign this year!
On October 17 we had the official Campaign kick-off with keynote speaker Rae Ringel, who talked to us about how to be effective communicators and provided some time-tested tips on how to inspire others to action with our newly acquired communication skills.
We raised another $30,000 that evening and with other pledges that have come in we are currently at $210,748! This is a great place to be only 2-1/2 weeks into the campaign, but we still have a long road ahead of us. We have many events coming up over the next few weeks and months, each one an important piece of the puzzle that makes our campaign a success for the community.
As we enter the Campaign season, I wish to clarify something very important. As stewards of the community funds raised to provide services and programs for this Jewish community, it is important to explain how we have the funds for the myriad of great events we present each year.
Our first event, mentioned above, had almost no cost as we held the event at the Jewish Community Center and prepared the refreshments downstairs in our Kosher kitchen. The decorations consisted of pictures and storyboards from Community newspaper, JCC and Jewish community archives located in the basement of the JCC building.
When we do bring in speakers who charge ‘speaker fees,’ those expenses are paid out of a restricted fund established by a community donor who instructed us to use the income generated from earned interest to provide interesting speakers for our community and encourage event participation.
There are limited funds and we always stay within the amount available each year. Some of our major event speakers have not only agreed to waive any fees, but some have also chosen to provide their own transportation to our community as a gift from them to the Louisville Jewish community. This often results in funds remaining available for other speakers at other events or for next year’s programs.
Over the past two years, the spaces where we have held our events have either been provided by our sponsors and hosts of the events, or the amount required to rent the spaces have been very small. For example, the space for this year’s Major Gifts event is being provided for a fee of $350.
Whenever we have an event where there is a cost involved, we always ask our attendees to help us defray our expenses and include a suggested donation and the fair market value of their event participation on the invitation and in all communications promoting the event. In this way, we cover all or most of our costs for each event.
We are charged with the responsibility of raising the funds necessary to provide our constituent agencies and the Jewish community the dollars necessary to continue to offer the services and programs the community needs, wants and deserves. We take this responsibility very seriously and, as stewards of the community funds, we strive to raise the dollars needed while incurring the least amount of expense in the process.
We encourage you to join us for the many events coming up over the next few months. Our goal is to exceed your expectations with regards to reporting and providing a financially sound and transparent campaign. Our expectation is to raise more funds this year and next year as we continue to build our future together.
Thank you for your ongoing support as together we do extraordinary things.