What inspires you?

For generations, Jewish communities across North America have been raising funds through their annual Federation campaigns. Those funds are distributed to constituent agencies throughout the community that provide services, programs and support to individuals, families and groups working to improve life for all.

Here in Louisville, early efforts to raise funds within the Jewish community began around 1922-1923 with a movement to raise funds for a Jewish War Relief Fund with a goal of $150,000 for Kentucky. Louis Cohen directed this initiative.

February of 1934 saw the creation of the Louisville Conference of Jewish Organizations, and Charles W. Morris was elected chairman of the organization. The Conference goal was to organize one campaign to raise funds each year to benefit local affiliated agencies as well as many national Jewish groups.

Many successful campaigns throughout the years have raised great sums to provide services and programs, as well as to answer the call of special circumstances throughout the world, and to support the Louisville Jewish and greater community. In 1967, after the eruption of the six-day war in May, the Louisville Federation Annual Campaign surpassed the $1,000,000 mark and after the Yom Kippur War in October of 1973, members of the Louisville Jewish community broke all records with a Campaign that raised $2,000,000.

Louisville has changed as a community over the years and so has the Louisville Jewish community. Many of our young community members have gone off to college and to explore other areas of the country, and many have stayed away beyond their school years and through their 20’s. Some of these young adults are beginning to return home as they look forward to their 30’s and beyond. Some are moving back to raise their families here.

The needs of our community have grown; not only the needs of the Jewish community but the needs of the entire Louisville community. During the recession years of 2008-2011 our Annual Campaign suffered. We had a flat Campaign with negligible increases year to year.

During the Jewish Federation of Louisville’s 2012 Annual Campaign, we experienced a decrease in dollars raised. While this caused some hardship for the community, Louisville managed to continue to provide most of the programs and services the entire community had come to depend on – senior nutrition and social programs; early childhood education; social service, personal, family and career counseling; as well as a food pantry to provide supplemental help to the hungry in our community. These services and many others are supported by the dollars we raise during our campaign.

The 2013 Annual Campaign told a different story. We increased the amount raised by more than 12 percent, setting the stage for more positive growth in 2014.

There is so much left to do and we need the community’s help. Please answer the call for support this year.