New year Means New Start for Federation Campaign

Gordon Calls on Everyone to Do One thing for Campaign

The Jewish New Year is a time of fresh beginnings. On Rosh Hashanah, we seek a new beginning in our relationships with God. Many of us also make a new start on repairing damaged personal relations and/or reviewing our behavior over the past year and resolve to be better people in the year to come.

For the Annual Federation Campaign, it is also time for a new beginning. The 2014 Campaign has been completed and the 2015 Campaign is about to begin.

Doug Gordon has agreed to serve as Campaign chair for a second year. “I learned a lot during my first year,” he said. “That means we can build on the successes of last year and address the challenges we encountered.”

One of the greatest strengths of past Federation Campaigns, Gordon said, is “the Campaign used to be volunteer-led. … We had a cadre of volunteers who would talk to their friends and family and help us raise the dollars our community needs to fulfill our mission.”

Times have changed and, today, there are many pressing demands on people’s time. That means there aren’t as many volunteers to help with Campaign, so its success relies on the efforts on fewer volunteers than in the past. “That makes it very hard to get the job done,” Gordon says.

“Having a viable, vibrant Jewish community in Louisville is still very important,” he continued, “and to ensure that we raise enough money to support our community and provide vital services to our children, our teens, our college students and our seniors, I encourage you to volunteer to make this another successful Campaign.”

Already, Gordon has recruited an expanded Campaign Cabinet that includes representatives from various demographic groups to help with the 2015 Federation Campaign. In addition to Gordon, the Campaign Cabinet includes YAD Co-Chairs Keren Benabou and Laurence Nibur, Seth Gladstein, Sarah Harlan, Ariel Kronenberg, Becky Ruby Swansburg, Ben Vaughan and Leon Wahba.

“I need your help, too,” he said. “This year, I’m asking each of you to ‘Do One Thing’ to help with this year’s Campaign. If every donor would talk to a family member or friend, attend an event and bring someone along, host a table at an event or something similar, it would make a tremendous difference. We sent a letter to all our generous donors from last year asking everyone to join in and ‘Do One Thing’ and unfortunately the response has been sparse. So again, please consider volunteering to support this year’s Campaign.”

Gordon also believes that with additional volunteers, the Annual Campaign can be completed much more efficiently and in a shorter time period, “We are blessed with many donors who are committed to our community and support it every year. This is evidenced by the fact that our Campaigns are consistently over $2 million.

“The challenge we must address is reaching out to our donors more efficiently,” he observed. “In the past few years, it has taken too long for us to complete the Campaign and that has impacted the allocations process.

“To ensure we can provide maximum resources to our agencies this year,” he continued, “we are setting a clear goal to make donors aware of the primary time period for making their pledges.”

The Campaign is designating December 6-13 a Week of Giving. “Clearly, setting an expectation to all donors to make a pledge during the Week of Giving will greatly enhance the probability of success in the Campaign,” Gordon explained. “We anticipate all donors will understand this expectation and step forward to make their pledges during this time period. We need to establish a similar expectation in every future Campaign.”

‘The Week of Giving will culminate on December 13 with the Million Dollar Dinner. We’re inviting all donors to attend this dinner if they will support our campaign with at least a $1,000 contribution” Gordon said, “so we’re counting on the many generous members of the community to step up and make their pledges by that time so the evening will be a celebration of reaching that $1 million mark.”

Gordon was quick to thank and acknowledge those who traditionally make gifts to the Campaign, regardless of the gift amount. “From Major Gifts to Super Sunday donors, there is no lack of very generous long-time supporters,” he said, “but there are fewer donors today than there were in the past.”

“I encourage those in the community with the ability to increase their level of giving to do so this year, considering the increased humanitarian support needed for Israel” he continued. “This year we are asking those who can, but haven’t yet given at the next level, to step up from $100 to $500, $500 to $1,000, $1,000 to $2,500, $2,500 to $5,000 and more. Please give serious consideration to increasing your gift in this 2105 Federation Campaign and help us make this year’s event a true Million Dollar Dinner.”

Funds raised by the Federation Campaign go to support many local programs. See box, this page.

Gordon also knows that the Campaign needs to incorporate an element of fun. “Last year, we sampled bourbon and enjoyed making kosher Passover desserts with a nationally-known baker.”

More enjoyable events are planned for this year. “We’ve already hosted a night of Funny Jews,” Gordon said, “and we’re having a night of BBQ and Brandy on October 16 with Top Chef Katsuji Tanabe, owner of the L.A.-based MexiKosher restaurant.” (See story) To reserve your spot at the BBQ and Brandy event contact Kristy Benefield, her contact information is listed below or register online.

“Why not ‘Do One Thing’ this year?” Gordon concluded. “We’re extending our hands to the community. Please help. Together we do extraordinary things.

To volunteer or to make your pledge for the 2015 Federation Campaign, contact Kristy Benefield, 238-2739 or


Funds raised by the Federation Campaign go to support many local programs and services on which the community has come to expect, including:
  • $250 per student subsidies for Louisville Beit Sefer Yachad (formerly the Louisville Hebrew School), The Temple Religious School and the High School of Jewish Studies;
  • Adult education through the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning;
  • Outreach and engagement through programs like the PJ Library;
  • Community-wide education through the Jewish Community Relations Council;
  • Keeping our community informed through email, social media and Community;
  • Fun, social events for our middle and high schoolers through Teen Connection and BBYO
  • Community building through events such as the Annual Yom HaShoah (Holocaust) Commemoration and the Yom Haatzmaut (Israel Independence Day) Celebration;
  • Jewish identity building experiences through scholarships to overnight Jewish summer camps and support for Birthright Israel trips;
  • Nutrition and social programs that help keep our seniors healthy and independent;
  • A vibrant Hillel program on the University of Louisville campus that ensures the Jewish students on campus, while few in number, have a safe place to be Jewish, connect with other Jews and find support when they need it; and
  •  Our Campaign also supports our brothers and sisters in Israel and around the world.


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