[by Shiela Steinman Wallace]
If “Faith Comes from the Heart,” the Louisville Jewish community demonstrated that our community has a lot of heart as well as “Faith in Our Future,” by raising $195,940 during the February 21 Super Sunday Telethon for the 2010 Jewish Community of Louisville Annual Campaign. That represents a three percent increase over the same gifts last year.
In addition to the push for the Annual Campaign, this year’s Super Sunday volunteers also paid special attention to donors from the Young Adult Division. In December, at the Major Gifts Dinner, William Yarmuth recognized the emerging leadership role younger adults are taking in the community. To encourage them to match their involvement with their financial support, he issued a challenge grant: double the $47,000 YAD raised at their main Campaign event last fall, and Yarmuth would match it with $50,000.
Yarmuth also challenged others in the community to increase his match, and more than half a dozen additional donors have stepped forward to do so.
On Super Sunday, calls made to YAD members included information about the challenge, and members of the division responded generously. YAD is now nearing its goal. The donations from YAD members on Super Sunday, added to pledges from early YAD efforts, including a special telethon, now total $40,000.
Super Sunday is a unifying event that drew volunteers from across the community, Co-Chair Scott Norton observed, “It was great. I enjoyed seeing everybody getting involved, and I appreciate everybody who helped out, many of whom stayed beyond their shifts. I was impressed with everyone and how well organized and fun it was.”
“I just want to let people know that Scott and I appreciate everyone’s help,” added Co-Chair Kim Norton. She singled out the Super Sunday Committee members – Laurence Nibur, who helped with the script; Shannon Rothschild and Orit Goldstein, for the festive and creative decorations and the wall chart that tracked donations through the day; Howard and Lisa Kaplin for securing prizes; Deborah Goldberg for arranging the food; and Riva Schanker for her input – and Ruthie Passamaneck for “the most delightful tuna fish ever.”
She also expressed gratitude to “everyone who showed up to make calls, everyone who answered the phone and gave generously,” all those who donated food and prizes, and the JCL staff, especially Tzivia Levin and Mary Jean Timmel who did much of the organizational work. “It was a fun and exciting day.”
The volunteer callers ranged from Kehila Middle School students to senior adults, each determined to do their best for the community. JCL Campaign Chair Todd Blue came by to help as did Mayor Jerry Abramson. A full list of volunteers and prize and food donors can be found in the ad on page 13.
“Super Sunday was so much more than I expected,” Scott added. “We’ll definitely be involved every year making calls, and I look forward to the future when our kids are old enough to chair Super Sunday so we can support them.”
Although the Nortons’ children are still quite young, Alex and Ben played their parts as well. They brought the money they’d been collecting in their tzedakah boxes and made their own donations to the Campaign.
Each volunteer has his/her own reasons for volunteering. Many have strong ties to the community, fond memories of BBYO activities as teens and/or a commitment to ensuring a vibrant community for the next generation.
One volunteer this year had a different story. One day, during a visit to Dr. Scott Norton, John O’Malley overheard his endodontist talking with his wife about the upcoming Super Sunday telethon that they were co-chairing. “They’re nice people,” he said, “and my son lives near here and has come to the JCC to exercise.”
Since he “had time to do volunteer work,” he decided to come to Super Sunday and make some calls.
When he arrived, he got right to work. “I set a personal goal of $1,000 dollars,” O’Malley explained, and when that came fairly quickly, he raised it to $5,000. He worked straight through two shifts, and although he did not quite reach his higher goal, he secured many gifts and was an inspiration to many other callers.
When pressed, O’Malley disclosed he has another important connection to the Jewish community. In the early 1980’s, he became business partners with two immigrants from the former Soviet Union.
“They were dissidents” in the FSU, he explained, and feared for their lives. That the Louisville Jewish community would reach out across the world to bring these people to safety made a deep impression on him. So when the opportunity presented itself to give back to this community, O’Malley decided it was the right thing to do.
While many volunteers made many calls on Super Sunday, and many community members responded with generous donations, the job is not complete. On Thursday night, after Community went to press, volunteers returned to make additional calls.
If JCL volunteers did not reach you on Super Sunday, there is still time to show your “Faith in Our Future” and give from your heart. Please make your donation online by clicking here or call 451-8840 today.