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Uncertain Campaign Puts Programs, Services at Risk

In Louisville, our Jewish community is faced with a serious problem.

  • Our Jewish agencies – the independent agencies including: Jewish Family & Career Services, Louisville Beit Sefer Yachad, The Temple Hebrew School, the Louisville Jewish Day School and the High School of Jewish Studies; and the Jewish Community of Louisville and those agencies and services it provides directly, including: the Jewish Community Center, Hillel and the Jewish Community Relations Council – depend on revenue from the Federation Annual Campaign.
  • To date, the 2012 Federation Campaign has raised just over $1.8 million – half a million less than the amount allocated in 2011.
  • The Planning and Allocations Committee must decide within a month how to allocate scarce community resources. All the requests for funding are in, and they reflect increased needs of about 10 percent over last year. With our current projections, we won’t be able to fund even the same amounts as last year; therefore, every agency’s allocation is subject to being cut which will reduce the support available to our community. Without your immediate help, these tough decisions will force the reduction or elimination of valued services and programs.
  • The fiscal year starts on July 1, so we, as a community, have a brief window of opportunity to change this scenario. Most of the shortfall comes from previous donors who have not yet made their gifts to the 2012 Campaign.

What Programs and Services Are at Risk?

The Federation Campaign funds programs and services for people of all ages across our Louisville community, in Israel and around the world. While specific cuts will be determined by each agency, here are some of the programs and services (not a comprehensive list) each agency supports. Each must now be considered to decide if it is essential and must be kept or if it can be cut back or eliminated.

At JFCS:

  • Counseling services of all kinds offered on a sliding scale;
  • Adoption services;
  • Older adult services from geriatric assessments to transportation assessments to concierge home care and more;
  • Career services;
  • Support groups;
  • College advisement; and
  • Community programming from the food pantry and Pledge 13 to Shabbos Friends and family mitzvah projects.

At our Jewish educational agencies:

  • Teaching positions;
  • Books;
  • Curricula and teaching materials; and
  • Professional development.

At the JCL:

  • The PJ Library;
  • Teen Connection and BBYO;
  • YAD (Young Adult Division) social programming;
  • Senior Adult programming;
  • Hillel, the Jewish center on the University of Louisville campus;
  • Jewish Community Relations Council, the Jewish community’s public voice, advocate and coalition builder in the general community;
  • Scholarships for Jewish camping at the JCC and Jewish overnight camps;
  • Kesher Kentucky, a leadership development, identity-building program for high school students;
  • Birthright Israel, the program that provides a free, identity-building trip to Israel for young adults who have never been;
  • CenterStage;
  • Jewish Film Festival and Festival of the Book; and
  • Community, your Jewish newspaper.

In Israel:

  • Partnership 2Gether, Louisville’s special connection with the Western Galilee that focuses on one-on-one interaction to benefit Louisvillians and Israelis in the areas of medicine, cultural arts, education, business and more;
  • Programs for youths from dysfunctional families like the Hafuch al Hafuch coffeehouse;
  • Programs for disabled children and young people like Beit Hagalgalim;
  • Social and academic support for immigrant soldiers who have no family in Israel;
  • Resettlement services for new immigrants; and
  • Social services for the elderly.

Around the World:

  • Food, medicine and heating assistance for frail seniors in Russia and the other new countries in the region;
  • Jewish camping and identity-building experiences for children in the Baltics;
  • Haggadot, matzah and other holiday supplies for the Cuban Jewish community; and
  • Facilities for Jewish seniors in Morocco to live out their days with dignity.

How Is the Distribution of Funds Determined?

The distribution of funds is determined through a community-oriented process. The Planning and Allocations Committee gathers information and makes recommendations for allocating the funds. That recommendation then goes to the Jewish Community of Louisville’s Executive Committee and then the JCL Board of Directors for review and approval before it can be implemented.

This year’s Planning and Allocations Committee, chaired by Jay Klempner, has changed its processes from years past in several significant ways. This year’s committee is significantly smaller, and its decision-making process is focusing on community priorities.

“The committee members were chosen by the Board chair [David Klein] and me,” Klempner explained. “They were recommended following a process of interviews and discussions with each individual. Our foremost requirement was that the members be community-minded and without a special interest in a particular agency, synagogue or temple.”

He continued, “This committee is looking at what is going to be in the best interest of the Jewish community as a whole, considering the finite Campaign dollars available and a priority structure for the programs and services that are important to the community.”

“Over the past eight-10 months,” Klempner said, “[JCL President and CEO] Stu Silberman and I had meetings with the clergy and agency representatives to talk about what the priorities are for them.”

Silberman consolidated the data from those meetings and identified categories for community priorities:

  • Hiddur Pnei Zaken – Cherishing the Elderly;
  • Tikkun Olam/Tzedakah – Repairing the World, Doing Righteous Acts;
  • Hakem Tikem Imo – Aiding Those in Need;
  • Kehilah – Building Community;
  • Keruv – Interfaith and Outreach;
  • Hachnasat Orchim – Welcoming Newcomers;
  • Ahavat Yisrael – Israel and Jewish Peoplehood;
  • Talmud Torah – Education; and
  • Shemirat Haguf – Taking Care of Oneself.

The committee takes its responsibilities seriously. “We have an obligation to the donors who support the Campaign to fully discuss, vet, investigate and understand the requests that come to the Allocations Committee for Campaign dollars,” Klempner stated. “The reality of the Campaign is that a certain amount of money is raised each year. If we are in a year where there is less money to distribute and allocate than the previous year, there needs to be in-depth discussion and understanding of what to do with the diminishing resources.

“Our committee does not want to tell an agency or congregation or entity how to run its business,” he elaborated, “but we do have a right to understand what they’re doing, how successful they are with Campaign dollars and whether the beneficiary group is meeting the priorities set by the JCL Board with input from the Planning and Allocations Committee itself.”

Klempner also reported that the committee is putting greater emphasis on its planning responsibilities.

“We’ve set up subcommittees of Planning and Allocations Committee members to talk with the agencies and entities that have received allocations in the current year to see how they’re doing and whether or not they are attaining the goals they set out in their proposals. We will continue this process throughout the year, not only to stay current with how they’re performing, but most important, to foster … collaboration amongst the Jewish agencies.

“In the nonprofit world,” he observed, “if you don’t collaborate, it’s going to be hard to survive. It doesn’t matter if you’re Jewish or not – every nonprofit needs to work together, be more efficient and understand what they can and can’t do.”

“You can’t spend money you don’t have,” he stated.

Planning and Allocations Committee members always invest a lot of time in this process, and this year, Klempner reports, it is a very committed group that has met “more times and for longer hours than we have in the last two years.”

The committee also believes, “If we can show the community openness, transparency and that we are following what we see as the priorities of the community, that the Campaign will do better year after year and the entire Jewish community will be better off,” Klempner explained. “However, it seems to be a Catch 22. For us to do a good job, it always helps to have more dollars for the upcoming year than the past year. If we don’t have the resources, our job is to be fair and equitable – not equal.

“We have a fiduciarily responsible approach to allocating our dollars,” he continued. “Within the committee, we are having excellent discussions and we’re drilling deep into issues and concerns as well as voicing the positives for all the entities that have put in requests for funding.”

“We’re not making our decision based upon what’s easy,” Klempner concluded. “We’re not saying, ‘let’s just give everybody what they ask for and move on.’ … There needs to be a justification for an ask, and there needs to be an understanding that the Campaign, which is community dollars, needs to support the needs the donor community wants to support. Just because entities request funding for a program they’ve had forever and a day doesn’t make it a priority for the community or the Campaign.”

Each request will be fully vetted, Klempner promised.

In addition to Klempner, the hard-working members of the Planning and Allocations Committee are Harry Geller, Lance Gilbert, Jane Goldstein, Dennis Hummel, Glenn Levine, Susan Rudy, Hunt Schuster, Leon Wahba and Jake Wishnia. JCL Board Chair David Klein and President and CEO Stu Silberman have attended the meetings as invited guests.

What Can We Do to Change the Situation?

The situation in the Louisville Jewish community today is serious. There is not enough money currently available from the 2012 Federation Campaign to meet community needs. It is up to us to change it.

  • If you have not yet made a donation to the 2012 Federation Campaign, step up today and do your part to keep our community moving forward.
  • If you have already made a pledge, please consider increasing it.
  • If you are a volunteer who agreed to make calls, but have not yet done so, do it today. There is no more time to wait.

To make a donation to the 2012 Federation Campaign, go to www.jewishlouisville.org, call 459-0660 or 238-2755, or send a check to 2012 Federation Campaign, Jewish Community of Louisville, 3600 Dutchmans Ln., Louisville, KY 40205.

Thank you.

[by Shiela Steinman Wallace]

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