In advance of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa’s Annual Campaign, three very generous donor families – Barbara Crook and Dan Greenberg (the Danbe Foundation); Roger and Robert Greenberg; and the Stephen Greenberg family – came together as equal partners in creating a $500,000 Challenge Fund to match all new and increased gifts to the Campaign and support the Jewish Superhighway.
Undoubtedly, you will read and hear about this fund many times, and I do hope you will participate in the challenge by giving even more generously than in the past!
Often I use a column as an opportunity to share with community members my thinking, or share a bit about myself. Therefore, this article will not explain the ins and outs of the Challenge Fund – for that, please do read the Case for Community distributed with this edition of the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin). Rather, I want to explain what this type of financial commitment means to me, as Federation CEO.
Obviously, there is a tremendous sense of gratitude to these three wonderful families who continuously lead by example and with such heart, as well as to every single community member who will take the challenge and make a new or increased gift. I give generously. I always increase my gift, and I dug even deeper this year knowing the increased portion of my gift would be matched.
Apart from gratitude, I am also experiencing two other significant emotions: determination (liberally sprinkled with a healthy dose of fear) and confidence.
Determination: Understanding and appreciating the significance of this very special gift to our community, I am determined to make sure we fully capitalize on the opportunity. By definition, a matching fund only gets us halfway to where we need to be. We have to raise an additional $500,000 in new dollars (or forfeit some of the $500,000 Challenge Fund if we do not hit the target). With outstanding Campaign leadership and amazingly generous donors, I believe that with our collective hard work (yes, even more than before), we can, and will, fully utilize the match. The fear exists because knowing how badly our community needs these dollars, and all the good that can be accomplished with an additional million dollars (again, please read the Case for Community), I don’t want to squander even a single dollar of the match. So yes, I definitely do feel some pressure to make sure this year’s Campaign is epic.
Confidence: As CEO, it is hugely validating when three leading philanthropic families believe so strongly in Federation’s vision and work that they make such a significant additional investment to help inspire and motivate others. In preparation for this year’s Annual Campaign, Federation began introducing the concept of the Jewish Superhighway. Community members are already getting inspired and excited about the vision. More and more, I hear references to the Jewish Superhighway from others and in emails from people telling me they are ready to start building and do their part (no hard hats required).
As a sports fan, I am a big believer in momentum (sadly, my beloved Habs currently have none). Barbara and Dan, Roger and Robert, and Stephen have given us HUGE momentum. I am grateful for this beyond words. Our Campaign leadership team is determined to max out the Challenge Fund and I am confident that individual donors understand the historic opportunity we have to build a Jewish Superhighway of meaningful Jewish experiences and journeys – where Jewish life is vibrant and where no one is left behind.