In the last edition of the E-Bulletin, we outlined the numerous and varied roles that the Jewish Federation of Ottawa plays in our community. We hope you had a chance to read it. Now that September is upon us, the Federation embarks on its Annual Campaign to raise the funds needed to support our mission and our community. Evelyn Silverman and Gary Viner are this year’s Campaign co-chairs. As they explain, there is personal passion and commitment going into their work.
EB: What are you most looking forward to in this year’s Campaign?
ES: I am most looking forward to the many conversations that I will have with our donors. I enjoy catching up on what has transpired over the year and am also very pleased to be able to interact with new community members. I am also going to be a leader of the Federation-sponsored Momentum trip this October. I’ll have the opportunity to meet with a group of moms and build bridges through our parenting journeys and love of Judaism. This is a great example of Federation dollars at work for our community and I’m thrilled to be a part.
GV: From my perspective, in this year’s Campaign, I am looking forward to working with and listening to the leaders of our community to ensure that we are helping to meet needs as broadly as possible while sharing my own perspective on how Federation can support their work. In addition, I always look forward to the annual conversations with my “regular” donors as well!
EB: What are the key focus areas of the campaign this year?
ES: The Campaign always concentrates on the vital needs of our community, especially our most vulnerable members. Jewish education, pushing back against the normalization of antisemitism, and community engagement are high priorities as well.
GV: The Campaign is all about fundraising for the Judaic needs of our community and I don’t think that ever changes but those needs evolve, and we need to choose attainable goals based on our local needs. COVID has had a challenging impact on many and exposed the gaps in government funded services for our disadvantaged and vulnerable community members, particularly those served by Jewish Family Services, Hillel Lodge, and Tamir. In addition, students have suffered universally and attendance at Jewish supplementary schools has been adversely affected, which is why Federation launched the new tuition incentive, A Place for Everyone. Lastly, security for our institutions, unfortunately, has become an increasingly relevant concern.
EB: Are there specific fundraising or engagement goals for this year?
ES: Absolutely! Due to ever-increasing and diverse needs as well as inflation, we will be asking our donors to consider increasing their pledges by 5-10%. These additional funds not only help us to better meet our community’s requirements, but also allow us to reach out and engage new members with programming and support.
GV: I would like to see us enhance engagement and broaden our donor base as I believe there are many who do not really understand the mandate of Federation and its fundraising. At the same time, we want to ensure that we have offered the mitzvah of tzedakah to as many as possible. To support this goal, we now have a giving category of “Monthly Mitzvah” giving. This allows a donor to give the same amount every month on an ongoing basis. We won’t canvas these donors annually and they can change their monthly contribution at any time.
EB: What can the community be proud of from past Campaigns that should carry us into this year?
ES: I am most proud of the way that our donors were able to step up during challenging times. We are proud of how our community supported the emergency fund for COVID-19 relief, and the significant aid our community offered to the more recent crisis in Ukraine. In fact, despite the need for these emergency funds, we still surpassed last years’ annual campaign goal. Our community is amazing!
GV: We can be universally proud of the fundraising impact in our relatively small community and the engagement of so many. We have a terrific team of canvassers and administrative staff to be honoured!
EB: Anything else the community should know?
ES: The Ottawa Jewish community should be so proud of their core Federation team, as well as the larger group of volunteer canvassers who work by dedicating their free time to the betterment of our community through Federation. They are a small but mighty group of committed individuals who work tirelessly behind the scenes on behalf of all of us. Gary and I could not run a Campaign without their endless support!
To make your pledge to the Jewish Federation of Ottawa, please visit our website.
To learn more about the Campaign and the current priorities click here.