Through the generosity of our donors, dedicated volunteers and committed professional staff, we are excited to update you on what has been achieved thus far in 2018, and what the remainder of the year will bring. The first quarter of 2018 gave us great momentum as we continue to grow and strengthen our community. Several new initiatives and programs have been launched that we would like to share with you.
Age Advantage Exchange
We recently received a $100,000 challenge grant from the Molly Blank Foundation which will allow our community to further develop a program for our senior population. In total, $312,000 has been raised for the first step of the project, which is to update an earlier study analyzing our community’s needs. The goal of Age Advantage Exchange is to create a program for our seniors that will allow them to age in place, have a centralized Web resource and build upon our current programs. Our thanks go to the thoughtful leadership of Don and Esther Schon who have shepherded this program for the last five years. We look forward to developing an exciting model to serve our parents and grandparents.
Business and Professionals
We continue to offer exceptional networking opportunities for Jewish professionals in the areas of finance, real estate, law and high tech. We provide access to thought leaders locally in each of these fields, while always allowing time for socializing and networking. At the same time, we work to educate our participants as to how Federation dollars make significant impact in Tikkun Olam, repairing our world.
Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP)
The Jewish Federation, along with VOSJCC is looking forward to sending its second cohort of future female community leaders to Israel, in November 2018, as part of the JWRP Momentum Trip. This is an 8-day heavily subsidized experience for moms with children 18 years and younger. The mission of the JWRP is to empower women to change the world through Jewish values that transform themselves, their families, and their communities. The trip is followed by a year of learning with the goal of exposing our participants to all of the leadership opportunities our community has to offer.
In 2017, Steve Hilton, Jonathan Hoffer and Mark Sklar chaired a mission to Israel with a handpicked group of 13 current and potential philanthropists who could significantly impact our local community. That mission was a great success and I’m thrilled to report that we just concluded our second mission, chaired by Steve Hilton and Jay Stein, which saw an additional 12 men visit Israel and learn of the many projects our donors fund and the impact those dollars make. We strongly believe these missions demonstrate what our community is all about while developing a cadre of current and future leaders. A big thank you to these gentlemen who led the mission, as well as those who participated.
National and International Representation
Phoenix currently has its largest ever group of lay leaders representing our community on both the national and international level. We are so pleased to have seven people participating on the Federation’s National Young Leadership Cabinet. Along with this participation, we are pleased to have our 2018 Campaign Chair Julee Landau Shahon, participate on the National Women’s Philanthropy Board while Rachel Hoffer is our liaison to the Jewish Agency for Israel. Additionally, Board Co-Chair David Weiner serves on the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel. These individuals are taking considerable time away from their work and families while paying their own travel costs and expenses to attend these world-wide meetings. We could not be more proud and thankful to have them representing us!
We place the highest priority on engaging the next generation of Jewish leadership with year-long social, educational and leadership development opportunities. We are particularly proud of our NowGen giving Circle with over 30 participants in their 20’s and 30’s who decide where to grant their hard earned philanthropic dollars — thus setting in motion another generation of Jewish philanthropists who understand the importance of tzedaka.
This year, The Harold Grinspoon Foundation approached Federation to serve as the fiscal agent and sponsor for this exciting program which delivers a free, monthly Jewish-themed book to young children in our community and exposes them to their Jewish heritage at this important developmental time in their lives. Beyond just the books, PJ Library also hosts events which bring together young families who may have previously not been “Jewishly” connected. We are pleased to collaborate with our two community JCC’s and would like to thank them both, the East Valley JCC and VOSJCC, for promoting this program and engaging our young families.
Senior Living Project on Campus
Morrie Aaron recently chaired a committee to determine the most effective and practical use for a vacant piece of land on our community campus. Four or five ideas were given serious consideration and ultimately the committee felt an arrangement could be made with a Senior Living Operator/ Management Company to lease the land and build a Senior Living Complex. We felt that developing the property in this manner would complement our mission while serving the needs of our seniors.
Violins of Hope
Coming to the Greater Phoenix community February – March of 2019, Violins of Hope is a collaborative series of music, education and exhibitions featuring violins of the Holocaust. Israeli violinmaker, Amnon Weinstein has devoted the last 20 years to locating and restoring the violins of the Holocaust as a tribute to those who were lost. He has restored over 60 violins as a way to reclaim his lost heritage, give a voice to the victims, and reinforce positive messages of hope and harmony.
We recognize that for our community to continue its growth we need a constant stream of new leaders who can inspire and commit themselves to furthering the mission of the Jewish Federation. Recognizing there hadn’t been a valley-wide leadership development program in some time, Yesod launched in February with 12 participants committed to an eight-week course of study. This effort was a community-wide initiative with representatives from local synagogues, partnership agencies, and divisions within Jewish Federation. Marty Haberer, Federation CEO, facilitated the classes with several guest teachers including Rabbis, active lay leaders and successful volunteer business leaders. We look forward to seeing our graduates engaged and shaping the future direction of our community.
We strongly encourage you to please become more involved and share these exciting developments with your friends and family. Our community has so much to offer and we welcome your participation!