Looking ahead

Editor’s Note: Jeri delivered a version of the following remarks at the Federation Annual Meeting on June 11. They have been updated and edited to fit this format.

It was Thomas Paine who said: “These are the times that try men’s souls ...” While trying, this year has also been gratifying!

As I reflect on the past year as executive director of our Federation, we all had so much hope and anticipation of what 2020 would bring. It is almost difficult to remember all that we accomplished before the pandemic changed our reality. We began our year with an impressive major gifts reception, held a number of successful and engaging Women’s Philanthropy and Maimonides Society programs, celebrated at an unprecedented community concert, participated in meaningful CRC programs and launched our community planning process, just to name a few highlights. We successfully pivoted to meet the challenges of the coronavirus and moved swiftly to our online programming platforms. 

This was all done in partnership with YOU – each of you and all of you, our community members, our board members, committee members, agency leadership, clergy, volunteers and staff. It all starts with you was the slogan that led us into our 2019-20 campaign year. Because of your generosity, I am pleased to announce that we will close our 2020 Annual Campaign at $2,375,000 – up from our previous campaign by $120,000. This is in addition to raising significant dollars through our emergency campaign. THANK YOU!

Together, we are just starting to emerge from the corona crisis and a world addressing issues of anti-Semitism and racial equality. We still face a world filled with many uncertainties. While we continue to develop business models and new approaches – transparency, accountability, focus and impact will still be our mantra. A number of articles have been written about the new normal and some of those thought-leaders’ words resonate with me. Organizations that are most successful in the future will be those best able to adapt and take advantage of opportunities. We will need to continually ask the right questions in terms of how “new normal” trends can impact operations, service delivery and our ability to deliver on our mission. To that end, I’d like to note five other points as we move forward.

1.   Uncertainty will continue: Opportunities exist, but change is difficult and inertia is a strong limiting factor.
2.   Organizations that are laser-focused on the execution of their mission will be best positioned to succeed.
3.   Priorities have shifted and may continue to shift.
4.   One cannot stress enough the importance of leadership.
5.   And we also rely on the evolving and increasingly important role of each of YOU.

Please accept my gratitude for your strong support and your continuing involvement in our Jewish community. I hope you will join me as we begin a new program year and our 2021 Annual Campaign. This is our moment!