CEO April 2017 Update

The Value Added of Federation

The Jewish Community Federation of Richmond is the central fundraising, community planning, leadership development, public affairs office and outreach arm of the Jewish Community.

 Through Federation, we act on the Jewish values of compassion, charity and generosity to improve the quality of life for people in our community, in Israel and in over 70 countries every day. Through our commitments to the Federation we make a difference in someone’s life.

 Since 1935, the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond has served as the central address of the organized Jewish community in Richmond. A voluntary association of social service agencies, organizations and Synagogues, the Federation works to ensure the well-being, continuity and strength of Richmond’s vibrant Jewish community.

 The Federation is guided by professional and lay leaders who are grounded in the traditional Jewish values of Tzedakah, deeds of loving kindness, justice and Tikkun Olam, which call upon us to rescue the imperiled, care for the vulnerable and help assure the vitality of Jewish life in Richmond, in Israel and around the world.

 The Federation fosters collaboration among synagogues, agencies, schools and organizations through its fundraising, planning, community relations and leadership development programs. 

The community’s Annual Campaign and the subsequent allocations process fall under the auspices of the Federation to ensure the provision of vital social, educational, cultural and recreational services for the entire community. 

The Federation facilitates communal priority setting and collaborative efforts to address local needs; publishes The Reflector, a monthly newspaper communicating local, regional, national and international news and features of interest to the Jewish community; maintains a website; and maintains the central community calendar of events and activities.

One of our stalwart volunteers, Rebecca Kalman-Winston, recently penned a note to our President, Nannette Shor, to explain the “Value added of Federation” and with her permission we are sharing her thoughts with you:

• Many of the organizations, projects, and programs  JCFR supports do not have the fundraising capacity that JCFR does.  For example, organizations who help Jews in Ukraine, and they are very few, don’t have access to you and me.  The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee can attempt to get access to you and me, but why duplicate efforts?  

Federations are everywhere; they partner together well with JDC, etc., thus saving you and me a lot of time and money. They are wise stewards of their funds, conducting their fundraising economically.

• Those organizations that have big budgets also have big gaps in revenue — like Weinstein JCC, that gives scholarships  not just to families in need, but even to families who have had no trouble paying their tuition, but who fall on hard times  – and need one-time help.  

• Agencies with small budgets could not, in a small time-frame, especially, raise the kind of money that the JCFR raises and then allots to them.

• The Annual Campaign supports the Federation itself also.  With that support, JCFR can do what it does itself – Young Leadership, Israel partnerships, etc.  Not that JCFR is a programming agency, but it does take care of areas that benefit the agencies and Synagogues individually and the community as a whole, like Richmond Council for Jewish Education, Richmond Jewish Coalition for Literacy, etc.

• Federations help Jews give Tzedakah even if they already give Tzedakah.  One doesn’t have to research single agencies and their websites or Facebook pages that can say anything they want to.  Because of its connections to where the help is needed, individuals need not spend time vetting other organizations. Givers of Tzedakah will not fall prey to imposters and predators, because the JCFR knows the landscape.

• People, including givers to charity, tend to support the places they use and need.  For example, some don’t support the Beth Sholom Home because they don’t have anyone living there.  Never have.  Think they’ll never need it.  Well, it will not be there if one does need it, if EVERYONE doesn’t support it  ...  and support it before they need it.  One can give even more to the charities of their choice, knowing that the old age home is support too, by their own annual gift to Campaign and by others’ gifts.

• JCFR keeps funds for emergencies and/or can raise money fast in an emergency.  JCFR helps agencies in times of need and does so with good business practices. 

• Giving to an “umbrella” organization such as JCFR  –  trusting what the organization  will do with the money  –  has gotten us this far.  It’s gotten us where we are today in terms of strong, vibrant organizations and charities that help lots of people with lots of things.  

It has gotten us to a really good place.  Because the next generation of givers want to know exactly where their money goes, does not mean that we need to abandon the old model.  

That is because a group of individuals with hundreds of years of experience and wisdom can make very good decisions when it comes time to allocate funds raised from other hard-working individuals.

Thank you Rebecca. These words explain our work well.  

Someone once said to me: “If we didn’t have the Jewish Community Federation to help us meet needs at home and abroad and to represent the Jewish community in Richmond, we would have to invent the Jewish Federation.” 

As always, let me hear from you about this column or other things of importance at (804) 545-8622, or visit  


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