CEO July 2018 Update

What we do is who we are


Our Board of Directors recently came together for a full day of strategic thinking, learning and planning at Parkside Assisted Living on the campus of Beth Sholom Lifecare Community. It was our chance to bring our new leadership team together for the first time, and while we enjoyed the day, we also accomplished a great deal.

One of the biggest challenges we discussed is how to connect the community to the expansive, varied and diverse work they make possible through our Jewish Community Federation of Richmond. Throughout the day, some of our board members shared personal stories about why they are involved. They spoke about the inspirational work they had seen locally, in Israel and internationally. 

The stories are about how we are rebuilding Jewish life in Eastern Europe – the importance of connecting Jews to our local community and how we build personal connections between Israel and Richmond. We shared a moving video of how we supported our friends in Houston after the destructive floods and revisited some of our history as a Federation. 

While the settings of the stories spanned the globe, one common thread emerged. Our Federation remains one of the most impactful, meaningful and effective ways to impact individual Jewish lives.

We continued our day talking about new outreach initiatives, Interfaith programming, advocacy and how we will change and adapt our funding models. We spent a great deal of time thinking about how we can better respond to, connect and honor our donors and the hundreds of volunteers who make our community so special.

I am excited about the outcomes and ideas our board and professional team generated throughout the day. We already are hard at work putting them into action. While some changes will seem big and others small, I am confident they will build and strengthen our community and continue the strong tradition of our 84 years of service. 

You will see increased Federation presence in our community and more volunteer opportunities throughout the Federation. We will continue to work to ensure that no Jew falls through the cracks, however, we will do it in new ways. 

Conversations about our funding models and development programs included how we can diversify the ways in which our Federation generates funds – a key factor in being able to respond to increasing and ever-changing needs. 

We already are seeing successes with new outreach and community building efforts, including a revitalized Maimonides Society for health care professionals, collaborative Interfaith programs among agencies and synagogues and a deeper collaboration with our agency and synagogue partners. We are increasing our missions program, including a planned visit to our partner community of Zaporozhye Ukraine, in April 2019. There will be more unique mission opportunities to Israel and other Jewish places of interest.

As our board closed for the day and began to leave, I joined a conversation among a small group of attendees. It was a mixed group, including new board members and some who had served for a while. One of the members summed up the day perfectly, “when it comes down to it,” she said, “we are, what we do, and what we do is pretty amazing.”

Thank you for your generous support, commitment to Jewish mutual responsibility and care for all the vibrant organizations, synagogues and people who make Jewish Richmond so special.  

Please feel free to reach out to me at or (804) 545-8622.




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