CEO June 2015 Update

A time to celebrate and take stock  of our accomplishments 

On May 24 and 25, we celebrated the holiday of Shavuot. We rejoice in the spring harvest and are reminded when we work with the Lord’s blessings, we can accomplish great things. It also is a time when we celebrate, again, the giving of the Ten Commandments at Sinai. We celebrate and renew our connection to the Laws of Moses and to our community. 


The spirit of Shavuot guides us as we complete another year of work at the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond and celebrate our successes at our Annual Meeting on May 28,  5:30 p.m., at the Weinstein JCC. 


Over the past year, we conducted another Annual Campaign that has surpassed its goal and raised  $3,020,133.  We conducted an Israel Emergency Campaign that raised an additional $215,942. We thank Ellen Renee Adams and her Campaign team for the successes in our Annual Campaign.  We thank Nannette and Nathan Shor for chairing the Israel Emergency Campaign. Our totals have gone up and our donor base has expanded thanks to their good work and the work of many more volunteers who help to run our campaigns.


Over this past year, we have implemented a change in our allocations system. The Ad Hoc Committee on Allocations Procedures, chaired by Jim Weinberg, supervised a three-year process that brought us a hybrid allocations system and the Impact Grants process.


Impact Grants are intended to inspire individuals, organizations, Synagogues, and agencies to provide innovative and impactful engagement programs and services that support and enhance the Jewish community of Richmond.  


The areas of community priorities were created from numerous focus group meetings comprised of diverse members of our community. The priorities chosen were: Engaging Interfaith Families in Jewish Activities, Initiatives to Improve the lives of Jewish Seniors and Older adults and Opportunities for Youth to Strengthen their Jewish identities.


I am proud to report the results of this inaugural effort. The Impact Grants Committee, chaired by Amy Nisenson, certainly had its work cut out for them, and they tackled it with vigor and enthusiasm. The end result was financial support for five new or enhanced programming opportunities for our community.


JFS – KiRVA - $7,360

KiRVA is modeled on the Jewish Family Services friendly visitor and telephone reassurance programs.  The collaboration with Congregation Beth Ahabah is going to be expanded to include Temple Beth-El.


KBI Jewish Student Union - $15,000

Jewish Student Union clubs provide a framework for Jewish public school students to learn more about their Jewish root and enhance their Jewish Identity.


RTA Midor l’dor - $11,500

In conjunction with the Weinstein JCC Senior Adults Program, JFS, and Beth Sholom Lifecare Community, Rudlin Torah Academy will build strong and consistent connections with seniors in the Richmond area.  Programs will include visits by RTA students to senior facilities as well as seniors’ visiting RTA classrooms, attending performances and sharing holiday meals and celebrations.


Weinstein JCC EnRich - $22,670

The collaborative program (Weinstein JCC and JFS) will provide monthly programming that meets the social, mental and physical needs of individuals 65 and older. Different tracks will be developed to meet the senior’s needs.


Beth Sholom Elder Abuse Advocacy - $10,000

The Beth Sholom Prevent  Elder Abuse Program will provide education to the larger Jewish community about the nature of abuse, the potential for caregiver burden, the highly charged dynamics that can occur in stressful situations.        


Total dollars allocated: $66,530


This year, JCFR’s Senior Leadership Institute program was created in an effort to facilitate the continuous development of Richmond’s Jewish community leadership. The eight- month program cultivates a cohort of motivated, educated, and enthusiastic leaders within the Richmond Jewish community while giving participants the necessary skills, inspiration, and confidence to seek out future senior level leadership positions within our agencies and Synagogues. The 2015 graduates of this program are: Melanie Binshtok, Mark Binshtok, Michal Coffey, Bari Cohen, Leslie Cohen, John Minor, Gary Goldberg, Frances Goldman, Robin Jackson, Adam Nelson, Andrew Pegalis, Heather Rosenberg, Nannette and Nathan Shor.


I hope you are able to join us when we celebrate our accomplishments in concert with the Richmond Jewish Foundation at our Joint Annual Meeting May 28, 5:30 p.m., at the Weinstein JCC.


May we go from strength to strength in building our community.


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