CEO June 2016 Update

A Good Year

It was my pleasure to make some remarks at the 80th Annual Meeting of the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond/Richmond Jewish Foundation on May 9. Excerpts are below:

For decades, the JCFR has worked to assist the community to build the buildings; the infrastructure; the programs; and institutions that we have all come to recognize as the cornerstones of Jewish life in Richmond. We are extremely proud of all that’s been accomplished on behalf of our community and hold fast to our desire to preserve all that’s been created. But in recent years, alongside our desire to support the traditional Jewish institutions, awareness of changing times has grown ever more pressing.

Many may remember last year JCFR began its IMPACT GRANTS program, which is intended to inspire agencies, individuals, organizations, and Synagogues to develop innovative and/or impactful programs and services to support and enhance the Jewish community of Richmond.  IMPACT GRANTS were created to augment our existing allocations process. Now in its 2nd year, the IMPACT GRANTS program has been quite successful. This year, due to their success, the following programs were re-submitted and approved for a 2nd year of funding:

• Beth Sholom Prevent Elder Abuse

 Advocacy -  $45,100

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 and the highly charged dynamics that can occur in stressful situations.       

• KBI Jewish Student Union -  $15,000

JSU clubs provide a framework for Jewish public school students to learn more about their Jewish roots and enhance their Jewish Identity.    

•RTA Midor l’dor - $12,500

In conjunction with the Weinstein JCC Senior Adults Program, JFS and Beth Sholom, RTA 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 - $30,000

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 needs of seniors.

The following new programs were submitted and approved:

• Temple Beth-El’s Havurah 

Project -  $10,000

This will provide meaningful opportunities for inter-faith families, work to strengthen identities of young people and improve the lives of seniors, through cohort-based programs centered around the Shabbat dinner table.  

• Bonay Kodesh -  $7,250

Host events and Jewish holiday celebrations to establish an active Jewish community in Chesterfield County open to all  Jews and their families.

• Honeymoon Israel - $12,000

Will provide newly married inter-faith couples the opportunity to travel to Israel; and infuse these couples and their future families with Jewish values.

Total  -- $131,850 

I want to thank Amy Nisenson, chair of IMPACT GRANTS committee, and Seth Kaplan, Allocations chair, who helped us continue to have an impactful allocations process.

I had the opportunity to join Mark Sisisky, Kevin Fine, Yael and Yisroel Fletcher and Nannette Shor on a trip to Dnepropetrovsk and Zaporozhye this past March.  I have been to Ukraine before, but witnessing the abject poverty of members of the Jewish community there will have a lasting impact on me.  

I gave a special thank you to Richard Samet for his great service as president over the last two years.  Richard – you were wonderful to work with and you are a man of great integrity.

I would like to congratulate Nannette Shor as she completes her term as JCFR General Campaign Chair and President- Elect. (She led a strong Cabinet team that met the $3 million Campaign goal with more donors than last year.)   We can’t thank her enough for her dedication and commitment.  She has been a pleasure to work with and we look forward to continue working with her as she assumes the position of JCFR president!  We are happy to have Nannette on board and look forward to a successful collaboration.  

Again, thank you all for being here tonight and helping to build our community.

As always, contact me at (804) 545-8622 or email


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