Federation achieves $13.65 million goal, its largest yet

Federation achieves $13.65 million goal, its largest yet

Volunteers help to raise funds at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Super Sunday event earlier this year.
Volunteers help to raise funds at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Super Sunday event earlier this year.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh announced last week that it has reached its 2016 campaign goal — its most ambitious to date — raising $13.65 million.

“I am very proud of our accomplishments,” said Meryl Ainsman, the Federation’s 2016 campaign chair. “It was a team effort led by dedicated volunteers and a dedicated staff.”

About 200 volunteers joined forces to solicit funds from nearly 4,200 donors, according to Jessica Brown Smith, the Federation’s campaign and financial resource development director.

The number of donors in 2016 was “on par with last year,” Smith said. “A few less.”

Although the campaign did not close by its June 30 target date, it accomplished its goal 10 weeks earlier than last year, said Ainsman.

Ainsman noted the Federation’s “tremendous achievement” in reaching its goal in the face of “challenges we could not have anticipated.” Those challenges, she said, included “some significant cuts at the beginning of the campaign for a variety of reasons,” including the deaths of some individual donors and other pledge commitments that were reduced due to miscellaneous circumstances.

The $13.65 million total includes a $170,000 matching grant from the Giant Eagle Foundation, Ainsman said. Every new dollar raised by the Federation — up to $170,000 — was matched by that Foundation.

The Federation’s annual campaign has been providing unrestricted dollars for its beneficiary organizations for more than 100 years. Those organizations, in turn, provide services to the community, as well as to those in need around the world. Money raised by the campaign “feeds the hungry, helps the unemployed, supports families with special needs and funds Jewish education,” according to the Federation’s website. “It is the Annual Campaign that has been the glue that has held the Jewish community together for 100 years and will continue to do so for the next 100.”

The 2016 allocations of funds were completed earlier this year and remained comparable in amount to the allocations of 2015, according to Ainsman.

The number of donors from members of the Federation’s Young Adult Division grew in 2016, Ainsman noted, praising the “very active and successful Young Adult campaign division.”

“Now we can focus on the 2017 campaign,” Ainsman said, adding that staff and volunteers got a jump on that campaign several weeks ago.

The 2017 allocations will be determined at the end of May or the beginning of June.

“This campaign took incredible efforts by our volunteers and staff to complete, and I thank all of them along with the generous donors that got us to this point,” said Jeff Finkelstein, president and CEO of the Federation. “It illustrates the fact that Pittsburgh Jewry cares so deeply about this community and about supporting Jewish communities around the world and in Israel.” 

Toby Tabachnick can be reached at tobyt@thejewishchronicle.net.

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