The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh raised $13.35 million through its 2013 Annual Campaign, meeting its goal, and surpassing last year’s record-breaking campaign by $350,000.
The 2013 Annual Campaign was the largest in Federation history, with more than 1,000 contributions from new or “recovered” supporters.
“This community should be very proud of itself,” said Jimmy Wagner, who chaired both the 2012 and 2013 Annual Campaigns, in a prepared statement. “For over 100 years now, we have continued to raise the necessary dollars that allow the Federation to meet the ongoing needs of Pittsburgh’s vibrant Jewish community with an unparalleled record of success.”
This is the third consecutive year that the Federation’s donor base has gotten younger, which bodes well for the future, according to President and CEO Jeff Finkelstein.
“I’m really delighted,” he said. “Our Federation has put a lot of effort into engaging young adults. And there are lots of young adults who are moving to Pittsburgh and are engaging with the Jewish community.”
The commitment of young adults to the welfare of Jewish Pittsburgh can be attributed, at least in part, to the Federation’s “seamless approach” to engaging that demographic group, which commences through J’Burgh and then transitions into the Young Adult Division of Federation, Finkelstein said.
Many of these young Pittsburghers have stepped up to the plate, not just with financial commitments, but also with their time, beating the national average of accepting Jewish communal leadership roles within the national Young Leadership Cabinet.
“Pittsburgh has 14 young adults on the [Jewish Federations of North America] Young Leadership Cabinet,” Finkelstein said. “They make up 5 percent of the national Young Leadership Cabinet, and [Pittsburghers] don’t make up 5 percent of the national Jewish community.”
The success of the 2013 campaign was due, in large part, to Federation volunteers, Finkelstein said.
“We have great volunteers,” he said. “Our volunteer solicitors are people who choose to ask their friends and their clients and their co-workers in a face-to-face way to contribute. It takes a village to raise that kind of money.”
The 2013 Annual Campaign represents just a part of the total financial resource development of over $30 million by the Federation this year, Finkelstein said.
“In addition to the Annual Campaign, the Federation is also working on its Centennial Fund for a Jewish Future, an endowment for resources and agencies that strengthen Jewish identity,” according to Finkelstein. That endowment is currently approaching $20 million.
The Federation also announced that a hundred women have created Lion of Judah Endowments, which endow gifts of $5,000 or more to the Annual Campaign. Pittsburgh has more women that have created Lion of Judah Endowments, per capita, than any other Jewish community in the country, according to the Federation’s press release.
Likewise, the Federation’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program also had a record year, raising $3.7 million and providing 543 needs-based scholarships to children attending the community’s three day schools, as well as nine Jewish prekindergarten programs throughout the city and suburbs.
“The campaign, in general, is about sustaining the community,” said Finkelstein. “People perceive us as a fundraising organization. The point is, we are a community-building organization; the way we do that is by raising money. The money is a means to an end, to help build a vibrant Jewish community. The money is the fuel that can help us to that end.”
(Toby Tabachnick can be reached at email@example.com.)