More contributions, more donors highlight Jewish Federation’s annual campaign

More contributions, more donors highlight Jewish Federation’s annual campaign

David Sufrin (Photo provided)
David Sufrin (Photo provided)

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh successfully met its 2014 annual campaign goal, it was announced last week, posting $13.5 million in donations. The figure marked the Federation’s highest level of annual financial resource development to date.

The campaign was co-chaired by David Sufrin and Peter Gordon.

While the Federation increased its monies received, it also expanded its donor base, officials said. This year, of the 4,540 donors, 775 were first-time campaign contributors.

In a statement, the Federation referred to the generosity of its givers by noting that members of the Pittsburgh Jewish community traditionally give more per capita than in many other U.S. communities and citied the $562,000 raised over the summer for its Israel Emergency Fund as further proof of the local community’s willingness to give.

In reaching its new high of $13.5 million, the Federation was aided by the Giant Eagle Foundation, which provided a $125,000 Bring it Home grant in the final days of the campaign.

All told, 2014 fundraising came in excess of $38 million, including $18.5 million for the Jewish Community Foundation; $4.4 million for the Federation’s Pennsylvania Educational Improvement Tax Credit program — the initiative facilitated more than 800 needs-based scholarships for Jewish day school and pre-kindergarten students; almost $1.9 million in supplemental gifts benefiting donors’ particular interests; and a $900,000 block grant for health and human services from the Jewish Healthcare Foundation.

At the Federation’s annual meeting at the Squirrel Hill JCC last week, board chair Woody Ostrow highlighted the year’s tallies.

“Our fundraising accomplishments are the key, the means to the end, of achieving our mission to build a thriving and engaged Jewish community,” he said. “And this past year gives us many examples of success in building community.”

Ostrow noted the Federation’s efforts to build community and inspire engagement in Jewish life by citing examples including, among others, the nearly $300,000 in scholarships for young people to partake in meaningful Israel experiences; the work of the Federation’s Volunteer Center; the increased inclusion efforts for individuals with disabilities; the launch of a website for the Jewish Community Scorecard; and the Federations’ work with the Community Relations Council to promote trade with Israel.

At the same event, Jeff Finkelstein, the Federation’s president and CEO, reminded attendees that the Federation is “not a fundraising organization, but a fund distribution and community-building organization.”

Adam Reinherz can be reached at

read more: