Plung concludes term as Federation chair; cites years of achievement with more to come

Plung concludes term as Federation chair; cites years of achievement with more to come

Lou Plung stepped down as chair of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh at its annual meeting last week. The outgoing chair used his address to rattle off a litany of achievements over the past years while expressing confidence that growth would continue.

Plung noted that the just-concluded Community Campaign, which raised a record $13.35 million, netted 240 new donors, upping the Federation’s donor base at a time when most Federations are struggling with declines.

He also noted that:

• The Jewish Community Foundation has $180 million in assets, including $14.3 million donated this past year;

• The Centennial Fund for a Jewish Future has raised $20 million in its brief existence, and thanks to a group of donors, it now has a $1 million matching grant to support Jewish engagement and education;

• The Jewish Healthcare Foundation has again committed a $900,000 block grant;

• More than 40,000 books have been distributed to local kids through PJ Library; and

• Fourteen area young adults sit on the National Young Leadership Cabinet.

“Jewish Pittsburgh, and all that it defines, is thriving,” Plung said.       

Also at the meeting, the Federation presented its annual awards for community and professional achievement.

Maureen Kelly Busis, who received the 2013 Gerald S. Ostrow Volunteer of the Year Award, used her speech to recognize all volunteers.

“This room is filled with volunteers,” Kelly Busis said, “some sung, some unsung.”

Longtime community activists Jack and Bernice Meyers were this year’s recipients of the Emanuel Spector Memorial Award.

A Beaver Valley native, Bernice Meyers credited her upbringing there for instilling within her the ethic to work for the Jewish community and to pass that lesson on to future generations.

She also mentioned the many trips she and husband Jack have made to Israel over the years, calling the Jewish state, “another home to me.”

Jack Meyers, in his speech cited financial support and a willingness to accept leadership roles as ways people can achieve success for the community.

Milo Averbach accepted the Doris and Leonard H. Rudolph Jewish Communal Professional Award. Averbach, a Pittsburgh native and chief financial officer of the Federation, said he knew at an early age he wanted to be involved in Jewish communal work.

Averbach also recognized former Federation President Howard Rieger, and the late Harvey Sloan, its chief operating officer and senior vice president, for the impact both men had on his career and his life.

(Lee Chottiner can be reached at  


read more: