You don’t need to show up – in person or virtually – in order to be there for your community.
As the pandemic continues down an unpredictable path, the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland decided to focus on keeping everyone safe physically – by forgoing an in-person event – and emotionally – by not adding a Zoom commitment to busy online schedules.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Portland’s first-ever “Please Don’t Show Gala” is a fund-raising “event” that will enable donors to give their support as one community even when it is not possible to gather.
“As much as we want to hug and engage and bring people together, we can’t,” says JFGP Campaign Director Wendy Kahn.
“The Don’t Show Gala is not a synchronous gathering of our entire community, but we encourage the community to celebrate where we have come from and where we are heading in a way that is meaningful for them,” says Jessica Zutz Hilbert, who co-chairs the Federation campaign with Ted Nelson.
“I think it goes without saying that what JFGP did in terms of COVID relief was nothing short of extraordinary,” says Jessica. “To have raised nearly a million dollars (in addition to our Annual Campaign) to buoy our community during an incredibly difficult time of darkness and uncertainty will be something I will be proud to have been associated with for the rest of my life.
But all of that effort was, to some degree, to maintain a stasis.”
The 2022 Campaign for Community Needs can provide even more critical services for seniors, children and everyone in between that JFGP has supported for more than a century, while also looking forward to the next 100 years.
“We believe we are at a turning point, straddling the line between pandemic life and looking forward to a world where COVID doesn’t dominate every decision we make,” says Jessica, whose family increased its contribution this year. “I do think that our needs are greater than ever at this time. I personally am witnessing that our community is alive and poised for future growth.”
Wendy adds, “We want to inspire the Jewish community through our collaborative work and keep Jewish life flourishing. And once again we have a wonderful donor who will match all increases of 10% or more.”
From the French phrase Répondez s’il vous plaît meaning “Please respond,” RSVP takes on new meaning this year. This year, it is a request to respond with a donation rather than attendance – to be there for your community, while staying safely apart. The RSVP card in the invitation includes three ways to donate: returning the card, scanning the QR code or going online at Jewishportland.org/pleasedontshowgala