Tomorrow night, the Jewish Federation will hold its Gala. It will be an incredibly fun evening for people of all ages with a 1920s theme. It is an event open and accessible to the entire community. Thank you to the creative leadership of Ronnie and David Malka, Susan and Barry Menashe, and Dan Fields from Disney for putting it all together. We can always squeeze a few more people in – so register now by calling 503-892-7413 and join us at 7:30 p.m. at Pure Space in the Pearl District. It is a night not to be missed!
We are now at day 40 of our 100 Days of Impact…thank you to those of you who have already made your commitment to Campaign 2015. To date, our campaign stands at $1,950,000 with a remarkable 8% increase over last year. We are fortunate to have an anonymous donor who will match increases on ALL commitments of 10% or more from last year and all new pledges to our campaign up to $120,000. Help us maximize this opportunity to double the benefit for Jewish Portland. Please make your generous contribution today.
I am proud to tell you that in November the Jewish Federation, in partnership with 10 Jewish pre-schools in Portland (including two new ones on the east side) will be offering “incentive grants” for new families to a Jewish pre-school. Based on a successful model in Chicago, and following the success of the One Happy Camper program (incentive grants for first-time campers to any Jewish overnight camp), we will provide funds (amount is based on numbers of days per week a child attends) to families who enroll their children. There are currently many open spaces in our Jewish pre-schools (understanding that families have different requirements based on days of the week and timing), which we hope to get filled. The Federation allocated $30,000 to this initiative with the understanding that more funds would be needed to launch it properly. I am excited to share with you that in the past two months, over and above our annual campaign efforts, we have raised an additional $50,000 from donors who believe in this program. Thus, we currently have $80,000 to launch the program for the 2015-2016 school year. More details will be formally announced in a few short weeks.
Last night, Federation held the first meeting of the new Rosenfeld Leadership Development Program. It is a wonderful group of 12 young leaders who want to make a difference in our Jewish community – for today and into the future. They will participate in ten monthly sessions learning and developing their own leadership skills to enhance their communal, personal and professional lives.
As I like to do when I am with a new group of people, I did a short census to learn more about the people involved. Here is what I learned about this diverse group:
- There are 9 women and 3 men.
- Three are native Portlanders and the remainder are from elsewhere. The nine others were born in Cincinnati, Boston, Maine, Tucson, Baltimore, Ontario, Northern Virginia, Seattle and France.
- They live all over the metropolitan area (four from the east side and 7 from the west side) and one lives in Eugene.
- Seven attended Jewish pre-school….two attended Jewish day school…nine attended Jewish overnight camp…seven were involved in Jewish youth groups…all but one have been to Israel…six were involved in Hillel while in college…six are married…and four have children. The impact of Jewish experiences in one’s young formative years cannot be denied.
- Careers span from educators (3), lawyers (2), writer, human resources professional, speech pathologist, consultant, social service counselor, and two are Jewish professionals (2). Hearing their career paths were all quite interesting.
- When asked about their expectations or why they applied to participate in the programs, comments ranged from: “I find it hard to connect with other young Jewish adults in my age range.” to “I want to meet community leaders and help the young adult Jewish community thrive even more.”
While talking with the program participants, I thought about how we measure the success of the program. Certainly we expect these individuals will assume leadership roles throughout the Jewish community (and I hope our Jewish organizations board and committee structures are open to their participation). We will educate them on the current structure of the organized Jewish community and look at models for the future. And, most importantly, we want them to exercise leadership in the years ahead. I look forward to sharing more as the program continues.
Finally, on Wednesday, I took the day off to chaperone my son’s 6th grade field trip to Beacon Rock (in Stevenson, Washington near Skamania Lodge). You may recall that on Wednesday it rained quite hard all day. The students, however, in their rain gear were not deterred and determined to hike up to the top (861 feet high). It was actually a lot of fun. While climbing, I also had the chance to “just get away” and reflect. You see, Wednesday was the seventh anniversary of my mother’s passing (who I have written about before). I could hear her telling me her favorite phrase:
Success is when you make a difference in someone else’s life.
That was my mother’s mantra. It is what I believe. And it makes me feel good when I think about it. In fact, I feel very successful. You should feel successful. People who I/we may never know all across the globe have their lives made better each and every day by our work with your philanthropic support. Be proud! Be excited by what our community is accomplishing! And know our community’s future is in excellent hands with 12 special individuals who will each have major success.
Shabbat shalom and I hope to see you Saturday night at the Gala.
PS - There will be no Marc's Remarks next week.