Central federation makes closing campaign push

Central federation makes closing campaign push

Supporters rally in effort to reach fund-raising goal

The Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey is nearing the close of its 2010-11 annual campaign.

Amy Cooper, the Central federation’s associate executive vice president and its director of financial resource development, said that the federation was within sight of its $4.3 million fund-raising goal but was still missing some key pledges.

Money raised by the federation is allocated to educational, social service, and Jewish identity institutions in the area, as well as to its partners in Israel and elsewhere overseas.

The closing date for payment is Dec. 30, but Sept. 30 is the final day for pledging to the 2010-11 campaign.

On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings this week, volunteers were making calls from the Wilf Jewish Community Campus in Scotch Plains to secure those final pledges. Those attending a federation executive board meeting on Monday were also asked to take to the phones. Their calls that evening brought in $30,000 in pledges from 42 people.

While dollar totals remain the key issue, the number of donors is also a big factor, said Cooper. Officials are hoping for a total of at least 3,468 donors — one more than last year. “Our goal is to close the campaign with more donors than 2010 — which closed with more donors than 2009,” she said. “That’s a trend in my book.”

Other efforts over the past 12 months have included such traditional annual events as a Pacesetter kickoff event featuring top donors, an all-day Super Sunday phonathon in early December, and the Women’s Philanthropy’s Main Event in May. Super Sunday brought in $524,000, an increase from the year before.

This year, Cooper said, the federation has stepped up its “public space Judaism,” with outreach events in a number of venues. “We’re looking to meet people where they are,” she said.

That has included efforts like the supermarket food drive in support of Jewish Family Service of Central NJ’s kosher food pantry. The federation also distributed material about its activities at programs in the broader community. Most recently the federation placed advertisements in the general media promoting the Central Pass program, offering free High Holy Day synagogue tickets to area newcomers.

As chair of financial resource development with the Central federation, Westfield financial adviser Don Rosenthal is the lay head of the annual campaign effort. He has also served as federation treasurer and was among those making calls on Monday night.

“I’m really pleased with the way campaign completion is going,” he said. “Considering the economy and the state of the market and people’s trepidation about their income, there was the potential for a dramatic drop-off. The fact that we’re on course for a flat total of more or less the same as last year is a moral victory.

“We’re very lucky that we have these very committed families in the community.”

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