Today is November 19, 2019 -

Pew & Economics

As I discussed in last week’s article, many Jewish thinkers are focusing their efforts on confronting the Pew Problem: How can Jewish organizations fill their seats with more active participants? While I am proud to manage one of the great Jewish Federations in America, I do not proclaim myself to be one of our great Jewish thinkers! My degrees are in accounting and finance. Therefore, I tackle this problem by referring to the tried-and-true efforts of some of our esteemed American economists for solutions.

John Stuart Mill was a strong believer of expanded government. John Maynard Keynes believed in supply and demand. FDR’s New Deal used these two economic principles to bring the United States out of the Great Depression.

Can we use these principles to combat the Pew Problem?

I see these principles as the essence of our strategic plan to expand the role of Jewish Federation. We need programs: Federation programs, synagogue programs, agency programs, scholarships for Jewish camps, scholarships for day schools, scholarships for Israel trips, more speakers, more programs for the young adults, more services for the seniors, more food for the world’s hungry. We need to supply.

On the other side, we need to boost demand to feed that supply. We need outreach, engagement, better web presence, more love for Israel, more love for Judaism, and more collaboration with our partners.

It’s all in our strategic plan. Mill, Keynes, and FDR would be proud!

Our demand initiatives are underway. KB Goodkin, our resident Director of Community Engagement and Advancement, guest-blogged two weeks ago about our new Community Engagement Package. This week, 25 young adults gathered at Federation for an informational session regarding the annual TribeFest conference in New Orleans this spring. This, and all of our other events, can be found on our completely revamped Federation website.

Our supply initiatives are also underway. We have hosted three new programs in Columbia County, as well as one new program in Saratoga. Three trips to Israel have been planned. We have allocated money directly to local synagogues to foster local programming. Our community partners have responded to our call-to-action by presenting us with scores of opportunities for 2014 funding. On Monday night, our Allocations Committee will be meeting for first-round discussions to consider which community program requests are most worthy for the available funds.

We learned from our 2010 demographic study that most of you do not like high-pressure solicitation. I appreciate that. I would much rather show you a convincing reason to give. Economic theory without funding is simply theory. Please consider my personal invitation to become part of the solution.

Preview of Issue 21: Grants and allocations.

Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York

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