I received the following e-mail this week:
I’m certain you’ll agree that there are many most-worthy Jewish charities. I get many solicitations each week from Jewish organizations based in both the U.S. and Israel. It might be useful for you, in one of your weekly communications, to explain how all of these other worthy charities work with Federation in a manner that helps individuals allocate their charitable dollars. For example, does one’s gift to Federation preclude the need to donate to these others?
- Great question. I would say that it can, but it doesn’t have to. Yes, if you only plan to write one check, you will get the most bang for your buck with the Jewish Federation. One gift to the Jewish Federation touches more Jewish lives than any other.
- Locally, your Federation gift supports the many programs that Federation offers: engaging educational speakers, social action projects, Jewish educator resources, Israel education, Holocaust education, interfaith relations, youth and young adult engagement, chaplaincy services, etc.
- Additionally, your Federation gift supports many local Jews and Jewish organizations: 2 JCCs, 2 day schools, 4 Hillels, Jewish Family Services, Daughters of Sarah, day and overnight camps, trips to Israel, students with individual learning needs, synagogues, etc.
- Together, with other Jewish Federations in North America, we support the international works of Hillel, the JCC Association, Association of Jewish Family & Children’s Agencies, American Jewish World Service, BBYO, Foundation for Jewish Culture, HIAS, JCPA, JTA, National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry, Birthright, etc.
- We work with our two main overseas partners, the Jewish Agency for Israel and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, to help Jews in need who live in 70 countries around the world. We bring food to the hungry and protection to the vulnerable. We help people immigrate to the safety of Israel and resettle them in a free and democratic society. In Israel, we fund trauma services during war time and work to eliminate the suffering of people who are underprivileged.
Having said all of that, it is still important to donate to other organizations that are personally meaningful. Even if Federation already provides funding to these Jewish organizations, of course it is ok to offer additional support.
Ilana and I support my day school because it helped form not only who I am as a person, but also all of our children. We support our camp because it is where we met, and we want others to enjoy the same matchmaking experience. We support our college Hillels and Chabads because they were there for us, as we support our daughters’ Hillel and Chabad because they are there for them. We support cancer research because my sister is a survivor, and people should not suffer the way that she has. We plant trees in Israel. We support our synagogue.
Our gifts to Federation exceed all of these because we believe that Federation is so vitally important.