Israel and Overseas Council—May 2011

I would like to thank those that were able to attend and really feel we had a great discussion and things have clicked!  Hopefully everyone has a good understanding of our goals and direction we need to take. For those unable to make it I am going to do my best to summarize and ask all of you to feel comfortable in starting an email exchange if I summarized something wrong or missed something. In addition please feel free to add any new ideas or discussion issues you thought of on your way home after the meeting.
David gave an update  reporting that we could expect to make an Israel and Overseas Allocation of $500,000 to $600,000 to be used for new programing separate from the repayment plan we are currently negotiating with JFNA. Future IOC allocations will be paid on a monthly basis greatly reducing the opportunity to fall behind.  Steven Schwartz, Community Think Tank Chair attended the meeting and gave a review of the Think Tank and outlining the fact that we are designed to be the strategic planning arm of the community in assessing the needs of our overseas family and are striving to have a well-represented council and think tank.
Each council is posting their minutes and discussions at
The council will address the earlier outlined agenda and then focus our time in Nov/December on who we will be allocating our money to dependent on the closing of the CY 2011 Campaign.
The question that the council discussed today was-
“Envision the future of our relationship/responsibilities to Israel and Overseas”
We discussed what our donors feel and how they connect to the Federation and their giving. Depending on the generation  it is related to ethnicity and not a ritualistic motivation. People are looking for spirituality and this is evident by the growth of the Kollels and people’s desire to learn. In the past the Federation has been very crisis based for emergency fundraising needs (Yom Kippur War, Six Day War, Ethiopian Airlift, FSU Emigration) and now with the success of Israel the needs are changing.  Israel is now similar to other western economies. At the same time Israel has a significant underclass that needs help living under extreme pressures.  Council members felt if American Jews can have a connection and visit Israel and or Israeli’s coming to the States we can build an awareness. People to people projects  can be the hook to keep people connected. The newer generation is focused on social ills and looking for a renewal of spirituality. One example discussed  was the Ethiopian program of Yemin Mord that assists the Ethiopian population. Many donors or those in the 20’s to 40’s age group do not connect to the  days of Independence or the Holocaust.  Donors have to relate and connect to the programs we fund.
The council discussed Jewish communal needs outside of Israel such as the FSU, Africa or South America. As we near the end of this planning year it would be important for council members to prioritize and discuss further where they think the need is greatest. A great discussion was held on various Jewish organizations in parts of Africa and other areas where a smaller contribution could have a great impact. Donors may also connect with the social ills of medical relief organizations in parts of Africa assisting the Jewish community. Hannah, Michael and Jason are going to explore and report back to the Council other charities and causes benefiting our Jewish community throughout the world. David will get an initial contact from the JDC and then they will explore other programs. Are we better off giving to more local causes or through national/international organizations that may not be as cost efficient?
As requested by the council I wanted to provide what the IOC Funding looked like for the 2010/2011 FY Fed Campaign. Please keep in mind there was another revision to address the short allocation time period  which was revised when we shifted our budgeting to a CY basis as opposed to a FY one.
JFNA Core (Jewish Agency, JDC,ORT based on our “fair share” at the time): $822,852
Birthright: $39,811
TIPS: $155,039
Gift of Israel (matching fed program along w/temples to families for youth trips): $10,000
Realizing we are starting with a brand new process the question was asked if we would leave any program in jeopardy if funding suddenly stopped. The only program that would be effected  significantly because of the size of their budget would be TIPS.
Our next meeting will be on June 28 at 5:15 at the JFed Conf Room. We will finish our discussion on the above and discuss the benefits of thematic vs organization funding and how do we assess the needs.  In the meantime please think and do not hesitate to explore various other programs we can benefit.
I look forward to seeing you once I return from my TIPS Meeting in Kiryat Malachi mid June.  If you have any questions or thought please get in touch with me.  I appreciate your time and thank you for taking the responsibility of being accountable to our donors so seriously.