Bringing People and Businesses Together

Federation innovation spans the non-profit and for-profit worlds.

Several years ago, the Federation launched an initiative called 412×972 with the goal of connecting Pittsburgh area businesses with those in Israel. It’s been exciting watching the steady growth of this work. This past week, 412×972’s Executive Director Gal Inbar brought 8 cutting-edge Israeli companies to Pittsburgh for the Pittsburgh Robotics Network Discovery Day at the Convention Center. Robotics is a “sweet spot” industry where the Pittsburgh region and Israel are global leaders. Gal shared that brand new connections were developed at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center and existing ones were strengthened. We expect new and significant business relationships to blossom. It’s so inspiring to see how we are able to help the economies in both locations and deepen business relationships with mutual benefits. It’s out-of-the-box thinking that led to develop this unique approach. That’s part of our Federation DNA. (You can read a story about some of the participating Israeli companies in the Jewish Chronicle.)

Our Federation staff formally kicked off our staff campaign (you should know that we ask all our staff to donate to the Community Campaign and they are as generous as they are talented). Matthew Bolton, the Director of the JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry, presented to our team about their life preserving work. The distinctiveness of the Pantry model is that providing food is only one aspect of their mission. JFCS wraps other services around the pantry to offer job counseling and other supports. Several times during his presentation, Matthew went out of his way to thank the Federation not just for the financial support, but for our convening role in bringing together JFUNDS, a collaboration of the Jewish Federation’s Jewish Scholarship Service, Hebrew Free Loan, the Jewish Federation’s Israel Scholarships, Jewish Assistance Fund, the Jewish Federation’s Passport to Israel program and the JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry. JFUNDS is another innovative approach providing the very best financial supports to people in need by placing the client at the center.

There is a false dichotomy expressed in articles I read about the nonprofit sector which define nonprofits as either start-ups/entrepreneurial or legacy organizations. Each of the above examples (and there are many more) are illustrative of how our Jewish Federation, a proud legacy organization with over 110 years of service to our Pittsburgh community, continues to improvise and ideate to deepen our impact. You fuel these efforts and we thank you.

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Thanksgiving.

Jeff Finkelstein

President & CEO

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