Buncher Family, JDC and Federation: Investing in People

Wednesday evening, in a small program at the Heinz History Center, a group of us gathered for the launch of the publication of a book entitled Buncher: 25 Years of Investing in People. The Buncher Family from Pittsburgh has been a driving force in Jewish communities around the world in training and cultivating both professional and volunteer leadership for over 25 Years. The Buncher Leadership Program of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) was launched in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and JDC to address a critical need for high quality leadership. With hundreds of graduates in dozens of countries, “Buncherians”, as they are called, are using their skills to build Jewish community.

At the event, we heard from Agata Rakowieck, the Director of the Jewish Community Center of Warsaw. This young, dynamic person shared her work to build Jewish community and care for Jews in need in a relatively new Jewish community (since the fall of communism). She is a product of our Federation’s good works. She attended the Szarvas Jewish Summer camp in Hungary. She made Aliyah. And now, she is using skills that the Buncher Leadership Program and the JDC (funded by Federation) provided to her to give back in her native land.

While the CEO of the JDC was here in Pittsburgh for the event, we hosted him at the Federation to speak to our staff about the work they accomplish with our financial support. Feeding over 100,000 elderly seniors across the Former Soviet Union, strengthening Jewish communities like in Warsaw and monitoring Jews in dangerous places like the 6,000 Jews of Venezuela, JDC’s reach is immense. Each Federation donor can feel good knowing that we are an important part of JDC’s mission.

There is a line that really has been used around the environmental movement to “Think Globally, Act Locally.” As you can see, Federation thinks and acts both locally and globally all the time.

Shabbat Shalom.

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