The Centennial Fund for a Jewish Future, our Federation’s initiative to secure permanent endowment dollars to fund Jewish identity building programming, has had exceptional progress since its inception just five years ago. To date, approximately $24 Million in commitments have been secured and with much of those commitments already being paid by generous donors, we are already making an impact.
At a meeting of the Founders of the Centennial Fund for a Jewish Future, we reviewed the effect of some of the programs that are being funded. One, a new initiative at the Hillel Jewish University Center, is a newly created position, the Israel Engagement Coordinator. An article in the Jewish Chronicle last week (click here to see it) highlighted Mike Feinberg, the impact Israel experiences have had on him and the impact he is now having in this new position. At a time when Birthright Israel has experienced a slight decline in registrations nationally, we have had incredible growth in our numbers. And because Michael is in this role, we are well equipped to do quality follow up with these Birthright participants upon their return to Pittsburgh.
Another program, that is funded generously by the Papernick Family Foundation along with the Centennial Fund for a Jewish Future, is One Happy Camper. OHC provides $1,000 incentive grants to first time overnight Jewish camp participants. The data shows that our retention rate (meaning campers returning for a second year when there is no incentive) is well above the national average. And we know from the research by the Foundation for Jewish Camp that a high percentage of those receiving these grants chose a Jewish camp because of the One Happy Camper program.
We fund great things that make us all feel good. And it is reassuring to know that we are tracking measurable outcomes to know with certainty that feel good programs are actually resulting in intended outcomes.
If you are interested in learning how you might establish a permanent endowment fund within the Jewish Federation’s Foundation to support the Centennial Fund for a Jewish Future or any other aspect of our Jewish community, please email us and one of our experts in planned giving will be in touch with you.
Finally, and perhaps most timely, this upcoming week is Fundfest. It gives a chance for every member of our Jewish community to get on the phones to call others to support the incredible work of our Jewish Federation. Even if you haven’t yet registered for a session, I promise we’ll have a phone for you, nosh and plenty of people to contact. Click here for the times and dates of all the sessions this week.