Annual Campaign Fundraiser Talking Points
Each year, the Jewish Federation’s Community Campaign supports our mission to improve the lives of Jews here at home, in Israel and around the world. We seek to create a vibrant, thriving and engaged Jewish community in Pittsburgh.
Following the horrific attack on the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha, Dor Hadash and New Light congregations, now more than ever, the Federation and the Community Campaign are critical and have never been more relevant. Some donors may be aware of this fact and even share our sense of urgency. Some may be hesitant or confused because so much money has been contributed to the Victims of Terror Fund. Below are some ways to talk with them about this year’s Community Campaign.
The importance of our Jewish Federation is exceedingly clear in the aftermath of the attack on three Pittsburgh congregations.
- Now more than ever, the role of the Jewish Federation in the community is undeniable. The reason the Federation was able to coordinate an immediate response to the attack on October 27 is that you and people like you supported the Jewish Federation’s work on October 26 and for 100+ years before.
- We were on the ground during the early hours after the shooting – organizing, strategizing, coordinating and implementing the community response. Our operational capabilities, collaboration with the Jewish Community Center (JCC) and Jewish Family and Community Service (JFCS), as well as relationships with a wide range of communal partners and governmental officials did not happen by accident. It is because of the strength and relevance of Federation that our response was seamless on October 27.
- The work of Federation’s Community Security Director, working with Jewish Federation of North America’s Secure Community Network (SCN), saved lives. The training that the Jewish Federation delivered to synagogue staff resulted in the right people making the right decisions during a crisis—and the Community Campaign made the hiring of a Community Security Director and that training possible. Our campaign dues paid to the Jewish Federation of North America pay for SCN.
- Right now, the Jewish Federation’s expert planning staff are working with Jewish agencies and community members to assess new needs resulting from the attack. The Community Campaign funding process resulted in the Jewish Federation’s unique expertise in determining the most important needs in the community today and in the future, and this expertise is critical in identifying new needs that our community will have to meet going forward.
- Supporting Jewish Pittsburgh through the Community Campaign sends a message that our community and the world needs to hear: when hate comes to the Pittsburgh Jewish community, we come back stronger.
While the Jewish Federation helped so many after the shooting, this terror attack will present significant, ongoing challenges.
- We will each recover from the horror that rocked our community at our own pace. We must stand up and be counted because the health and vitality of our Jewish community is at stake. If we do not take responsibility for Jewish Pittsburgh, who will? This is our community, and the Community Campaign is the key to strengthening our already thriving, vibrant community.
- The Jewish Federation continues to help Jewish Pittsburgh recover from the attack. That remains a focus, but the needs that existed in our community prior to October 27 still exist, and the daily operations and programs of our community partner organizations cannot continue without your support.
- I am really proud of our Pittsburgh Jewish community and the entire city of Pittsburgh. The outpouring of support has been incredible. We know, however, the attack created new, pressing needs on top of all of the existing ones that the Community Campaign supports. Making our community more resilient is critical right now. That work may include more security, counseling for kids and teens, support for rabbis and spiritual leaders, support for Holocaust survivors and other community members who have been re-traumatized by this attack — and needs we don’t understand and have not uncovered yet.
- People gave an extraordinary amount of money for The Victims of Terror Fund to support the victims’ families and the injured. The Jewish Federation chartered an independent committee the “Relief Fund Committee,” operating outside of the Federation, and gave them the responsibility to determine the distribution of these funds to the injured and to the victims’ families. None of these funds will support the Federation or its agencies. There are additional community needs, however, that resulted from the shooting and that have to be funded through our Community Campaign. The Jewish Federation funded four weeks of extra security to any Jewish institution who requested it following the attack, at a rate of more than $30,000 per week. But we’re talking about the preservation of human life. That’s really what we’re asking — for your support to save lives and create a community more resilient than it has ever been before.
We need you now more than ever to support our community through Federation’s Community Campaign.
- Your contributions from previous years made a great impact: from scholarships to children in day schools and Jewish camps, to food for seniors, to Jewish identity-building programs like PJ Library and Onward Israel, young adult leadership development, and the hundreds of thousands of lives we impact collectively.
- The Jewish Federation is the heart of Jewish Pittsburgh—bringing people together to help. Your support for the Community Campaign has built amazingly strong relationships among our Jewish agencies. It’s largely because of those relationships that we experienced such immediate and intense cooperation after the attack.
- It is your support over the years that built the foundation of our community. Your contributions to our Community Campaign enable us to respond swiftly to whatever comes our way.
- We cannot let one anti-Semitic terrorist win. We can’t let this attack impact the work we do throughout the year to build a Jewish future for our children, for our young adults, for those in need, and for all of us. We must work together to mourn, to heal and to return stronger than we were on October 26. We must not just survive but thrive and rebuild.
- We are stronger together. When you give through the Community Campaign, you do your part to show that strength to the world.