Modern Day Miracles – A 2019 Retrospective

Yesterday, our Federation staff held its annual Chanukah Staff Appreciation Luncheon. The whole team chips in taking different responsibilities to organize the food and decoration and setup and clean up. We honor staff members who have been with the Federation for five, ten, fifteen years, etc. I want to take this moment to publicly thank each of our team members for their incredible commitment and passion. This is not just the best Federation staff on the continent, it is the best staff. Period.

I used the opportunity to compile a list, with the help of my Management Team, of some of the highlights of what we as a Federation staff, in partnership with our volunteers, accomplished. I want to share that list, in no order of importance, with you. As we enter the holiday of Chanukah, we thank you for making modern day miracles happen:

  • Picked up where we left off in January 2019 after deferring all “normal” work for 2 ½ months after the October 27th attack
  • Closed the 2019 Campaign with an increase
  • Completed allocations process
  • Another year of the Grinspoon LIFE & LEGACYTM program with new additions of agencies and $18 Million in legacy commitments secured for our community
  • Launched a new young adult initiative
  • Launched 412×972 (an initiative to connect Pittsburgh and Israeli businesses)
  • Opened in a new location for the first time in sixty years and completed our move
  • Raised (with help from our day schools) and distributed EITC dollars of $5.5 Million and established our own SPE
  • Successfully distributed ALL Victim of Terror Funds and audited our process with our accounting firm
  • Over $600,0000 in security grants to synagogues and agencies distributed
  • $5 Million established as new funding source for nonprofit security from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
  • Clean audit for the Federation from our accounting firm
  • Holocaust Center exhibits at University of Pittsburgh and at the Holocaust Center with wide reach and recognition
  • Classrooms without Borders sold out antisemitism conference
  • This Is Us Campaign Launch with record turnout and positive giving to the campaign
  • Added Warsaw to our Partnership2Gether program with Karmiel and Misgav
  • Successful Honeymoon Israel and Momentum trips to Israel
  • Federation Board talking about high level, strategic issues with new Federation governance structure
  • Organized a bus to Harrisburg, including some of those most directly impacted by the shooting, for historic joint session of Senate and House to declare Stronger than Hate Day
  • Disgusting amount of food at Federation Feast (this is a day when all our staff brings in a different dish)
  • Close of Victims of Terror Funds with all the Marketing, Reporting, and communications
  • Near perfect one year commemoration of October 27th quarterbacked by Federation
  • Record number of volunteers involved in Volunteer Center
  • Study about Interfaith families published with data from our 2017 Community Study
  • David Broza performed at our Yom Haatzmaut celebration
  • 2020 Campaign now running at almost a 13% person for person increase!
  • Raised and successfully distribute more than $650,000 for the Muslim community of Christchurch
  • 28 new Lion Of Judah Endowments (LOJE) making Pittsburgh the highest achiever in the country
  • Relaunched Super Sunday
  • Traveled with 40 donors to Australia
  • Planned a sold out civil rights mission taking place this March
  • Wechsler Fellowship, our young adult training program, relaunched with a waiting list
  • Over 1,000 registered for Mitzvah Day next week
  • Helped Jewish Cemetery and Burial Association implement a business plan to care for more of our communal cemeteries
  • Community Relations Committee launched an initiative to deepen relationships between the Jewish and Black communities of Pittsburgh
  • Federation moving forward on its commitment to the Safety Respect Equity initiative to address sexual harassment and gender discrimination
  • Over 100 security trainings held in the community
  • Total resources secured by Federation of over $40 million
  • Record number of transactions processed by our finance team

Sure, there is more I could list, but I am so inspired and motivated to see all that our community can do in just a year. Imagine what we will accomplish in 2020, together!

Wishing you a happy Chanukah and a happy New Year. I’ll be writing again in just a few weeks.

Shabbat Shalom and Go Steelers!

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