Shalom Chaverim,

Gratitude. One of my favorite words – and sentiments – and one that has remained top of mind since I assumed the position of President and CEO of Jewish Federation.

I can think of no better word to describe my feeling – and that of our many dedicated volunteers and staff – when we learned that we reached our highest-ever Community Campaign goal in 2017. Our final Community Campaign total – $5.42 million – exceeded our original 2017 goal of $5.2 million. The final count resulted in a 6.5% increase over our 2016 Community Campaign.

We are so proud of the work we have done, and full of gratitude for the Jewish community members – our generous donors – who came together to make this great achievement happen. These monies will go to support more than 80 local and overseas programs and services. Services that will support the most vulnerable in our community, and programs that will help enhance our community – allowing us to continue to enhance our vibrant community.

The power each of you – as donors, volunteers and Jewish Federation employees – brings to the collective is a wonderful testament to the power of working together. Together, we can make things happen, and together, we have created a very positive transformation in Jewish Federation and the work we are able to do with our partner organizations, whether in Kansas City or around the world.

As an organization, one of our 2018 goals is to continue planning and convening the community. Earlier this week, we embarked on a community dialogue to begin the process of determining our community’s needs, hopes and dreams. We will continue to work closely with partner organizations to develop strategies that result in maximum impact. To date, these conversations have led to TribeKC, the millennial concierge position for young Jewish professionals, and our recently released Right Start Preschool Incentive Program, which encourages young families to send their children to Jewish preschool. We look forward to helping identify and create additional programs and services that enrich our community in the future.

I would like to extend a very special thank you to our Campaign leadership, who gave so much of their time to make the 2017 Community Campaign a success: John Isenberg, Board Chair, Lisa Bernard, Women’s Philanthropy Board Chair, Trudy Jacobson, Campaign Chair, Barb Kovacs & Amy Shapiro, Women’s Philanthropy Campaign Co-Chairs, Dan Scharf, Major Gifts Chair, Ward Katz & Howard Weiner, Campaign Cabinet, Jeremy Antes & Mike Berenbom, Ben Gurion Society Co-Chairs, and Seth Katz & Hannah Reissner, Young Adult Campaign Co-Chairs.
I would also like to thank our challenge grant donors, who energized our campaign efforts in 2017: Lead challenge grant donors Barnett & Shirley Helzberg, as well as Stanley J. Bushman, Robert Cutler, Howard & Cris Ellis, the Arvin Gottlieb Charitable Foundation, John & Jenny Isenberg, Trudy & John Jacobson, the Lowenstein Family Supporting Foundation, the Norman and Elaine Polsky Family Charitable Foundation, Irv Robinson & Ellen Miller, and David & Ellice Vittor.

Last but certainly not least, I thank every staff member at Jewish Federation, without whom we couldn’t have reached this milestone achievement. #gratitude