The Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago today closed its 2013 Annual Campaign at $81.54 million, $2.2 million more than the 2012 Campaign total. This is the largest one-year increase since the economic downturn in 2008. The Campaign secured 4,790 new gifts in 2013 and the total number of gifts was close to 1,000 more than in 2012.
The Annual Campaign is the largest piece of a multi-pronged fundraising effort that last year yielded $198,386,439 to support JUF's vital network of social service agencies.
In addition to the Annual Campaign, JUF/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago raises funds through bequests, the Centennial Campaign, corporate partnerships, donations to emergency relief efforts, donor advised funds, support foundations, and other sources. As a major funder of social welfare endeavors aimed at serving the needs of the most vulnerable populations in Illinois, the Federation also is a recipient of significant grants - totaling nearly $11.5 million in 2013 - from government and foundations. In addition, the Federation is a major beneficiary of the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago.
"It is humbling to witness how our donors have responded to an uptick in the economy with an equal, if not greater, uptick in charitable giving. They are turning right around and using their improving situations to help others who remain in need," said Michael Zaransky, 2013 Campaign Chair.
The Annual Campaign is JUF's largest fundraising vehicle, aimed at underwriting more than 70 humanitarian agencies and programs that feed, clothe, shelter, educate, and provide healthcare, rescue and respite to 300,000 Chicagoans of all faiths and 2 million Jews in Israel and around the world.
"This is a tremendous testament to the resilience and generosity of our community, and the incredible work of our lay leadership and professional staff," said JUF Chairman David T. Brown.
The 2013 Campaign sets a strong foundation for the organization to meet its budgetary obligations and address challenges that lie ahead following J-HELP, the recently-concluded initiative launched at the start of the recession. The initiative was launched to help needy Chicago-area Jews weather the economic storm, including many who had previously been JUF donors, but found themselves newly in need of support in the wake of job cuts and major financial losses. J-HELP brought in nearly $6 million of JUF revenue last year alone.
"J-HELP increased our agencies' capacity to provide basic human services when the bottom fell out of the economy, helping people feed their children, pay their rent, and find jobs," Zaransky said. In lieu of J-HELP, new initiatives such as the 2014 JUF Match Fund and the Breakthrough Fund aim to help JUF continue to nimbly and effectively meet crucial community needs moving forward.
"Though our nation may be on the road to recovery, many of the most vulnerable people we serve continue to struggle," said Brown. "We are fortunate to have such a robust engine for resource development that ensures we can continue to be there for those who need us most."
Numbers tell the story
In 2013, through JUF-supported agencies and programs, Chicago's Jewish community provided 469,288 meals, food bags and grocery gift cards to those in need; gave more than $4.7 million in emergency cash grants to help nearly 4,000 families with housing, medicine and other critical needs; helped over 1,000 unemployed professionals find jobs; made sure that 22,947 people got free or highly subsidized mental or physical healthcare; and provided support services that helped 5,802 seniors stay in their homes rather than having to move to institutionalized care. The JUF Hunger Awareness Project, a call to action on hunger issues in the Chicago community, was also launched last year.
Compared to 2008, food assistance last year went to almost three times as many people in need; four times as many cash grants were given; 30% more workers received employment services; scholarships to Jewish camps rose 182% and those for Jewish preschools were up 268% - and that was just in the Chicago area. Generous JUF donors also responded immediately to disasters throughout the country, sending critical aid in the aftermath of last year's deadly flooding in Colorado and destructive tornadoes in central Illinois.
Internationally, JUF's overseas programs helped almost 18,000 Jews from across the globe to begin new lives of freedom in Israel, providing assistance with housing, Hebrew language acquisition skills, and employment assistance. Seventeen thousand at-risk Israeli youth received scholastic and emotional support and an aggregate $10 million in direct aid has been provided to Israeli victims of terror.
JUF agencies also were there to provide food, medicine, home care, winter heating supplies and other necessities to 149,901 Jewish seniors and 27,722 impoverished children in the former Soviet Union, and Central and Eastern Europe.
A team effort
"Of course, success doesn't happen in a bubble, and we thank and acknowledge the many, many individuals who make what we do possible," said JUF President Steven B. Nasatir, who praised the work of Zaransky and the Campaign End-of-Year Co-Chairs Adam and Debbie Winick. "Our devoted volunteers worked tirelessly throughout the year to fulfill our mission, and we are deeply grateful to them, as well as to each of our JUF divisions and the countless congregations that spread the message and garnered support."
"The lay leadership and professional staff in Chicago are second to none," added Zaransky. "The Campaign is a collective effort."
JUF's Annual Campaign is driven in large part by the many divisions that make up the Jewish United Fund. Below is a breakdown of several key components that helped make this year's Campaign a success.
More than 500 donors attended the 2013 Vanguard Dinner, which featured veteran stand-up comedians and stars of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Susie Essman and Richard Lewis. The event raised close to $3 million from over 300 gifts for the 2013 Campaign - a 6% gift for gift increase.
ADVANCE & MAJOR GIFTS
JUF's 2013 Advance & Major Gifts Dinner, the single largest fundraising night of the JUF Campaign year, was held at the home of Lester and Renee Crown and featured former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. More than 200 people attended the dinner, which raised upwards of $24 million for the 2013 Campaign.
COUNTRY CLUB DAY
Country Club Day is one of the largest fundraising days of the year for JUF. In 2013, over 1,500 members attended JUF Country Club Day, spread across nine country clubs in the Chicagoland area, raising over $6 million for the 2013 Campaign - $1 million more than in 2012 - as well as raising critical awareness of JUF/Federation's work.
TRADES, INDUSTRIES & PROFESSIONS
In just three nights, at three dinners, the Trades, Industries & Professionals Divisions raised more than $1.9 million for the 2013 JUF Annual Campaign, through the generous support of more than 3,000 attendees. Of the 1,500 gifts made at the dinners, more than 300 were from first-time givers to JUF. In addition, the Trade Dinners brought in over $1.1 million in corporate sponsorship, exceeding totals from 2012.
"Thank you to the thousands of people who attended the 2013 TIP Dinners, as well as to our corporate sponsors who stepped up to help subsidize the dinners and support the community," said Jason L. Peltz, TIP Vice-Chair. "Together, we provided invaluable support to the 2013 campaign and reinforced TIP's leadership role in and responsibility to the community."
Guest speakers at 2013 TIP events included Ambassador Yehuda Avner, Author of The Prime Ministers: An Intimate Narrative of Israeli Leadership; Co-Founder & CEO of Whole Foods, John Mackey; and the Honorable Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark, New Jersey.
JUF Women's Division had another spectacular year of fundraising and programming throughout Chicago and the suburbs. The commitment, drive and generosity of the Women's Board, Young Women's Board, Young Women's City Council, and Women's City Council raised more than $12.8 million from more than 7,000 donors for the 2013 Annual Campaign. Successful events focused on matters such as Jewish identity, entrepreneurship and world politics. The Spring Event, the Women's Division's largest Campaign event of the year, brought a record-breaking 1,000 women together to hear guest speaker Chelsea Clinton. Other notable speakers at events throughout the year included mountain climber Alison Levine; Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, co-founder of Gilt Groupe and New York Times bestselling co-author of By Invitation Only: How We Built Gilt and Changed the Way Millions Shop; and Master Sommelier, Boarding House Keeper and former host of the hit PBS show Check Please!, Alpana Singh.
"I am very proud of the success achieved in total dollars raised, the quality of all our signature events and the stellar support from the Women's Division members," said 2013 Women's Board Campaign Chair Hilary Greenberg. "Building on a strong foundation, I am so pleased that we have helped raise the Campaign bar to a new level."
YOUNG LEADERSHIP DIVISION
In 2013, JUF's Young Leadership Division (YLD) connected thousands of young Jewish people to JUF through a wide variety of social and educational programming. YLD raised more than $2.4 million from more than 4,500 gifts. YLD kicked off the 2013 Campaign with the fifth annual Big Event featuring comedian Aziz Ansari, which attracted more than 2,400 attendees, including hundreds of first-time donors, and raised more than $300,000 for the community. Committed to building a strong next generation, YLD integrates a JUF educational component into most of their programming. In 2013, these programs included a summer trip to Israel, volunteer opportunities at JUF-supported agencies, sports leagues for a cause and leadership training.
"The success of YLD's 2013 campaign says a great deal about the priorities and commitment to tzedakah (righteous giving) and tikkun olam (repair of the world) of younger Jews living in and around Chicago," said 2013 YLD Campaign Chair David Goldenberg. "I'm very proud that my generation has again stepped up to the plate and done our part to build a strong Jewish community and provide for those in need."
CONGREGATIONS & COMMUNITY CAMPAIGN
In 2013, 36 congregations participated in 30 congregational events, raising more than $1.6 million through The Congregations & Community Campaign.
"Our congregations are the backbone of the Chicago Jewish community," said Jane Cadden Lederman, 2013 Chair. "Their partnership with JUF enables both to combine their energy and resources to provide the needed help locally and to Jewish communities around the world."
Over 2,800 people attended the events, which hosted prominent journalists, authors and other public figures. Overall, the Congregations & Community Campaign raised $6.3 million from more than 5500 donors.
JUF's Phonothon volunteers were an integral part of the success of the 2013 Campaign, raising $5.1 million at four community-wide events and surpassing the 2012 phonothon totals by more than $1 million. Throughout Chicago and the suburbs, more than 950 volunteers reached more than 3,500 donors.
Missions show JUF donors, first-hand, how their dollars are making an impact on Jewish communities abroad. Last year, close to 700 people traveled to Israel on JUF community, family and VIP missions. The trips raised more than $1 million for the 2013 Campaign.
"As my family and I experienced firsthand when we traveled to Israel for my daughter's bat mitzvah, the JUF Missions Department provides an unparalleled opportunity for members of our community to see up close the positive, life-changing impact JUF has on vulnerable population groups in Israel, and to gain a better understanding of why our support of JUF is so critical," said Sandy Perl, 2013 Missions Chair.
The 2013 calendar included three new missions. JUF partnered with the Birthright Foundation to target parents of Birthright alumni, with the goal of providing a similar Birthright type of experience to the parents. In addition, JUF sent 20 participants to Cuba in March for the first time in more than 10 years. JUF's Mission Israel 65 was a community mission, celebrating Israel's 65th anniversary in April.
ISRAEL SOLIDARITY DAY
For more than 30 years, JUF has hosted Israel Solidarity Day, Chicago's largest community-wide event celebrating Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel's Independence Day. Last year, more than 8,000 people from all parts of the community gathered at Highland Park's Ravinia Festival for the 2013 event, which also featured the Walk with Israel, in honor of Israel's 65th birthday, and J-Serve, a hands-on community service project for Jewish teens.
"To see thousands of people gathered for Israel Solidarity Day, not because of a specific crisis in Israel but only because of their love and whole-hearted support for Israel, was truly inspiring," said Rabbi Carl Wolkin, event co-chair.
The 2013 event brought in more than 600 more JUF gifts than 2012, and the money raised provided Israeli children with supplies to enrich learning and literacy.
Thirty-two Chicagoans ran the 2013 Bank of America Chicago Marathon as part of the inaugural "TeamJUF". Runners included JUF Chairman David T. Brown, Consul General of Israel to the Midwest Roey Gilad, as well as a former JUF client who is now a donor. The team raised more than $77,000 to support JUF.
'Continuing to build momentum'
"Being part of JUF is a way to be a part of the greater Jewish people, and express our Jewishness in the 21st century," Zaransky said, reflecting on his term as Campaign Chairman. "It's belonging to something bigger than the individual self. I think that feeling really resonated with the Jewish community this year."
Nasatir said the organization is looking forward to the new opportunities 2014 will bring. "We are constantly evolving and improving our ability to serve our changing community, and we look forward to continuing to build momentum as we move into the new year."