Federation fundraising growth slowed in 2019

Jewish Federation of Greater Washington building atrium, Rockville. Photo by WDG.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington raised nearly $21.4 million in 2019, a $200,000 increase over 2018.

The campaign results, released on Jan 31, were nearly flat from the previous year, said Federation CEO Gil Preuss.

Last year, Federation introduced three fields of interest that donors can direct their giving to. Those three — engaging the next generation of Jewish life, strengthening Jewish life in Northern Virginia, and expanding Jewish adult learning — drew some $1.5 million of the total funds raised in 2019 . Preuss said the three fields will still receive funds from the unrestricted donations, which the agency disburses as part of its planning and allocations process.

In 2018, the annual campaign saw a $900,000 increase over 2017. Preuss said he thinks the boost for 2018 was due to the new focus areas they had introduced.


“Part of it is that we are living in a world where people increasingly want to understand where their giving is going. People increasingly like to target their giving,” Preuss said, “which is also why we are seeing growth in the fields of interest, on the more focused fundraising.”

He hopes Federation will see a rise in donations after people see the impact of the newly funded programs, many of which have been operating for only a few months.

“I believe people want to see how their dollars made a difference and we’re just starting this process,” Preuss added.

“We are very much focused on the impact of the dollars that we raised in 2019, because at the end of the day the reason why we do these campaigns is so that we can fund local organizations and initiatives so that we can strengthen Jewish life here,” Preuss said. “We don’t raise the money just for the sake of raising the money.”

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Twitter: @jacqbh58

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