By Alex Krutchik and David Holzel
During the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington raised $51.9 million. That was a 21 percent increase over 2020’s total of $42.9 million. The results of The Federation’s 2021 campaign were announced in an email to Federation stakeholders by Zach Briton, the agency’s chief development officer.
The Federation is the organized Jewish community’s central planning and allocations agency. It reported it raised the total from 7,500 donors, down from 8,000 donors during its 2020 fundraising campaign.
Federation CEO Gil Preuss said many nonprofit organizations across the country have experienced a decrease in the number of donors, even as they see an increase in overall dollars.
The dollars raised are nearly evenly split between the annual campaign and Federation’s United Jewish Endowment Fund (UJEF). The UJEF is The Federation’s planned giving and endowment arm. According to Briton, the UJEF has $319.6 million under management.
Of the $24.5 million raised for the annual campaign, $20.5 are unrestricted funds that will be distributed through The Federation’s allocation process.
Some $4 million were raised for the agency’s strategic priorities and fields of interest, including individual and family needs, ensuring success and resilience of Jewish communal organizations, and investing in vibrant Jewish life, according to The Federation.
Previous fields of interest included: engaging the next generation of Jewish life, strengthening Jewish life in Northern Virginia and expanding Jewish adult learning. According to a spokesperson, The Federation now includes those elements in its Vibrant Jewish Life strategy.
Briton listed The Federation’s community priorities in 2022 as “caring for individuals and families in need, strengthening and sustaining security in our region as we continue to combat antisemitism, and expanding opportunities for community members of all ages and backgrounds to engage in Jewish life, learning and peoplehood.”
Preuss said that security has become a fundraising and funding focus as antisemitic attacks continue, such as the hostage-taking in Colleyville, Texas, last month.
“We know that the Jewish community and Jewish organizations are increasingly under attack,” Preuss said. “We need to make sure that we have secure organizations, both from a capital and physical security perspective, as well as ongoing training.”
The funds raised exceeded the campaign goal, according to The Federation. The original campaign goal was $22 million, $20.2 million for the core campaign and an additional $1.8 million through field of interest funds.
“The community really came together in support of the needs that are out there, and in making sure that we continue to address both the immediate needs of helping people while also building a stronger Jewish community going forward,” Preuss said.
In addition, $3 million was raised as directed gifts for the community outside of the annual campaign.
In his email, Briton said that after a yearlong strategic planning process, the United Jewish Endowment Fund will take on an expanded role and a new name as the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Washington.