A new strategic plan, unveiled by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh at its annual meeting, is aimed to position the umbrella organization as a community convener and to grow its leadership role to “serve the global Jewish community and create a better Pittsburgh,” according to a statement released to the Chronicle.
In prerecorded remarks during the Sept. 12 virtual meeting, Federation President & CEO Jeff Finkelstein said that after more than a century in existence, the organization needed to continue to adapt to the new realities of the 21st century.
Central to the three-year strategic plan are new mission and vision statements. The new mission, to “cultivate resources, connect people and collaborate across the community to live and fulfill Jewish values,” was created by an ad hoc committee that included Jewish leaders from across the Pittsburgh area. Federation board and staff contributed to an updated vision: “A flourishing Jewish community where everyone feels included, supported and inspired.”
The language of inclusion, Finkelstein said at the meeting, implies “that the only way to achieve a flourishing Jewish community is when everyone — every individual — feels supported and inspired.”
To facilitate the new strategic plan, the Federation’s staff and volunteers, the various Jewish agencies it supports, and thought leaders across the Jewish community will focus on four goals, Finkelstein said.
The first is to establish Federation as the leading convener of local Jewish organizations and to help drive initiatives that enable all members of the Jewish community to feel included, engaged, safe and supported.
“This goal goes directly to the core, the heart of our vision,” Finkelstein said, noting that it will allow Federation to strengthen organizations and invest more deeply in leadership development.
The second goal, he said, is to position Federation as one of the foremost centers for “impactful philanthropy” in the region.
“We have the opportunity to work together to transform Pittsburgh, our entire Pittsburgh community and Jewish communities around the world,” he said.
This philanthropic goal, Finkelstein said, goes hand-in-hand with Federation’s third objective: addressing communitywide challenges to create a more equitable and livable Pittsburgh.
“Our younger generations,” Finkelstein said, “expect that their Judaism will be reflected in making the world a better place.”
To help accomplish the three goals, Finkelstein said, the Federation has a fourth priority — to modernize and invest in the organization’s infrastructure, making it more data- and results-driven.
“Some things definitely won’t change,” he said. “We will continue to lead the fight against antisemitism, we will remain steadfast supporters of Israel. We will continue to support Jewish agencies, to provide Jewish community security and to represent our Jewish community in communitywide conversations.”
Finkelstein acknowledged that the strategic goals presented during the meeting were broad, and many details have yet to be finalized. He invited to community to share input and voice concerns over the coming years.
“Above all, the Jewish Federation represents you,” he said.
David Sufrin, Federation’s board chair, opened the meeting by noting that last year, the Federation raised $52.5 million — marking the first time Federation surpassed $50 million in annual fundraising. Of that sum, $13.7 million came from the Community Campaign, and the remainder came from corporate, foundation, government and other supplemental funding.
More than $9 million was distributed for COVID relief, Sufrin said. Those funds primarily aided seniors, vulnerable populations, youth, young adults and families.
An examples of how the funds were used included purchasing personal protective equipment for people working with seniors in long-term care facilities, which enabled the Jewish Association on Aging to realize better pandemic outcomes than 94% of U.S. nursing facilities. In total, Federation distributed more than $44.6 million to support the Jewish community, Sufrin said.
Meyer “Skip” Grinberg was awarded the Emanuel Spector award, recognizing his lifelong service to the community.
The Doris and Leonard H. Rudolph Jewish Communal Professional Award was presented to Aleph Institute Executive Director Rabbi Moishe Mayir Vogel.
The annual meeting can be viewed at youtube.com/watch?v=TFeSQl72_kI. PJC
David Rullo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.