Jewish Federation helps make Day of Giving a huge success

Jewish Federation helps make Day of Giving a huge success

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh placed in the Top 10 in terms of money raised during The Pittsburgh Foundation’s 2014 Day of Giving campaign held on May 6.

The Federation came in at No. 10 with $66,385 raised on that single day, including $9,433 in matching funds from The Pittsburgh Foundation.

More than $5.7 million was raised overall for nonprofit organizations in Allegheny, Westmoreland and Butler counties during The Pittsburgh Foundation’s sixth annual Day of Giving. Typically held in the fall, the event was moved to May this year so it could be part of the first Give Local America national event organized by the Council on Foundations. Eighty community foundations throughout the United States collectively raised over $50 million in this year’s campaign for more than 7,700 charitable organizations.

Locally, the participating Jewish organizations were the Agency for Jewish Learning, BBYO, Community Day School, the Friendship Circle of Pittsburgh, Hadassah Greater Pittsburgh Chapter, the Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh, the Hillel Jewish University Center, the Holocaust Center of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, the Jewish Assistance Fund, the Jewish Association on Aging, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, the Jewish Family & Children’s Service, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, Jewish Residential Services, JFilm: The Pittsburgh Jewish Film Forum of the Federation, the Kollel Jewish Learning Center, the National Council of Jewish Women Pittsburgh Section, the Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival (a program of the Federation), Rodef Shalom Congregation, Temple Emanuel of South Hills, Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Congregation, Temple Ohav Shalom and Temple Sinai.

The breakdown of amounts raised by individual organizations that did not place in the Top 10 will be released this week.

In 2013, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh ranked fourth in terms of money raised, bringing in $118,141 on the Day of Giving.

The discrepancy between the amounts raised in 2013 and 2014 stemmed from the shift of the Day of Giving from October to May, said Jeff Finkelstein, Federation president and CEO.

“It’s all timing more than anything,” Finkelstein said, adding that the Day of Giving is typically held in October at the commencement of the Federation’s annual campaign, and the dollars raised through the Day of Giving are all included as part of that annual campaign.

“This year, we had over $11 million raised for our annual campaign before the Day of Giving,” he said. “Last year, we had just raised $1 million or $2 million.”

Most of the money the Federation is gifted on the Day of Giving comes from donors who already pledged their gifts and use this as a way to pay their pledge, said Finkelstein.

“We are thankful for the Pittsburgh Foundation for doing this,” he added. “They’re great partners. And we gained several new donors from this year’s Day of Giving.”

The Pittsburgh Foundation received credit-card charitable gifts from 13,841 individual donors during the May 6 event. After the completion of financial reconciliations, the amount of matching funds for nonprofits in Allegheny County was confirmed at 17.8 cents for every dollar they received. In Westmoreland and Butler counties, which have a separate pool of funds, the match was 14 cents and 25 cents on the dollar, respectively. 

In terms of funds raised during the event, the leading organization in Allegheny County was the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, which received donations amounting to $142,851 and qualifying for matching funds totaling $25,480. Next was the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, which received $134,984 (plus matching funds of $19,974). Central Catholic High School ranked third with $95,422 ($13,881 in matching funs).

The Day of Giving, also known as PittsburghGives, was launched in 2009. Since then, the online site’s giving events have raised more than $35 million for the region’s nonprofit organizations.

The platform serves year-round as an online giving and research program for nonprofits to showcase their work in the community, detailing information about their charitable programs, missions, management and finances.

(Toby Tabachnick can be reached at

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