I was recently speaking with someone I had met from overseas. This individual had asked me what I do for a living, and I began to explain my role at Federation. He asked several questions, and I described how we raise funds annually to support local and overseas agencies, especially those who help the vulnerable and educate the young, how we provide programming for adults and kids, convene the community for celebration and collective action, and act to confront antisemitism. He wasn't familiar with the Federation model, and he was astounded when I shared with him the role we played in raising funds and awareness for Ukraine Emergency Relief, and the Security Initiative we recently unveiled. One thing he said to me really resonated. He said - you know, from what you've described, you guys are doing things no one else can do.
The more I think about it, the more I see his point. We were uniquely placed to act quickly for Ukraine relief. Our relationships through Jewish Federations of North America, and the capacity they had to act with lightning speed - capacity our annual campaign helps to build every year - made an incredible difference on the ground, which Lisa Green and I saw with our own eyes, and which made the deployment of the emergency funds we raised direct and effective. We all were able to save lives.
Our Security Initiative is different in almost every way, but it is the same in that the Federation is uniquely placed to develop and deploy it, across the entirety of Rockland's Jewish community and their institutions. We were able to source multi year funding for this initiative from among regional and national partners; we have been able to access a first in the nation matching grant; we have leveraged the initiative to develop relationships where we have never had them before; we are committing to sharing best practices within and beyond our community not as a condition, but as a purpose. Together we will be able to secure Jewish lives.
So, as we get ready to launch our 2023 Annual Campaign in the weeks ahead, it is the distinctive, collaborative, and the essential that we aspire to achieve, and it is Federation's singular capacity to uniquely deliver initiatives like these that inspires me to ask for your partnership. I am a realist. It may be that there are limits to what we can achieve together. But we are nowhere near those limits yet, I can assure you. So let's push hard and test those limits, together.