MILWAUKEE – Donations have again increased for the Annual Campaign of Milwaukee Jewish Federation, reaching $6.35 million.
“This is a significant increase,” said Caren Goldberg, chief development officer for Milwaukee Jewish Federation.
The $6.35 million for 2018 beats the $6.17 million raised for the Annual Campaign in 2017. The Annual Campaign has been rising in recent years and compared with just four years ago, the 2018 amount represents an increase of more than $600,000.
“The needs of the community are increasing so it’s great to see that the generosity of the community is increasing,” said Hannah Rosenthal, president and CEO of Milwaukee Jewish Federation.
Some of the success of the Annual Campaign can be attributed to $150,000 in matching gifts raised, with help from major donors.
Lauri Roth, the 2018 Annual Campaign chair, is also credited with passionately working to find new donors and to invigorate those who’ve recently given. “Lauri worked tirelessly to broaden our base,” Goldberg said.
Roth visited every board of an agency that receives funds from the Annual Campaign. She asked for board member participation and told them, “when the Federation does well, every agency does well.”
The Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center and Yeshiva Elementary School board members gave at 100 percent. Several other boards came close, or perhaps are hitting the 100 percent mark just as the Chronicle goes to press.
The Federation reports that 872 donors increased their gifts this year over last year. That’s more than 50 percent of the Federation’s total donors making an increase or a first time gift in 2018.
“I really think there’s no secrets to success.” Roth said. “I think it’s the result of preparation, of inclusiveness, of hard work and learning from our past and reaching to our future.”
“I feel like every campaign chair puts their own personal touch, their own handprint on the Campaign. My biggest goal has been to raise the base, to grow the base, which means I want more donors. For me success is that we get lots of new people to understand what the Federation does, along with our mission and donating to the cause.”
She added, “We’re doing great with that.”
Women’s Philanthropy raised more than $1.5 million towards the Federation’s Annual Campaign, from hundreds of donors.
Judy Coran is the 2018 Women’s Campaign chair for Women’s Philanthropy. “The campaign was very successful this year. We had enthusiasm and energy from both seasoned and brand new donors as well as volunteers,” she said.
“It’s just a really gracious and giving community,” Coran said. “It’s tikkun olam. It’s our duty as Jews. I feel truly blessed that I’m able to do something like this.”
Legacy donors also contributed to the Annual Campaign mightily – about $900,000 this year. Their contribution has been increasing, along with growing contributions from present-day donors.
“We also have had kick-offs that excited the community,” Rosenthal said. “They filled the rooms.”
Annual Campaign kick-offs featured journalists Mara Liasson and David Gregory for 2018 and 2017 respectively.
“An increased campaign primarily comes from two things. One is an increase in the number of donors and the other is increased giving by our existing donors. And we have been blessed in the last year to see both,” said Andrea Schneider, board chair for Milwaukee Jewish Federation. “A rise in campaign gives us the opportunity to really benefit more people and that’s the whole purpose of a campaign.”
Rosenthal also noted that the Annual Campaign dollars are invaluable because they provide unrestricted funds to local agencies and unrestricted dollars are the hardest dollars to raise.
Looking ahead to next year, Goldberg said, “This means that we can do more for the community.”
Rosenthal agreed: “We wish we could double the size of our campaign and it would still not meet the needs.”
Roth likes a mantra, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.“
“Together we make things happen,” she said. “Together we change things and together we make things better. I am thrilled to be working with the professionals and community members for a most meaningful cause – our Jewish community!”