Dr. Judy Coran is the 2021 Annual Campaign chair for Milwaukee Jewish Federation, taking on the role in an era of Zoom meetings and social distancing.
“Our fundraising methods will certainly be different in light of the pandemic – the new realities demand we adjust,” Coran said. “But our goal to help our community’s most vulnerable and to sustain vibrant Jewish life, though more challenging, remains the same.”
Coran will fill the key volunteer spot previously held by Lauri Roth, who led the 2020 Annual Campaign to its $6.5 million dollar goal. Annual Campaign fundraising supports financial resource development, outreach and engagement, and community planning in the Jewish community in Milwaukee.
“The Federation is a critical source of funding that supports our Milwaukee network of agencies and programs which meet vital human services for individuals and families at risk, create Jewish experiences, and strengthen Jewish community connections locally and around the globe,” Coran said.
Coran has been a Federation volunteer for more than 20 years, including serving on the Federation board for more than 10 years. Her campaign leadership roles have included serving as Women’s Campaign chair, twice as Maimonides Society co-chair with her husband, David, and as co-chair of Major Gifts. She also serves on the Jewish Federation of North America’s National Woman’s Philanthropy Board.
Coran said her favorite role was co-chairing the 2016 annual Lion of Judah & Pomegranate Society Luncheon with her mother, Muriel Becker, of blessed memory, who died last year.
“I would like to think that my mother would be especially proud to see me in this new role leading MJF’s annual campaign,” she said.
When she first started to donate to Federation, Coran said she put her trust in the organization to spend her dollars wisely. As she began to better understand Federation’s mission and impact, she decided to get more involved, feeling its efforts were indispensable to the community, she said.
“Federation has won my heart and passion – this is partly because its mission is very far reaching, diversified, and most importantly, impactful,” Coran said.
Coran said she is especially proud of Federation’s efforts to marshal emergency resources needed during the pandemic – stepping up to assist other local nonprofits with grant writing and applications for personal protective equipment; providing cash assistance; supporting food bank efforts; and providing protective equipment to synagogues and other organizations, among other efforts,
Coran, born and raised in the Milwaukee area, is an ophthalmologist. Her husband, David, is an orthopedic spine surgeon and the couple have three adult children. She attributes her passion for tikkun olam to her upbringing. Her parents, Muriel and Dr. Irving Becker, were involved with Jewish causes for as long as Coran can remember: “They gave of their time and their money, always running to meetings and fundraisers and letting us know that giving back was not optional, it was paramount.” According to Coran, they made tzedakah a priority in their lives, and were especially proud of their annual gift to Federation.
Coran expects to be meeting with people virtually, as a stand-in for face-to-face fundraising or campaign events. “I look forward to meeting, make that Zooming, with as many members of our community as possible. It will be different, but will still be rewarding. I hope my internet holds up!”
Coran said: “The pandemic has unleashed greater need, but we must remain strong. Our community is just a ‘step-up’ kind of community, and we’re going to go for it.”