Danielle Minson — How You Help
Building a Vibrant Jewish Community: 2018’s Planning and Allocations Highlights
Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Sherri Symson, the Federation’s Vice President of Planning and Allocations. She shared the following about this year’s process:
Q: As the incoming Vice President of Planning and Allocations, how do you assess this year’s campaign and allocations?
A: The Annual Campaign is off to a great start! Federation staff and volunteers have worked hard to raise more than $4 million dollars—well on our way to our goal of $5.6 million. These dollars fund our allocations across the community, so I am hopeful that we will reach our Campaign goals so we can continue to support these important programs and services.
Last year, we fell short of our Campaign goals, resulting in difficult cuts to both the Federation’s operating budget as well as allocations. Deciding where to cut dollars was painful because all of the programs we reviewed deserved to be funded or increased. This year, I’m hopeful that everyone in our community will step up and give what they can so that we can continue to support and fund these deserving programs.
We are just starting to gear up for another season of allocations work, and it’s exciting to see all of the important and good work being done by our community’s Jewish agencies.
Q: What did the generosity of the community allow Federation to invest in this year?
A. First, I’m so appreciative of everyone who contributes to the Annual Campaign. Because of their generosity, we are able to fund work to help our most vulnerable, support Israel, and assure a vibrant Jewish future.
We’re providing food and vital care services to those in need, including our seniors, through the Jewish Family Service Heldman Family Food Pantry and Barbash Family Vital Support Center. We are continuing to invest in our children and their Jewish identities by funding much-needed scholarships to Jewish summer camps and day schools, and we are helping to support the wonderful Jewish programming at the Mayerson JCC.
We’ve also been investing money to help fund inclusion programs and advocacy services so that more of our children can participate in community programming.
We continue to invest in JVS Career Services to ensure the community’s 2020 Caring goal that Jewish Cincinnatians are meaningfully employed is being met. We want to make sure we attract and retain Jews to our vibrant community.
There really are too many programs to list, but the best way to understand the impact of your dollars is to it see first-hand by joining the more than 90 Planning and Allocations volunteers who visit and review the programs we fund.
Q: In addition to their funding function, allocations councils provide assessment and feedback about programs. What was one highlight that came out of that assessment process this year?
A: JVS Career Services is a terrific example of how P&A partners work with agencies to develop and evolve. When I first joined P&A four years ago, JVS Career Services was in a much different place. The council was encouraging JVS Career Services to focus more on business development and to leverage members of our Jewish community to help drive the mission of helping Jews find meaningful employment. These changes are not easy to do and take time, and through the hard work of the JVS Career Services staff and their board, we have seen the organization come full circle, culminating in reaching their lofty goal of 365 job starts in 2017!
Q: Looking ahead to your next year in Planning and Allocations leadership, what opportunities do you see for P&A in the future?
A: I feel incredibly lucky to be part of P&A leadership, and I take the responsibility of allocating money raised from our community very seriously. Our great team of cochairs and volunteers, who represent the diversity of our community, must ensure that we continue to be good stewards of Campaign dollars, gathering appropriate data and setting measurable goals while determining what kinds of information we ultimately need to strategically plan for the community—always in pursuit of our Cincinnati 2020 goals. At the same time, we must keep our eyes open for the next set of challenges and opportunities that our community will face beyond 2020.
The P&A process has been a terrific way for me to give back to our community, and so I’d also like to continue to engage more people and bring new volunteers into the process. The Planning and Allocations process is a great way to learn about our Jewish agencies, to see the impact of the Federation, and to meet others in the community. I also look forward to developing our next generation of community leaders by continuing to find new ways to engage our P&A volunteers and leverage their experiences on agency boards and committees in order to improve our community through the Planning process.
Allocating Community Campaign funds is a fair, democratic, and participatory process. More than 90 volunteers spend 650 hours over six months to make sure your gift goes to the programs that most effectively address the most critical needs in our community, and best support and nurture Jewish life locally and globally. They make sure your gift will be used wisely and with the greatest impact. For more information about allocations, visit jewishcincinnati.org/allocations.
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