Danielle Minson — How You Help
New Jewish Federation Campaign Cochairs: “We are Accountable to the Community”
Interview with Gary Greenberg and Debbie Brant, Federation Campaign Cochairs
Longtime Jewish community volunteers and lay leaders Gary Greenberg and Debbie Brant will head the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati’s 2018 Community Campaign to raise funds for Cincinnati’s Jewish community, announced Danielle V. Minson, Federation’s Chief Development Officer, on Monday. While Brant continues her role last year of Campaign Chair; Greenberg will join her, bringing broad volunteer expertise to his new role.
“For Gary and Debbie, the word ‘volunteer’ does not do justice to their leadership in our collective lives. They bring an extraordinary array of talents and a deep commitment to Cincinnati’s Jewish community,” said Minson. “They will lead the campaign with energy and wisdom.”
Born and raised in Cincinnati, and bar-mitzvahed at Wise Temple, Gary Greenberg lives in Hyde Park with his wife; they have two sons, and are proud grandparents to an 18-month-old grandson. Greenberg has a long history of volunteering in Jewish Cincinnati. He has been on the boards of Rockdale Temple, Jewish Family Service, the Jewish Federation, and Hebrew Union College; and president as well as on the board of the Jewish Community Relations Council. In addition to being named 2018 campaign cochair, he is president-elect of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati.
A 20-year resident of Cincinnati, Debbie Brant lives with her husband and two daughters in Amberley. They are members of Adath Israel. Brant has been president of and on the board of the Mayerson JCC, is an alumna of the National Young Leadership Cabinet. She has served as a lay leader at the Federation in many roles, including on the board and as chair of Women’s Philanthropy.
Asked about what they most wanted to convey about the campaign this year, both emphasized the importance of each community member contributing, having a voice, and being able to see the impact of their gifts. “We are accountable to the Jewish community here,” said Brant.
Federation: Why did you each decide to become cochair of the Community Campaign?
Brant: It’s because I know the community needs our support. And without everyone working together and raising the money that’s needed we won’t move forward as a community.
Greenberg: Fundraising doesn’t come naturally to me. It’s not a challenge to donate my own time and resources, but I do find it a challenge to ask other people to donate their time and resources. But I also know if we do not raise the money to do what we do, we can’t do what we do. It’s just essential. So even though it’s out of my comfort zone, I’m glad to do it.
Federation: Why is the Community Campaign important to Jewish Cincinnati?
Greenberg: Without the resources raised by the annual campaign we cannot do the good work that we do. There’s a second part too—when a donor participates, it’s also good for them. It is good to participate in the well-being of the community.
Brant: I think there are two reasons that the campaign is vital to our community. First, it helps take care of vital needs. There are people in our community who need our support. Second, we need the campaign to help us build community.
Federation: What are you hoping or planning for the Campaign this year?
Brant: This year we are going to focus on engaging more people. Having more donors understand what the campaign does and how it affects their lives as well as those of others.
Greenberg: Yes, the obvious answer is to meet our goals—to meet the needs of the community. But beyond that, I would like this campaign to do something for our donors, as well as for our recipients. We are living in a time where it seems like people are feeling more and more divided and conflicted. This campaign and the work we do at Federation is an opportunity to bring people together for common goals.
Brant: And, with this year’s campaign, of course we want to raise more money than we did in the past. But I also want people to have more connection with the money that they are donating, so that they can see their money in action.
Federation: Thank you both. Final thoughts?
Greenberg: A lot of people have questions about why we do what we do at Federation. All of us who care about the community want to contribute and spend our dollars wisely and effectively. But very few of us have the time or resources to decide how to best spend that money. And that’s what Federation does. It develops the knowledge to make sure that the money is spent wisely and effectively.
Brant: I believe strongly in our Community Campaign. I believe that asking people to contribute is giving them a chance to give to something they believe in.
Learn more about the Community Campaign here. Want to contribute already? Click here, and thanks. Already a donor? Thank you!
The Jewish Federation of Cincinnati: We look at the whole picture, taking into account the diverse needs of the entire community. Together we can do almost anything.