MONTREAL — Federation CJA has delivered what it calls “a good news budget” because there are no financial cuts to local agencies, as there have been for the last two years.
The board of directors has approved a balanced budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year totalling $32.2 million, much of it staying in Montreal.
After two years of cuts, the federation’s constituent agencies are receiving the same amount as they did the year before, and other local programs are similarly benefiting from this shift to local spending.
Seventy-three per cent of the budget is being allocated locally, 20 per cent is going to Israel, while the remainder is the Montreal federation’s contribution to national Jewish advocacy organizations.
Federation president Jack Hasen said balancing the budget was not easy. The 2010 Combined Jewish Appeal campaign was up only slightly from the previous year, while approximately $1 million more was needed to avoid another year of cutbacks.
“This budget means our continued investment in ensuring that we have a strong, efficient system that has the flexibility to meet ongoing as well as new needs,” Hasen said.
“It is a pleasure to announce that after weathering the economic crisis, we are back after two years of reductions.”
Nevertheless, the agencies have been told to become more efficient and “to do more with less.”
Hasen cited the priorities as “sending more kids to Jewish camps and schools; strengthening the quality of our schools, camps and synagogues through Gen J; sending 1,555 young Montrealers on Israel experiences; developing families’ Jewish identity on the West Island; and offering new programs to help the most vulnerable among us.”
The twice-weekly free suppers offered at the Cummings Jewish Centre for Seniors for the needy of all ages will be increased by an extra night. Since the program began two years ago, more than 40,000 meals have been served.
Hasen stressed the importance of other social services. Last year, for example, the federation agency Ometz helped over 6,600 people, including 2,414 children and 2,400 families.
“At the same time, we recognized that we face challenges in terms of fostering Jewish identity that require a commitment in resources. Our community requires new programs and services and the budget had to address those needs,” Hasen said.
“Going forward, we will focus on implementing the recommendations of our Imagine 2020 strategic revisioning process and on taking actions that make sure that Jewish life in Montreal continues to be vibrant, rich, diverse and a model for North America and beyond.”