HAMILTON — The co-chairs of Hamilton’s 2010 UJA Campaign are trying to do some things a little differently this year.
The campaign, which is expected to close by Chanukah, is being run by by two enthusiastic women, Lisa Morris and Danna Horwood, aided by a campaign cabinet of 18 community leaders.
“This year is a new campaign, a new Hamilton. What worked in years gone by does not work now,” Morris says.
Their goal is to raise $1.1 million, which represents a five per cent increase over what was raised last year.
“The campaign is going well,” Morris says. “We have actually completed 41 per cent [of our goal], which is reflecting a 2.9 per cent increase on a card per card basis.”
Horwood is equally upbeat, despite the current recession. “I think last year the recession affected the outcome hugely, but not this year. I think we’re moving ahead. I think we’re definitely going to surpass our goal this year,” she says.
Horwood adds that many of the people who have donated have said they were responding to the fact that she had called them personally. She feels that people are not giving money to as many charities this year but are more willing to donate if they know the person who is asking for the gift, especially if they can learn about where the money is going.
Morris, a lawyer, was past chair of the UJA Women’s Campaign. Horwood is the mother of three, volunteers on many boards and runs a peer support group for woman with post-partum depression.
Horwood has also assumed the new UJA leadership role of chair of donor development, responsible for identification, engagement and cultivation of potential donors in the Hamilton area.
Fundraising activities began even before the campaign’s official launch on Oct. 18. The first campaign event of 2009 was an event for major donors of previous years on Oct. 14, an evening that included guest speaker Hershell Ezrin, chief executive officer of the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy (CIJA). Ezrin spoke about anti-Semitism, stressing the need for non-Jews to know about the increase in anti-Semitic activity and support the Jewish community’s efforts to combat it.
Just before the official campaign opening, a new event, Going for the Gold, was held at Beth Jacob Synagogue. Members of the community were asked to bring in unwanted gold, diamonds and other valuables to be appraised. Participants received cash for their items, with 20 per cent going to help the Jewish community.
“This event is in its infancy,” Morris says. “The people that turned out liked the event, started doing word of mouth, and it will get better every year.”
The evening campaign opening at Beth Jacob featured two guest speakers: Michael Soberman, national director of the Canada Israel Experience, which sends Canadian young people to Israel on programs such as Birthright Israel and March of the Living; and Shimon Fogel, CEO of the Canada-Israel Committee.
Morris and Horwood are planning an evening cocktail party for those who give $500 and over, and they’re also once again having the annual Girlfriends Pyjama Party, which aims to encourage more young people to get involved in the campaign by bringing the young women together for social interaction
A new event this year was an invitation to the community to join Shalom Village residents and their families at the seniors residence on Oct. 25. A group of children provided singing and dancing and an afternoon’s entertainment for the residents.
“We didn’t want to forget the people that were our grassroots that formed Hamilton as it is today,” Morris says.