OTTAWA – The Jewish Federation of Ottawa is launching an innovative plan, dubbed the “Jewish Superhighway,” to bring more members of the community into the fold, in order to entice people to be part of the Jewish community in any way that “works” for them.
Thanks to the generosity of three local families, a new fund will match new or increased donations to the Federation’s annual campaign, dollar for dollar. The $500,000 Challenge Fund was started by Barbara Crook and Dan Greenberg, through their Danbe Foundation, Roger Greenberg and Robert Greenberg, and the Stephen Greenberg family.
“We are excited with the challenge campaign because it is real money. They are leading the way, in order to better enable us to meet the fundraising needs of the community,” said Andrea Freedman, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa.
The vision of the Federation’s new Jewish Superhighway is to involve people in the community by doing “something Jewish,” which in turn will lead to doing other things. The idea that one thing leads to another, deepening engagement and strengthening connections, is behind some innovative new program ideas.
The Jewish Superhighway is a metaphor for busy, active, fulfilling Jewish life, accessed and intersected by a multitude of on-ramps and pathways made up of programs and projects for all ages, interests and needs. “The Jewish Superhighway is for everybody and we want everybody to have rich and meaningful Jewish journeys,” said Freedman.
Recognizing that people “do Jewish” differently, Federation provides micro-grants to individuals who have ideas for creative new programs and projects to engage people in Jewish life. In this way, smaller and more personal initiatives are able to be launched, in addition to the traditional institutional events.
New ways are also being sought to enable every child to access Jewish education in some form. From providing state-of-the-art technologies and programs in Jewish day schools, to providing transportation to after-school Jewish educational programs from outlying areas, funds are being used to ensure access for all.
A reality of Jewish life today is the need to provide a safe and secure community. Although the federal government provides funding for security enhancements for “at-risk communities,” the grants provide for a maximum of 50 per cent of the costs. As part of the Jewish Superhighway initiative, the Federation plans to build a fund to maximize the matching grant.
“With the help of our generous donors, our goal is to move the needle on our annual fundraising goal from $4.5 million to $5.5 million,” said Freedman. The 2019 annual campaign kickoff will take place on Sept. 16, with a lip-sync battle, MCed by local radio celebrity Stuntman Stu.