Despite a dip in combined total revenue from last year, 2016 was a good year for the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, treasurer Keith Ray told the annual general meeting on Dec. 8
The organization’s combined total revenue was $149 million, down from $167 million last year.
Ray explained the loss in revenue was due to a decrease in returns on investment from the federation’s endowment fund, but that the endowment fund’s capital actually grew by six per cent this year – from last year’s $264 million to $280 million this year – as a result of new gifts from donors.
Ray reported that the annual campaign has remained strong over the past five years – the 2015 campaign’s projected total was about $61 million – and said, “our continued success is a result of the generosity of our donors.”
“All in all, it’s been a good year and we look forward to another good year to come,” Ray stressed.
The meeting marked the official end of Morris Perlis’ two-year term as chair of UJA Federation’s board of directors.
Perlis delivered a final report and welcomed the board’s newly-elected chairman Bruce Leboff and senior vice-chair Warren Kimel.
In his outgoing remarks, Perlis spoke about the federation’s strategic plan, which he said has included bringing on strong leadership and developing a strong vision.
The strategic plan includes: finding ways to engage the next generation – as Perlis put it, for them to “see Federation as a home” – making Jewish day school education more affordable, something Perlis said the federation’s Julia and Henry Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Education has been doing significant innovative work on; and raising funds to build a new Jewish community centre at the federation’s midtown Sherman Campus, located at Bathurst Street just north of Sheppard Avenue.
The original community centre at this location was torn down in 2009, and reconstruction of the building has been delayed due to a shortage of funds.
“We’re almost there. The new centre is coming,” Perlis said.
The evening’s guest speakers gave personal snapshots of the different ways that UJA Federation dollars help those in the community.
Rachel Luke, a teacher at Glenforest Secondary School in Mississauga, spoke about her work, aided by the federation’s Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre and its array of free and subsidized programming, to bring impactful Holocaust education initiatives to her students.
The second speaker was a woman who went only by “Sam,” who gave a moving speech about the assistance she’s received from Jewish Family & Child (JF&CS), an agency largely funded by UJA Federation.
She said that JF&CS helped her leave an abusive marriage and provided her with both the financial and emotional support necessary to establish a new life for herself and her children, as well as maintain strong ties to the Jewish community.
Newly-elected chairman Leboff spoke last, touching on plans for the federation’s future.
He cited initiatives to strengthen the Toronto Jewish community’s connection to Israel and to enhance affordability and accessibility in Jewish education.
“I’m extremely excited about the opportunities ahead of us to further strengthen our great community. I know I’m being trusted with a tremendous responsibility, following in the footsteps of many great community leaders before me,” he said.