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The mission of Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia (JFGP) is to mobilize financial and volunteer resources to address the community's most critical priorities in Philadelphia, Israel and overseas. Founded in 1901 to meet the needs of a burgeoning, immigrant Jewish community, today JFGP serves one of the largest Jewish communities in the country with a population of nearly 215,000.
The Philadelphia Jewish community is known for its vibrancy, historical significance and academic scholarship. It is the home of the National Museum of American Jewish History; the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, and Drexel University, with flourishing Judaic studies programs; institutions of higher Jewish education including the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and Gratz College; and active synagogues and day schools, all forging creative new expressions of Jewish life. The Greater Philadelphia area comprises five counties, a vibrant Center City easily accessible by public transportation, well-known for its restaurant scene, performing and visual arts, as well as major sports teams. High quality suburban and downtown housing is affordable in comparison to other major metropolitan areas, with the added benefit of easy proximity by Amtrak to New York, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. In addition, Philadelphia is served by the nation's leading teaching and research hospitals.
JFGP is guided by its vision of a flourishing global Jewish community, among the affiliated and the non-affiliated, that is continually strengthened by:
• Inspiring participation in Jewish life and learning through Jewish day school opportunities, enhanced synagogue schooling and programming, a coordinated outreach effort by community organizations to young Jews and Jewish families, and increased educational and leadership opportunities for young adults.
• Caring for people at-risk or in need through programs which enable seniors to age with dignity, aid for the chronically poor, self-sufficiency initiatives for Jews facing poverty, hunger relief, and transformative social action efforts.
• Connecting Jews in Greater Philadelphia to each other and to Jews in Israel and around the world through Israel advocacy, overseas hunger relief and security programming, and support for Jewish seniors, children and immigrants in Israel and other overseas nations.
Federation utilizes a strategic philanthropic approach to allocating funds. In 2003, Federation reimagined its allocations process in an effort to align, strengthen and increase impact in the community. This process focuses on funding programs and new initiatives, which are aligned with set community priorities, as opposed to an annual agency-based allocations model. Through a community-based planning process, three priority areas or centers were established. They are:
• The Center for Social Responsibility
: Caring for Greater Philadelphia’s vulnerable Jewish populations
• The Center for Jewish Life and Learning
: Enriching Jewish education and identity opportunities
• The Center for Israel and Overseas
: Strengthening Israel-Diaspora relations and helping vulnerable Jews in Israel and overseas
JFGP is governed by a 30 member Board of Directors. One of the Board’s responsibilities is to approve allocation recommendations by Federation’s 9 Member Policy, Strategy, and Funding (PSF) Committee. This year, JFGP's Board of Trustees, a body of over 225 members, approved allocations vetted by JFGP's Board of Directors and recommended by the PSF Committee, for a total of $25 million dollars.
In 2012, JFGP saw its highest annual campaign revenues since 2007, reaching $24.8M in total ($16M unrestricted and $8.7M restricted); an increase from $22.1M in 2011. Bequests and contributions to endowment added in excess of $33M to its total revenues; its total pool of endowment funds is now $225M. The operating budget for FY 2014 is projected to be $8.3M with a staff count just over 100.
JFGP prides itself on mobilizing resources to address pressing communal issues. For example, in 2012, following the completion of a comprehensive food study, Federation, guided by a lead gift from a community activist, raised $1.9 M to build a state-of-the-art Choice Food Program. The Mitzvah Food Choice Program
at the Klein Center will position JFGP’s already successful food pantry program, serving over 1000 individuals, at the forefront of food distribution to the Jewish poor, focusing on health and dignity.
Federation has a number of programs and affinity groups to engage and mobilize the community: the Renaissance Group
, the young leadership assembly; Women’s Philanthropy
, the Jewish Federation Real Estate Leadership Group; the Health Care Affinity Network
; as well as others that are designed to provide meaningful involvement and build future community leadership. In addition, the Jewish Community Relations Council
, JCRC, serves as the community relations arm of Federation, fostering interfaith and inter-group work, and serving as a common table for airing concerns, promoting the peaceful resolution of conflicts and building coalitions among diverse members of the broader community in pursuit of common goals.
2012/2013 JFGP highlights include:
• An immensely successful Entrepreneurs Mission
, which brought 24 men ranging in age from 40-50, on a mission to Israel. This mission has yielded fantastic results in terms of involvement and fundraising -- an additional $458,000 has been raised from this group to date for the annual campaign.
• Completion of the Middle School Merger between two of the community’s day schools and establishment of the Barrack-Perelman Joint Scholarship Fund
which will be used to subsidize tuitions and increase enrollment. Federation convened the parties, actively participated in the negotiations and guaranteed $2.5 million over the next five years to assist the schools, in addition to its $1.4 million commitment to the community’s Jewish day schools already in place.
• Funding and organizing the 4th cohort of the Israel 360 Mission
which sends 40 young adults ages 27-36 to Israel on an intense leadership training program. JFGP has sent 160 young adults to participate in this program over the last two years; their subsequent involvement in JFGP efforts and the Jewish community has been robust. Another Israel 360 trip for young couples is being planned.
• JFGP sent Jewish themed books and CDs from the PJ Library
program to over 4,000 children ages 1-7, free of charge, many of whom are from intermarried households. Enrollment in this program has increased significantly over the past year, with over 1,000 new participants signing up in 2012.
• Federation has partnered with JCHAI
, an organization which supports and houses developmentally disabled Jewish adults, to locate and build a group residence on its Schwartz community campus.
For more information, please visit www.jewishphilly.org.