Our response to Hurricane Irma and the continuing relief efforts in Houston.

All your questions for Naomi L. Adler, Esq., answered! This week’s question:

What issues are you most excited to tackle with Susanna Lachs Adler, our new Board Chair?

Engagement, Engagement and more Engagement! I am really excited to work with Susanna as we endeavor to connect even more deeply with our current and future leaders; as well as with strategic philanthropists through major gifts and endowments; and reach all 6 generations of Jews living in our vast communities.

I’ve just said a mouthful, so I want to take a moment to talk about each of these special communities, and what our outreach efforts will look like for each.

First, our future leaders. Over the last few years we’ve spent a lot of thoughtful effort creating volunteer opportunities for people 21-45 through groups like NextGen and the Wexner Israel Fellowship. These opportunities are ways for young people to become meaningfully involved in the Jewish communal experience without having to be major donors. It’s important that we let people know, especially young people, that whatever you can give of yourself — whether that’s time or talent or treasure — we are grateful for that gift, and hope you will be moved to give to capacity. Giving of yourself is what makes you a leader.

Next, our generous philanthropists. We aim to engage our donors on an even more strategic level, to ensure each donor has a full understanding of why they’re giving, to whom they’re giving, and precisely how those gifts are applied to benefit people in Greater Philadelphia, in Israel and around the world. True philanthropists don’t give impulsively; they give thoughtfully and regularly to a charity they know and trust, and which offers various options that suit the donors’ own giving needs. We have so many creative ways to give — for example, through a planned gift, or through gifting an IRA after retirement — and we’d like every one of our Jewish Federation donors to be informed and empowered givers.

Lastly, but certainly not least, Susanna and I would like to further reach out to the six generations of Jews living in the Greater Philadelphia region. Serving communities whose ages span a hundred years — from the GI Generation born in 1901-26, to the Millennials born after 2001 — is a special honor for our Jewish Federation. It also poses unique challenges, because each generation has distinct needs. Baby boomers need programming and engagement that’s very different from the needs of preschoolers, which are very different from the needs of our Holocaust survivors and other older adults, many of whom live in poverty. We can serve all six generations, and do. But to do it better, and provide more programming, we need more funding. Last year, we had to scrap $6 million worth of impactful programming for lack of funds, which is a shame. So this year we’d like to look at finding solutions, so that we can provide for every generation in our region.