It was wonderful to see so many of you as we launched the Campaign for a Stronger and Successful Emunah. With Passover coming so soon, we appreciate what a busy time this is. Here is an update on the Campaign for those who could not be with us.
How We Got Here and What a Fully Funded Campaign Would Do
The Board of Directors authorized the Campaign for a Stronger and Sustainable Emunah because we have immediate capital needs that cannot be met by our current reserves. For years, the recession and trends in temple support have kept us from adequately funding our Building Reserve Fund. Over the past ten years, while our membership has gone up 10%, when adjusted for inflation, revenue from dues has gone up only 3%. Nearly a third of our economically diverse community requires an abatement or has trouble meeting their yearly commitments to the temple. As such we find ourselves in need of money.
The Board decided to aim higher than simply addressing our capital needs and raise between $3,000,000 and $4,000,000 to put our temple on a more firm financial footing. The goals of a fully funded, successful campaign are to allow us to meet our immediate 1-3 year capital needs, pay off our debt and increase our endowment. These latter two steps will liberate and generate funds that will enable us to grow our communal resources and become financially sustainable. Financial sustainability means that moving forward, we operate in such a way that our Building Reserve Fund is sufficient to meet future needs and that our budget is based on realistic, affordable, yearly commitments from all who wish to join us.
The Early and Quiet Phase
Last spring, we commissioned a feasibility study from CCS, a well-regarded fundraising consultant, and learned through interviews with forty families that there was great dedication to Temple Emunah and that a vigorous campaign could raise $3,000,000. Since many of the stalwart donors had contributed significantly to past Emunah campaigns, over the summer and fall we went to a new generation of donors with the hope of making this a truly transformative campaign. This new generation raised their sights and six families seeded this campaign with over $1,000,000 in pledges.
This commitment energized many in our community. Temple Emunah’s dear friends Deanna and Sid Wolk - who send their love, excitement and encouragement from sunny Florida - have provided a challenge that has structured much of the subsequent work of the Campaign. After a wonderfully generous donation of $250,000, the Wolks challenged us with a $250,000 match once we got another $350,000 in pledges. We are thrilled to report that we surpassed that goal as 51 donors made over $748,000 in pledges during this phase of the campaign.
The Reveal and Next Challenge
The remarkable commitment our fellow community members have demonstrated allows us to reveal that we have outperformed our initial expectations. As of today we have commitments and pledges from 80 families for $3,212,000! We are now challenging ourselves to raise $3,500,00 and with your help approach $4,000,000!
We now move on to the third phase to the Wolk challenge to help make Emunah stronger and more sustainable: a participation challenge. The Wolks will contribute another $250,000 once we receive 300 pledges. Make no mistake, this will indeed be a challenge. Please note that this means that for each of the remaining 220 donors, their gift gets a $1,000 boost in value. We will push hard to make this goal this spring yet expect the work to continue until the High Holy Days.
Of course, we are never ones to shy from a challenge and plan to engage 100% of our community. We have gotten to this point in the campaign by sitting with friends and neighbors and talking about what Emunah means to them. The challenge before us now is to widen this circle of conversation and commitment. Together, we will celebrate our growing and vibrant community and build an effort that belongs to each and every one of us.
How You Can Help
We are grateful to those in our community who have already made commitments. They have given a great deal of thought to how they are able to participate in this community-building effort that will span five years. There are three main ways you can help in the coming few weeks:
Welcome the outreach from a fellow congregant. Say “yes” to the opportunity to ask questions and engage in this major effort. We want everyone to have an equal opportunity to come to a thoughtful decision about how your family can participate.
Give generously. Stretch yourself to be a part of this important moment in the history of Temple Emunah. We welcome and value any gift that is meaningful to you.
Sign up to volunteer. Step up and coordinate a cohort or interest group event. Invite friends close to you to share this journey together. The campaign leadership will help train and support you. Please sign up to get information on volunteering or speak with one of us afterward.
Wishing you a meaningful and kosher Pesah and all of us great success in our shared effort,
Alan Sherman - Campaign Chair
Lois Bruss - Campaign Chair
Michael Fel - Associate Rabbi
David Lerner - Rabbi
David Landis - President