It has been a year like no other; a year which presented challenges and uncertainty in our community and the world – it was also a year that truly defined what community means, and demonstrated the pivotal role Federation plays in fostering cohesion in our community through strong leadership, working collaboratively, and being there for each other in our time of need.
The year began as normally as those that preceded it. The 2019-2020 CJA Campaign, chaired by Barry McArton Z”L, raised a record $6 million and all seemed bright. Almost simultaneously, we found ourselves doing our best to adapt to the myriad challenges presented to our community by COVID-19.
The effects were felt almost immediately and most acutely by the members of our community who were most vulnerable. Our beneficiaries and other organizations in our community were forced to adapt to these new circumstances seemingly overnight, pivoting classes and programming to virtual spaces, responding to greatly increased requests for meals, and overcoming whatever hurdles were put before them.
Our community responded in the way that Jewish people do when times get tough – we banded together, demonstrating our tenacity and perseverance, helping each other in unprecedented ways. That work continues to this day.
Throughout it all, we were undeterred from our vital work in the community. In March, we launched the Community Connects initiative with the goal of checking in on community members to ensure that no one felt isolated or alone. By the end of April, over 4,000 members of our community had been reached by a group of 155 committed volunteers.
Before the pandemic, PJ Library held regular programs including Chanukah with the Moose and PJ Winter Fun, which saw over 100 and over 150 people in attendance, respectively. Then, programs successfully shifted to virtual spaces, which included cooking demos, a flag contest, and an art auction.
This year, we facilitated the Allocations process virtually for the first time, ensuring that our beneficiaries would continue to receive the vital funding they count on from the Federation without interruption.
The pandemic did not stop us from meeting with government officials or advocating on issues of importance to our community. We joined together with national partners to mark Yom HaShoah, and launched our #NeverForget social media campaign locally to allow community members and government officials to participate. We also joined together nationally and with our Israeli friends to commemorate occasions such as Yom Ha’zikaron and Yom Ha’azmaut.
This fall, Community Planning had fabulous representation of 61 participants from more than 20 organizations and active volunteer to discuss scenarios planning related to the pandemic. Through the Community Forward Plan, a senior outreach worker was hired by Jewish Child and Family Service which has been immensely beneficial to isolated seniors.
Over the course of the pandemic, Grow Winnipeg welcomed 27 new families to our community, continually to reach out to them, advocating for them, supporting them during their transition.
Unfortunately, the effects of COVID-19 are still being felt by many community members and organizations and will likely be felt for some time. We will continue to be there to support them in any way possible.
We would like to thank the thousands of donors for their unwavering support to the community, especially when the times are tough. Without you, the work that we or our beneficiaries in the community do would not be possible.
We would also like to acknowledge the tireless work of our dedicated board, volunteers and staff. We look forward to working with you to continue to serve the ever-evolving needs of our community with sustained energy and purpose.
The Community Connects initiative launched at the beginning of the pandemic with the goal of reaching all members of the community to check in and see if there is anything they need, or information that we can provide during these challenging times. Over 160 volunteer callers reached out to over 4500 community members. Federation also invited the community to perform a mitzvah by sending short videos with music, messages, pictures and other messages that were shared with the residents at The Saul & Claribel Simkin Centre. Additionally, Federation created an online resource page of educational and otherwise helpful links to virtual events, local online synagogue services and more, as a creative way to keep the community informed during the pandemic.
In April of 2020, in consultation with our community, Jewish Federation of Winnipeg launched the COVID-19 Community Relief Fund in response to the pandemic. The Federation saw that the response to COVID-19 would require a strategic, community-wide approach, and the Jewish Federation is uniquely positioned to ensure a comprehensive and coordinated plan to tackle the challenges facing our community. This fund was established for emergency funding only and has supported the urgent and immediate needs of the most vulnerable among us during the pandemic. It is accessible to all Jewish organizations; not just Federation's beneficiary agencies -- the granting process was entirely separate from the Allocations process. All funds raised remained in Winnipeg. The COVID-19 Community Relief Fund raised $112,746, and allocated $150,000 from the Jewish Federation's own reserves to help agencies in need.
The 2019-2020 annual campaign lead by Campaign Chair, Barry McArton z"l raised a total of $6,005,140 from 1,995 donors. Of the amount, $1,894,852 was raised in the Women’s Philanthropy division and $171,136 was raised in the Young Adult Division. We are proud to report that CJA’s cost to raise was $473,906, or just 7.9%.
Our Leave More Than Memories Endowment Fund is a perpetual annual campaign endowment fund held at the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba and created for the sole purpose of enabling donors to continue supporting the annual campaign, forever. We are happy to report that our fund rose to $5,688,437 this year.
Women’s Philanthropy engages Jewish women in the fulfilling work of making the world a better place, building, and supporting Jewish life for today and for generations to come. Inspired by the Jewish imperative that we are responsible for each other and for the world in which we live, our donors come from all walks and all stages of life.
The Young Adult Division (YAD) engages community members between the ages of 24-45 in events, committee’s projects and networking opportunities designed to engage young adults in our Jewish community.
The Ben-Gurion Society (BGS) embodies his legacy - young men and women combining their vision, passion and resources to build a strong and responsible Jewish community. BGS is a donor recognition program for adults 25-45 who give a household annual campaign gift of at least $1,000.
By becoming a Budding Philanthropist, donors under the age of 18 and their families can participate in acts of tzedakah (charity) and tikkun olam (repairing the world) together. Throughout the year, we host a variety of engaging events that are exclusive to our young donors.
Offers Jewish-themed books and CDs that explore Jewish culture, values, and tradition to families with young children 0-8 years of age. Federation invests $50 US per year for each child’s subscription.
PJ Our Way is the next chapter of PJ Library aimed at children 8-12 years of age. It allows them to choose their own books, create programs and develop leadership skills.
Federation is dedicated to engaging the community through Jewish initiatives and events to give community members what they need to lead meaningful Jewish lives. In March, we quickly pivoted to virtual gatherings and initiatives with great success.
Our GrowWinnipeg initiative increases the Jewish population of Winnipeg by welcoming Jewish people from around the world to a vibrant, connected Jewish community and connects visitors with Jewish organizations, social and employment contacts to enable their settlement and integration.
Birthright Israel offers the gift of a free, educational, 10-day peer group trip to Israel for young Jewish adults between the ages of 18 and 32. The trip allows participants to meet new friends and make connections to Israel, its people, and the Jewish community.
An educational program where Jewish teens travel to Poland to learn about the once flourishing Jewish community in Europe before the tragedy of the Holocaust. After a week of touring villages, ghettos and concentration camps, the participants visit Israel where they learn about its establishment and survival.
P2G connects the Jewish communities of Winnipeg and the Upper Galil Panhandle in Israel through Gesher Chai, people-to-people exchanges involving high school students and elementary school teachers, and promotes the sharing of ideas and funding of projects.
Federation organizes Mission to Israel where participants learn about its history, politics and culture, take part in exclusive programs and see first-hand the impact our dollars make.
Hillel Winnipeg is the centre for Jewish life on campus. Its mission is to provide opportunities for every Jewish student to deepen their connection to Jewish identity and community through social, social justice, and cultural/holiday programming.
Young Adult Division (YAD) promotes a strong future for our Jewish community by engaging young adults (ages 25-45) through fundraising, development of leadership skills, social events and community involvement.