Harvey Dales, 2014 Federation annual campaign general chair, speaks at a Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver donor event. (photo from Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver)
As he tallied up the fundraising dollars earlier this month for this year’s Federation annual campaign, Harvey Dales noted with satisfaction that almost $7 million had been pledged in Vancouver since the campaign began in September. With a month to go until it wraps up in January, he’s aspiring to reach the $8 million mark.
“Our campaign had been relatively stagnant for the past few years, with only slight increases,” he reflected. “This year, which is my last year as campaign chair, I felt it was important to reach the $8 million mark because there are just so many needs.”
Dales and his team established a matching fund, where six donors promised a total of $125,000 in matching funds; that meant every unrestricted dollar of increase to the campaign made by any other donor would be matched. Another matching campaign was established with a focus on 20-to-35-year-olds, this one a two-for-one match.
The two matching funds have been so successful that Federation found itself on the verge of running out of matching funds a few weeks ago. “We went out and raised further funds, another $30,000, to top up the fund and ensure we could continue with the matching,” Dales said. “We’re still seeking additional funds for the match fund, and I’m very confident it will bring us to our $8 million goal.”
For the first time in many years, each one of Federation’s divisions has seen an increase in the dollars pledged compared with gifts from the same donors last year. That includes major donors, men’s philanthropy, women’s philanthropy, community and young adults. “The gifts that have come in have been incredible,” he told the Independent. “One individual who hadn’t made a gift before pledged $750. Another newly wedded couple explained they’d really stretched their budget by giving us $360 last year, but this year they were giving us $540 because of the matching funds.”
“I believe it’s so important for the community to know how vital Federation is,” he continued. “It’s our social needs network for the community, whether it’s funding for social services, education, youth, outreach or seniors. Both here, overseas and in Israel, there are so many recipient agencies that rely on Federation for the bulk of their funding to provide desperately needed services.”
Vancouver’s community is extraordinary for how many individuals commit to volunteering and canvassing for the annual campaign, he added. “In campaigns in other cities, the canvassing is done by professionals, but here in Vancouver our community is just so involved.”
To contribute to this year’s campaign, visit jewishvancouver.com.
Lauren Kramer, an award-winning writer and editor, lives in Richmond, B.C. To read her work online, visit laurenkramer.net.