Shay Keil, this year’s Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver annual campaign chair, will share his story at the opening event on Sept. 10. (photo from Jewish Federation)
Gifts to the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver annual campaign inspire stories with direct human impacts, says Shay Keil, this year’s campaign chair. He’s knows – because he is one of those stories.
“There are real people behind those gifts and I am one of those people,” he told the Independent. “I was a beneficiary of generosity from this community in my earlier days, when my family required financial assistance in order for me to participate in Jewish life in Vancouver – that means being on subsidies to go to the Jewish day school and Jewish day camps. I will share my story of how their Federation gifts decades ago inspired my Jewish journey that would never have happened without their financial support.”
Keil will bring his personal experience to hundreds of community members at the annual campaign opening event Sept. 10. Keynote speaker for the evening will be Eric Fingerhut, president and chief executive officer of the Jewish Federations of North America. Prior to this role, Fingerhut was the head of Hillel International. He is also a former U.S. congressman.
The event’s musical centrepiece will feature vocal trio Citizen West, made up of Marc Devigne, Cody Karey and Omer Shaish. The trio is known for their multilingual repertoire and three-part harmony, which spreads the message that “we are all global citizens, and through music, we can connect with individuals of all cultures and backgrounds,” according to the group’s website.
Keil, who is a senior wealth advisor at ScotiaMcLeod, said the opening event will emphasize the importance of every individual’s contribution to the greater whole.
“The campaign only has success when we all come together,” he said. “Little gifts matter just as much as big gifts, and increases of all sizes really have impact.”
While he hesitates to put a number to his fundraising goal, Keil said he aims to meet or exceed last year’s campaign achievement of $10 million.
While the pandemic is largely behind us, challenges remain for major undertakings like the annual campaign, he acknowledged.
“The main one is the high cost of living [and] the financial challenges that come with higher interest rate costs,” said Keil. “Although that will affect some, it will affect others less so and our objective will be to continue to ask for increases among those who have the ability to do so.”
As someone who knows personally the impact of the annual campaign on its many beneficiaries, Keil is deeply devoted to the community in general and to the Federation campaign in particular.
“I remain committed to community and this is just yet another example of how I express that,” he said.
The campaign opening event takes place at 7 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 10, at Congregation Schara Tzedeck. Tickets ($18) are at jewishvancouver.com.