Campaign Eyes "Outstanding Result"

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Article Reprinted with permission from Cleveland Jewish News

By Ed Wittenberg

Dan Zelman, general chair of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s 2016 Campaign for Jewish Needs, is looking forward to closing the campaign on a high note.

The total amount raised in this year’s campaign will be announced at the Campaign Closing Celebration at 7 p.m. Dec. 16 at Executive Caterers at Landerhaven in Mayfield Heights.

Last year’s campaign raised more than $30.3 million – the most in seven years – from 11,083 donors, and this year’s total is expected to exceed that amount.

“We are confident that we will report an outstanding result to the community,” Zelman said. “I’ve enjoyed leading this campaign for the past two years and have had the pleasure to meet with many people who are strong supporters of this campaign and everything that Federation does.”

Zelman, of Moreland Hills, will be honored as outgoing campaign chair. In addition, Rachel Weinberg of Chagrin Falls will receive the Ambassador Milton A. and Roslyn Z. Wolf Young Campaigner of the Year Award.

Two campaign vice chairs, Beth Wain Brandon and Neil Waxman, also said they are optimistic that this year’s amount raised will exceed last year’s total.

“We have a vibrant Jewish community that cares deeply for each other,” said Brandon, in her second year as a vice chair. “I think the reason this is a successful campaign is the community really understands that we provide money for care for the most vulnerable in our community and around the world.”

Waxman is in his first year as a campaign vice chair, but he has been involved in campaign leadership for many years, “long enough to get a feel for how things are going,” he said.

“The economy drives some of it, and the economy has been good, but we have to move forward every year,” he said. “Our goal is to surpass what was raised the previous year because every year, the cost of funding things increases regardless of inflation. So if we don’t increase the amount of campaign dollars, we’re going backwards.”

Other campaign vice chairs are David Adler, Grant Dinner, Randall Korach, Steve Marsh, Shari Perlmuter, Enid Rosenberg and Dara Yanowitz.

Brandon, of Pepper Pike, said she got involved as a vice chair because she believes strongly in federated giving.

“I think the community has the strength and knowledge to know where the needs of the Jewish community are in Cleveland, in Israel and in 70 countries around the globe,” she said. “I think our federation is the only Jewish organization in Cleveland that considers the needs of our community as a whole and then can plan for its future.”

Waxman, also of Pepper Pike, said Zelman is a friend and when he asked him to be a vice chair, he was happy to accept.

“I knew that Dan orchestrates a systematic and inspiring campaign,” Waxman said. “I’m chair of the Federation’s overseas connections committee, so in that position I get to personally see the impact dollars make from the campaign in a variety of ways.

“We have to increase campaign dollars every year in order for our beneficiary institutions to provide the same level of service they have been providing, due to increased costs that occur naturally.”

Brandon noted in recent years, the Federation has taken the lead in providing security for the Jewish facilities in Greater Cleveland.

“We now have a strong security system in all the Jewish day schools, the temples and other Jewish agencies around town,” she said. “This costs more, so this is one reason we asked for a 15 percent increase this year from our donors.”

Waxman said a well-organized Federation staff, along with the efforts of lay leaders and volunteers and Zelman’s leadership, have been keys to another successful campaign.

“Dan leads by example in the way he manages the campaign,” he said.

The Federation raised $1,065,021 on Super Sunday, a 10-hour phone-a-thon Oct. 25 at the Federation’s Mandel Building in Beachwood. Seven more dialathons in support of the campaign either have been or will be held.

“We’d love for people to come out and make calls at the future dialathons,” Brandon said. “If we get enough volunteers, we can make a difference in the campaign.

“I really believe that it’s a mitzvah to be able to support our community, and I feel so grateful that I am in a position to do that.”

Waxman added, “Our gift is a gift to the whole community. I think that is the big message.”

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