Campaign Launch To Show Federation ‘HERE FOR GOOD’
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McKENNA CORSON | STAFF REPORTER
Had someone told Bradley A. Sherman, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland general campaign chair, around the COVID-19 pandemic’s start that the 2021 campaign would not only meet the total raised in the year previous but would surpass it, he would have laughed.
Motivated by the unexpected success and learning points of last year’s campaign, Sherman is ready to kick off his second year heading the annual fundraiser that garners much-needed money for local, national and international Jewish organizations.
The 2022 campaign will launch with a virtual event at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 31. Speakers will include Sherman, Federation Beit Shean partnership chair Mark Holz and a doctor who also volunteers at JFSA’s Alyson’s Place Medical Clinic to distribute vaccines. Community members will also recount the impact the Federation and the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland had to ensure schools remained safe and open throughout the pandemic.
“Last year, we demonstrated why community giving is so important, because without it, we could not have responded this quickly,” Sherman said. “Our message is just as compelling this year in terms of we still have a community, institutions and programs that are reeling from last year.”
While nothing can stop the Federation’s campaign, planning it in a way that caters to COVID-19’s constantly changing factors was no easy feat, Sherman said.
One of the biggest things Sherman learned during his first go at chairing the campaign was finding equally as engaging ways to host events while stressing participants’ safety.
All of the campaign’s events this year will feature in-person and virtual options. This, Sherman said, allows for those in Cleveland to take part per their comfort levels and for former Clevelanders now living in other cities to still show their support.
When taking place in person, events will be held outdoors – weather permitting – and the smaller number of present attendees will be asked to wear masks and socially distance. In-person events might be held across numerous sites to allow for greater participation yet more abilities for safety. Events will feature a continued emphasis on new technology, so those watching from home can feel a part of the event.
“We had a lot of plans that we had to rethink,” Sherman said. “We want to do the best we can to show the community that we’re here and that we’re here together both in-person and virtually.”
Sherman said that a key focus for this campaign will be on increasing the numbers of new and renewed gifts. This goal stems from the fact that while the amount of money raised last year went up, the number of donors went down.
“‘HERE FOR GOOD’ is a promise that we make to our community, that we are here to do good and we’re going to be here now and in the future,” Sherman said. “It’s now time in this campaign to make good on that promise.
“When you’re participating in the community campaign, you are saying, ‘Here I am; I am a part of this community, and I’m here to help those that need it the most.’ It is the greatest, most amazing thing that I think you can do as a Jew in Cleveland.”