Charitable Contributions Benefit Region in Many Ways

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Article reprinted with permission from Cleveland Jewish News

Photo by Puwadon Sang-ngern from Pexels

It is well-known that charitable contributions enhance the lives of infinite groups of people. What we may not think about is how these donations positively impact the cities around us. Better lives yield better societies.

Melanie Halvorson, vice president of community planning and allocations at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland in Beachwood; Jane Hargraft, chief development officer of the Cleveland Orchestra Foundation; and Mary Paxton, senior director of advancement at JumpStart Inc. in Cleveland, discussed the importance of charitable contributions and how they enhance our communities.

“They help to make sure our diverse community is safe and vibrant and growing,” Halvorson said of charitable contributions.

Melanie Halvorson


Halvorson noted the Federation is closely knitted with Jewish leaders and organizations throughout the world. This enables them to determine the needs of the community and have contact with the right people so they can quickly help those in need.

The Federation, Halvorson explained, assists a myriad of individuals such as the homeless, survivors of domestic violence and Holocaust survivors. They also provide programs that support the physical and mental wellness of seniors, as well as the mental health and education of children.

Halvorson pointed out many “amazing” leaders of Jewish organizations came from Cleveland and said the city has proved exciting for Jewish visitors.


“We hear from the Israelis who come to visit,” Halvorson said. “They think Cleveland is the biggest city in the U.S., right after New York. They hear so much about what Cleveland does to support them.”

Hargraft illustrated the benefits of musical enhancement that are reaped from donations to the Cleveland Orchestra Foundation.

Donations to the Cleveland Orchestra Foundation help advance “music education to positively affect children in schools, instrument training that has major benefits and builds the next generation of musicians, elevating Cleveland’s reputation nationally and globally, bringing our community together through music and making musical memories,” she stated.

The Cleveland Orchestra further enhances the city as it is a major employer in the area, Hargraft added. She said there are more than 1,200 employees between Blossom Music Center and Severance Music Hall.

Paxton explained JumpStart’s impact helps local entrepreneurs grow, boosts economic development and helps foster an environment in which small businesses can succeed.


Statistics around small business growth show that it helps job creation and innovation, Paxton explained.

“You have a region where your small businesses are growing,” she stated. “We’re helping researchers and the researchers are helping corporations innovate so when you look at that, as it fosters the economy, you bring in tech, you bring in innovation and there’s also an attraction for talent.”

The attraction, Paxton said, is toward both incoming talent and talent that is already present in the area.

“(With) the contributions that are coming in, you’re looking at one person that could possibly help an entrepreneur, but when you start to give to an organization, you’re really looking at that collective power,” Paxton explained. “You’re garnering that collective power as a whole to have a bigger impact on the region, on the small businesses, on the entrepreneurs you’re touching, on the innovation that you’re helping create.”

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