Federation Celebrates Record Fundraising Year

Tags: Federation, Campaign, Women, Young Adults, Teens, Israel

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Leadership of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland celebrate raising a record $36,355,013 in its 2024 Campaign for Jewish Needs at the closing event on Dec. 13 at the Mandel Jewish Community Center. CJN Photo / Courtney Byrnes


Article reprinted with permission from Cleveland Jewish News

As the Jewish Federation of Cleveland and 175 attendees celebrated the closing of another successful annual Campaign for Jewish Needs, the event honored two essential people involved in the campaign.

The campaign closing and announcement of the grand total fundraising record of $36,355,013 took place Dec. 13 at the Mandel Jewish Community Center in Beachwood as Jonathon Nisenboum, Young Leadership Division chair, was awarded the Amb. Milton A. and Roslyn Z. Wolf Young Campaigner of the Year Award. Beth Wain Brandon was also recognized for her two years as campaign chair.

As the annual campaign launched a month prior to the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, the Federation has been running the Israel Emergency Campaign alongside the annual campaign for the past two months. As announced at the event, the emergency campaign has raised $33,349,261 and will remain open to continue to support growing needs in Israel.

“When you put this (the annual campaign) together with our emergency campaign, we raised over $60 million just this year,” Brandon announced at the event. “It’s absolutely incredible how amazing and generous this community is. And it’s moments like this that confirm that Cleveland is one of the most generous and vibrant Jewish communities in the world.”

The total for the annual campaign was further broken down by divisions. Elijah Kriwinsky, Camryn Zucker and Sophie Gellis announced the high school/college division raised $21,521 from 301 donors. Joe Littman and Allison Brandon, Young Leadership Division campaign chairs, announced YLD raised $735,231 from 1,375 donors. And Adrienne Goldberg announced that Women IN Philanthropy raised $4,861,865 from 3,366 donors.

Further, the campaign included two match opportunities to increase gifts. Littman and Allison Brandon shared the results of the Brunswick Companies BGS Challenge, which garnered 67 new Ben-Gurion Society gifts representing 95 donors. Beth Wain Brandon said the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation’s Mandel Multiplier, which ran during the first six weeks of the campaign, garnered 914 new pledges and 2,507 increased pledges.

In total, the 2024 campaign raised $1,484,192 more than the 2023 campaign which boasted a previous record of $34,870,821. And, donors gave on average 7.2% more this year than last year, according to the Federation.

As the event took place on the seventh night of Chanukah, Beth Wain Brandon began the program by welcoming her sisters, Amy Wain Garnitz and Cathy Stamler, and daughters, Allison Brandon and Leslie Brandon, to the stage to light the menorah. Then, Daniel N. Zelman, Federation board chair, spoke of the two honorees before videos were played in their honor.

The Wolf Award recognizes leadership, dedication and hard work by a young leader on behalf of the campaign, and Zelman presented the award to Nisenboum alongside Nancy Wolf, whose parents are the honor’s namesake. Wolf said that as the award recipient, Nisenboum will receive a Federation mission to Israel and a customized plaque.

“The Campaign for Jewish Needs plays such an important role in this community,” Nisenboum said. “As the Young Leadership Division board chair, I have the honor of helping lead our efforts as young adults.”

While he reflected on his growth from not knowing about the Federation and its campaign six years ago to now leading YLD, he said his goal this year was to connect young Jewish adults in Cleveland to one another and to the Federation.

As Zelman spoke of Brandon’s two years as campaign chair, he described how her work doubled over the short term from two annual campaigns to the inclusion of the two emergency campaigns: the Ukrainian Emergency Relief Fund and the Israel Emergency Campaign. He said that as a token of appreciation, Brandon will receive a handcrafted bracelet with “Am Yisrael Chai” engraved in Hebrew and a steel rose sculpted from rockets that landed in Sderot.

“One of the most rewarding aspects of my role in this campaign has been the opportunity to make it joyful,” Brandon said. “Saying yes to being campaign chair was not easy for me, but I knew that our collective effort could make a difference in people’s lives and the vibrancy and vitality of Jewish Cleveland.”

Learn More: Federation, Campaign, Women, Young Adults, Teens, Israel