Just 1 Week To Go Until Campaign Closing

Tags: Campaign, Philanthropy, Federation

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Dan Zelman, general chair of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s 2015 Campaign for Jewish Needs, said he is optimistic that this year’s fundraising efforts will exceed the $29.6 million raised in last year’s campaign.

The total amount raised will be announced at the After Party – the campaign closing celebration set for 7 p.m. Dec. 17 at Fuchs Mizrachi School in Beachwood.

“I just think the energy level of all the people – both volunteers and staff – who have been working on the campaign has been great,” he said.

During the program, Dr. Margaret Richards Frankel, a dentist, will receive the Ambassador Milton A. and Roslyn Z. Wolf Young Campaigner of the Year Award.

Zelman, of Moreland Hills, said although no formal goal was set for the 2015 campaign, the objectives have been “to exceed what we did in the prior year and to try to address as many of the needs both here and abroad as we can.”

“I think some of the reasons that we need additional funds have resonated with many people,” he said.

Among those reasons, he said, are an increase in anti-Semitic events that have taken place throughout the world and the impact of Operation Protective Edge, also known as the Israel-Gaza conflict, which took place this past summer.

“Stronger Together” is the theme of this year’s campaign, and Zelman believes that message has been realized.

“We have had way more participation from the Orthodox community, and we also had an event about two weeks ago where we had about 100 members of the Jewish community from Russia at an event at the Federation,” he said. “We’ve just seen a real coming together of Jews from all parts of the community.”

This has been Zelman’s first year as general campaign chair, and he said he has really enjoyed the process and his role.

“I’ve had the great fortune to meet many of our community leaders and hear about the reasons they have chosen to be as philanthropic as they are,” he said. “To the extent that I can make any difference in the results that we will achieve, I enjoy being part of that process. “I knew going into this process that we had an outstanding Jewish community, and this has proven to be correct. I’m pleased with what I’ve seen and how so many people are so generous, so caring and so willing to be part of this.”

Zelman, who served as a campaign vice chair the past six years, said the Federation’s allocations committee decides each year where the money raised from the campaign will go. In general, those dollars help feed the hungry, care for the elderly, educate youth and ensure a Jewish future in Greater Cleveland, Israel and 70 countries around the world.

“Generally about 50 percent of the money stays (in Greater Cleveland) and is used to support the Jewish agencies here in town,” he said. “About 41 percent is allocated overseas, to help Jews in Israel, Russia, Ukraine – anywhere there are Jews.”

The remaining 9 percent is the cost to run the campaign, Zelman said.

The Federation raised $1,053,430 for the campaign on Super Sunday, a 10-hour phone-a-thon Nov. 2 at the Federation’s Mandel Building in Beachwood. Three more dialathons in support of the campaign are scheduled: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 14 and 7 to 9 p.m. Dec. 15 and Dec. 16, all at the Mandel Building.

“As technology has evolved, fewer and fewer people answer their home phones anymore; sometimes it’s just difficult to get a hold of people,” Zelman said. “So with these dialathons, we end up trying to contact people we haven’t connected with yet, and it’s important that we do reach the last several hundred prospects who have not been reached so far.”

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