Super Sunday Raises $1 Million

Tags: Federation, PR, Campaign

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Article reprinted with permission from Beachwood Patch.

By Chris Mosby

Hundreds of volunteers gathered around tables in the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Building. In the commotion of talking and laughing, with two projector screens showing the Cleveland Browns' inevitable loss to the Miami Dolphins, with musical acts performing to the crowd, you could be forgiven for thinking the Jewish Federation of Cleveland was hosting one heck of a party.

What the Federation was doing was raising more than $1 million dollars, from 1,637 donors, all in an effort to support the local and global Jewish community. Their event is called Super Sunday and its the Federation's single largest donation day of the year.

The volunteers were making calls to the more than 80,000 Clevelanders who are part of the Jewish community. Other volunteers were knitting blankets for seniors, or setting up 18forGood.com webpages to solicit digital donations from their friends and colleagues. The Mandel Building was abuzz with activity.

A surprising number of kids and teenagers were scrambling through the hallways or gabbing about their school cliques in-between their calls to potential donors. Brian Sokol, a volunteer and parent, said that he started attending Super Sunday events when he was a child and he thinks it's important to show children, early on, the importance of participating in and building the community.

"My kids were very enthusiastic about coming here," he said, joking that the snacks provided by the Federation didn't hurt the incentive.

The money from Super Sunday, and the Federation's other fundraisers, goes to supporting Jewish National Agencies, local education services, local humanitarian services, overseas work, and security and centrally administered programs for the area. The Federation's local partners have historically included: Hebrew Shelter Home, Mandel Jewish Community Center, the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, Fund for the Jewish Future and more.

Brad Helfman, another volunteer, said that Super Sunday gives the community a chance to perform an easy mitzvah, which means a good deed or act.

As choirs sang and crowds watched the gradual demise of the Browns in overtime, the volunteers worked the phones, dialing potential donors from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Sokol said that most people in the Jewish community are expecting to get a phone call on Super Sunday for a donation. It's an easy way to feel like you're participating in the community. And if you're lucky enough to carve out some time on a Sunday and volunteer, you'll get to take part in the party.

"I love coming," Sokol said. "It's very vibrant here."

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