When creating the theme for this year’s Super Sunday fundraising phone-a-thon, the young Jewish community leaders on the steering committee opted to toss out the cutesy and sporty ideas of the past.
The 10 Super Sunday committee members instead chose a concept that would resonate for all of the donors in the area who will make a monetary pledge to the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Annual Campaign on Sunday, Jan. 27. They decided the theme for this year’s Super Sunday should revolve around investments: in the local Jewish community, in Jewish culture, in Jewish education, and in making Jewish life better all over the world.
The way the committee sees it, making an investment in the UJFT is one that will bring positive and exponential returns that create waves of change.
“I grew up here and was involved in the Jewish community, and knew about the Federation, but I didn’t really know exactly what it was,” says Jen Groves, vice-chair of the Super Sunday committee. “Then I got involved in YAD (the Young Adult Division of the UJFT) and learned how our area’s gifts benefit so many local agencies and Israel and other countries. It was a phenomenal experience learning that I was making a difference in ways I didn’t even imagine, and it just hit home with me.”
Initially, Groves gave the minimum amount that was asked of her. Last year, the 28-year-old Landstown High School teacher, who also teaches Sunday School at Congregation Beth El and coaches the swim team at her school, increased her gift substantially.
“I thought, ‘I’m benefitting from the Federation and have for a long time, without even knowing it, so it’s only right that I contribute,’” Groves says.
“What I’ve come to realize, what I know, is that it is so essential that my generation get involved, because if we don’t ensure that there is a future for the Jewish community, then there won’t be one. We’re doing a disservice to all of those who worked so hard for the life we have today if we don’t participate, invest in, and support the Federation and the work that it’s doing.”
Philip Rovner, president and CEO of the Tidewater Jewish Foundation, which uses traditional investments to help the community create permanent financial resources, says the committee’s idea to look at gifts through a financial lens is a sound idea.
“Basically, to make an investment is to devote money today for long-term gain,” Rovner says. “I would definitely consider a gift to the Federation an investment—and a good one. In terms of philanthropy, it’s one of the most effective uses of Jewish dollars.”
In addition to the Super Sunday phonea- thon, in which volunteers from all of the community’s Jewish affiliations and organizations will call their fellow community members to ask them to invest in the UJFT 2013 Annual Campaign, the committee is also planning social media events and alternative ways to pledge. They will post photos and comments on Federation and its affiliates’ Facebook pages, letting donors say, in their own words, why they invest in the Federation. They will also take online donations in lieu of phone pledges and are investigating other forms of technology through which the community can donate.
“On Super Sunday, we come together as a community to create change,” says Amy Weinstein, director of the Young Adult Division of the UJFT. “This year’s committee is dedicated to making sure that the community knows that every dollar, every cent, every contribution, and every person makes a difference.”
The Super Sunday committee is seeking volunteers to make calls on Super Sunday. Call 757-965-6127 for more information, or sign up at www.jewishva.org. To find out more about YAD, visit www.jewishva.org/yad.
by Laine M. Rutherford