Reasons for giving
By Phyllis Seaman
As I write this article I'm at 30,000 feet flying to New York for the birth of our third granddaughter. When it comes to babies, planning for an article deadline goes out the window.
Our rude awakening at five a.m. and rushing to pack and book a flight didn't help me realize I only had a few days for my last article of the season. Now that I have two hours of relative peace, I figured I could be productive and informative.
Today, I'm thinking about why we give to organizations with our time or money or, like many of us, both. I know why my husband Michael and I do. It’s not only to help those less fortunate, it’s also to make a better world for our children and grandchildren. When we give, we are also teaching and passing on a legacy of giving.
Now that season is over, the 2013 Campaign is going strong. We are thrilled with the increase in gifts and new donors this year, but we still have much more work to do and need your support to reach our goal of One Million Dollars.
Our season was quite busy and there was great response to the numerous events on the calendar. Here is a recap of our season and the many areas your generous donations support:
Since we are heading into summer and camp season, I'll start with the youth programs.
This summer, nine young campers will have the opportunity to attend four-week programs at a Jewish camp.
Thanks go to Temple Shalom and its Men's Club for their continued support of the scholarship program. Also, our thanks go to Kevin Aizenshtat and his committee for five strong years of the FED CUP Golf Tournament, which also raises money for this important scholarship program.
Three teens have been chosen to attend the Maccabi Games this summer; one will travel to California for the domestic games and two will go to Israel for competitions. Without your support it might not have been possible for these young athletes to represent our people, community and country. How lucky are we to be able to have sent five teens in the last few years to Israel and the Maccabi Games? We have some pretty impressive young athletes.
Our thanks go to Beth Wolff for chairing the Scholarship Committee, and Harrilee Shevin for all her years of guidance and input.
The Naples BBYO is off and running. They have had some great programs for the area’s teens and middle school kids. Any BBYO alumni out there? Your gift to the Campaign would be appreciated. Our Federation provides office space and the community room for BBYO meetings and events.
Hillel at Florida Gulf Coast University is getting programming as well as social and holiday activities off the ground for the Jewish students there. Funds are also provided to the FGCU Center for Judaic, Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Taglit Birthright Israel is another grant which helps provide free trips to Israel for any Jewish young adult between ages 18 and 26.
Our Federation also provides funds to Temple Shalom's Religious and Preschool, Beth Tikvah’s school, the Chabad Preschool and Camp Gan Israel.
Support is also given to cultural programs at the Jewish Congregation of Marco Island, including the annual Jewish Film Festival and Saul Stern Cultural Series.
National organizations with offices in Florida that get contributions from Federation are Jewish National Fund and the Anti-Defamation League. The ADL stepped in a few years ago to provide support when we had an incident at one of our middle schools.
Overseas, your campaign contributions help support the Neve Michael home and school for children in crisis and Yad LaKashish, a sheltered workshop for disabled and elderly in Jerusalem. We take care of our most vulnerable.
As always, our biggest allocation stays here in Naples. Our grant of $230,000 to Jewish Family & Community Services serves the needs of our most vulnerable Collier County residents.
Annually, money goes to The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), where it is sent to our partner agency, the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), for food, clothing and shelter needs in Israel and in 70 countries around the world. Sometimes it is just for needs of socialization for the more isolated elderly.
Last fall our Federation sent emergency funds through JFNA for Hurricane Sandy Relief. That meant so much to Michael and me personally since our daughter and son-in-law's home on Long Beach, New York, was badly damaged. They are hoping to be able to move back next month with their new baby daughter. They were fortunate and didn't need the relief that so many others needed and still need.
These are many things Federation is able to do thanks to your generous support. So you see, season may be over, but the 2013 Campaign and our work are still going on – and will be when you return in the fall. We are already planning programs and events for 2014.
Here's a sneak peak! Save the date for a really different and entertaining Community Celebration Event on Saturday night, February 8, 2014. After much demand we are brainstorming and in discussion about bringing back the Women's Division Luncheon in late March 2014. We welcome anyone who would like to be on a committee for our upcoming events.
Have a wonderful summer and see you in September with lots of exciting news.