Why is this Important?

The most important engine for achieving change in our community – as well as within our community’s impact in Israel and across the Jewish world – is the UJA Annual Campaign. The community-wide Annual Campaign impacts some of the biggest issues that community members care about most. Through extensive consultations, UJA Federation has created a strategic plan for the current five year period. That plan, in large part, relies on healthy growth in the Annual Campaign to be successful.

The Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto is a community foundation dedicated to helping individuals and families fulfill their philanthropic goals, as well as establish current and long term support for the causes and charities they care about most.  The Foundation’s experience has helped, and intends to help philanthropic dollars grow, while assisting hundreds of projects. The UJA Federation of Greater Toronto’s Strategic Plan calls for an increase in UJA Legacy Gifts made through the Jewish Foundation. These are estate bequests that are designated specifically for UJA’s Annual Campaign, and are designed to provide funds indefinitely.

What are the Trends?

UJA Federation of Greater Toronto’s Annual Campaign fundraised over $56,000,000 in 2015 – one of the largest campaigns of any Jewish community in North America on both an absolute and per capita basis. Between 2014 and 2015, the Annual Campaign experienced a modest growth rate of 2%, while the number of gifts to the Annual Campaign declined by 6%. This marginal decrease in the number of gifts, as opposed to dollars, reflects a North American-wide trend which can be seen in other communities – both Jewish and non-denominational.

Within the Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto, between 2014 and 2015, community endowment funds grew by an impressive 9%.

What’s New?

Within the Annual Campaign, there are three new initiatives which are being implemented as part of UJA’s Strategic Plan:

  • Targeted Supplementary Giving Opportunities. To date, approximately $2.5M has been raised over the next three years in support of a range of initiatives including ensuring the neediest seniors in our community live in dignity; a day school loan program; and expanding the impact of PJ Library. Importantly, these gifts are in addition to unrestricted Campaign gifts.
  • Gifts Officers. The Gifts Officers will ensure deepened relationships with major gifts donors so that the donors have a better appreciation of the impact of their gifts as well as the array of giving opportunities available in Annual Campaign, Foundation and Capital.
  • Under 40 in Our Community. An Executive Director, Under 40, is leading the effort to create culture change in the organization and bring together all of our engagement activities so that they work in tandem to engage as many young people as possible with UJA Federation and the Campaign, and to ensure their philanthropic commitment to the organization.

How are we doing?

The Toronto Jewish community can be proud of its successful community-wide fund-raising effort. But the decline in the number of gifts is an exception to an otherwise stellar performance. The change to the number of gifts is one sign of engagement. UJA needs to address this downwards trend by leveraging its work with agencies, schools, as well as direct services and programs so that those who benefit from UJA understand both UJA’s role, and their role, in supporting the broad community campaign.